Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee, a longtime advocate for progressive issues and a leader in social justice and anti-war causes, on Tuesday formally announced her run for Dianne Feinstein’s highly coveted U.S. Senate seat.

In a video released by her Senate campaign, Lee leans on her biography: growing up in the segregated South, her successful fight to integrate her high school cheerleading squad, escaping a violent marriage, her time as an unhoused mother and her determination to attend college as a single mom.

“To do nothing has never been an option for me,” Lee says in the nearly three-minute video produced by the political consulting firm Left Hook. The veteran Democrat, who is 76, also addresses those who say her age might be a liability.

“For those who say my time has passed, well, when does making change go out of style?” she asks in the video.

Lee has represented Oakland and neighboring East Bay cities in the U.S. Congress since 1998, when she won a special election to replace Ron Dellums — for whom she once worked as a staff member — after he resigned the seat. She has been easily reelected every two years since then.

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