Former Speaker Karen Bass and Congresswoman Maxine Waters
PHOTO CREDIT-MALCOLM ALI
Black Leaders Unite to Send Bass to Congress
In a show of community support, Congresswoman Maxine Waters reached out to her colleague in the assembly, who is campaigning to join her in Congress.
By Yussuf J. Simmonds
Sentinel Managing Editor
Former Speaker of the California State Assembly, Karen Bass (A-47) is running for the 33rd District Congressional seat that will be vacated at the end of her term by Congresswoman Diane Watson. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) enthusiastically endorsed Bass and said that looks forward to having her join the California delegation in the future as the representative of the 33rd district.
The Los Angeles Sentinel spoke with Assembly-member Bass about the plans, goals and objectives if she is victorious in the November election and succeeds Congresswoman Watson. Bass was open, forthright and sounded like she knew exactly what she has planned for the district and her future constituents. “I’m very excited about the idea of being in Washington D.C. and being a Member of Congress at this moment in history,” Bass began “The idea that I could be back in the middle of the Obama administration with Democrats in control of both Houses of Congress, is an opportunity to work on the issues that I’ve been working on the past couple of decades.” (Of course, she was referring to her role as co-chair in California for the Obama campaign in 2008).
“It’s a time period when I believe it will be possible to make some substantive changes,” she continued, “for example, education reform is a big issue that is being talked about now… maybe there’ll be an opportunity to address the severe dropout rate among African American and Latino students in California; I can imagine it’s similar in other states. So, to be involved in Congress at a time when education reform is being debated; healthcare reform–although I’m sure that it will pass, before I win, if I’m fortunate enough to be victorious–there are many pieces of healthcare reform that will remain on the table because everything will not be taken care of in this one time period.”
In commenting about the transition from state to national office and what her legacy will be relative to her time in Sacramento, Bass said, “The issues I think that are critical to our community I worked on, in the streets of South Los Angeles, the Halls of Sacramento and I see working on those same issues in Washington, D.C. So I think the transition, if I’m fortunate enough to win … D.C. is so much larger, the legislative process is so much larger that I’ll have to learn it. But the good thing is that the term will not be completely limited to six years like in Sacramento.”
Endorsing Assembly-member Bass to be her future colleague in Washington, D.C., Congresswoman Waters said, “I am endorsing Karen Bass for the 33rd Congressional District because she has paid her dues and earned her stripes. She deserves the opportunity to serve the people of the 33rd Congressional District and she will serve them well; she will build upon the district leadership of strong leadership and I look forward to welcoming her to Congress.”
In addition, Assembly-member Bass also received the endorsement of the person whom she is vying to replace. While speaking at a community kick-off Congresswoman Diane Watson said, “I am endorsing Karen Bass because she is the best candidate for the job of representing the diverse 33rd Congressional District. Karen has worked hard for decades to bring about change and progress for all people even in the toughest of times. She will be an effective leader who is willing to work collaboratively with her colleagues in Congress and the Obama Administration.”
And last week third member of Southland’s distaff congressional trio, Congresswoman Laura Richardson said, “I fully support Karen Bass’s candidacy for Congress and I look forward to personally welcoming her to the House of Representatives in January 2011. I believe she is the best choice to fill Congresswoman Watson’s shoes and she will make sure that the 33rd District continues to have a strong voice in Washington. As the Speaker of the California State Assembly, Karen has proven herself to be an outstanding public servant and leader and I have complete confidence that she will be a tremendous addition to the House.”
She has also received the support of many other elected officials, present and future constituents, including Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti.
Finally, candidate Bass said, “What I want the community to know is that although I am a legislator and have served as the Speaker of the Great State of California, my roots are here at home; and I want to have a campaign… a rainbow coalition like we had in the 80s when (Rev.) Jesse Jackson ran for president, and like the one we had last year with the Obama candidacy. I want to build a broad-based grassroots coalition and I always believe one of the beauties of a political campaign is that it’s an opportunity for everybody to get involved and participate in some way.”