Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) has announced she will run for the Mayor of Los Angeles. If her bid is successful, the Democrat would become the city’s first Black woman mayor.
“Our city is facing a public health, safety and economic crisis in homelessness that has evolved into a humanitarian emergency,” Bass said in a statement provided to ESSENCE. “I’ve spent my entire life bringing groups of people together in coalitions to solve complex problems and produce concrete change— especially in times of crisis. Los Angeles is my home. With my whole heart, I’m ready. Let’s do this— together.”
Bass was re-elected to a sixth term representing the 37th Congressional District in November 2020. She served as the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in 2019 and 2020.
Bass currently serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, chairing the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights. She also serves on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.
Among the legislation that Bass has introduced is the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act— which twice passed the House of Representatives but has since stalled after Senate negotiations broke down.
Bass grew up in the Venice/Fairfax area of Los Angeles. She is a graduate of Cal State Dominguez Hills, the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program, and the USC Masters Program in Social Work. Prior to Congress, she has worked as a nurse, physician’s assistant, and clinical instructor. As an organizer, she founded Community Coalition, a well-known nonprofit organization in Los Angeles, and is a longtime advocate for foster care children.
Prior to her Congressional tenure, Bass served in the California State Assembly. In 2008, she became the first-ever African-American woman in U.S. history to serve as Speaker of any state legislature.
Los Angeles has only had one Black mayor to date. Tom Bradley served as the 38th Mayor of Los Angeles from 1973 to 1993. So far, Bass has not yet indicated whether she will resign her seat in Congress during the Los Angeles mayoral campaign.