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Karen Bass to Enter Race for L.A. Mayor
By Cora Jackson-Fossett, Staff Writer
Published September 27, 2021

 

Congressmember Karen Bass (LA Sentinel File Photo)

Congresswoman Karen Bass is the newest candidate to enter the Los Angeles mayoral race. Bass officially announced her candidacy in a tweet on Sept. 27, that proclaimed, “With my whole heart, I’m ready. Let’s do this — together. I’m running for mayor.”

Her website is live – karenbass.com – and volunteers and donations are being recruited as supporters across the city holler shouts of cheer. Also on the web, Bass cited the impetus behind her campaign.

“Karen is running for Mayor because she knows that solving the crisis of homelessness means developing a comprehensive approach that addresses the immediate crisis along with the root causes: lack of affordable housing, health care, access to job opportunities, and residential alcohol and drug treatment,” reads her vision statement.

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“There are no simple answers, but Karen has the experience, values, and support to get the job done,” it concludes.

Many people, especially those who have urged Bass to run for mayor, will welcome those words. In addition, she already enjoys immense popularity throughout the city and that admiration crosses ethnic, gender and age lines. As a result, Bass enters the race as one of the leading candidates to capture the mayor’s office and extremely qualified for the position, according to several observers.

JUNE 25: Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., speaks as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Democrats gather for a press event on the House steps ahead of the vote on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 on Thursday, June 25, 2020. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

“Congresswoman Karen Bass is the leader our city needs. She meets the challenges we face with action, from founding Community Coalition to fighting for us in Congress during an unprecedented pandemic and national reckoning for social and racial justice – Karen continues to be an effective coalition builder who is committed to solutions that serve in the best interest of our communities,” L.A. County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell said.

“She is also no stranger to overcoming crises having led the state through the greatest economic downturn since the great depression as the first Black woman Speaker of the California Assembly. As we face the uncharted territory of recovering from a global pandemic, there is no one I trust more to lead Los Angeles. I wholeheartedly support my friend and our champion for justice, Karen Bass, to be our next mayor,” she passionately stated.

California State Senator Sydney Kamlager-Dove provided a similar assessment about Bass’ qualifications to serve as mayor. “The people of Los Angeles deserve bold, compassionate, and progressive leaders at every level of government. We need someone who can find consensus at any table and build solutions for all constituents,” insisted Kamlager-Dove.

“Congresswoman Karen Bass is the one this city has been waiting for, which is why she has my full-fledged support and endorsement in the L.A. Mayoral race.”

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., talks with foster care alumni during a shadow day where the group can learn about Congress from their representative on May 24, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

L.A. Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a longtime friend of Bass, remarked, “I’ve worked with many talented leaders over the years. Karen Bass is unparalleled in commitment to social and economic justice, unmatched in effectiveness and without peer in tenacity.

“We face unprecedented compounded challenges in our City. It’s time for all-star leadership. I can’t wait for Angelenos to propel her into the role of Mayor,” he expressed.

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“She has the character, track record, the understanding of the issues and the leadership qualities needed to guide this city into the future,” L.A. Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas said about Bass in an August 2021 Sentinel interview.

“Her candidacy for mayor is compelling.  She is already a history maker and if she were to become mayor, she would make history again,” he declared.

The Rev. J. Edgar Boyd, pastor of First AME Church of Los Angeles, highlighted the unique insight Bass will bring as mayor because she is a native of the city. Recalling how his parents grew their own food instead of buying it at commercial markets, Boyd said that he adopted the philosophy that “home grown is always best.”

Congressmember Karen Bass (middle) laughs with Los Angeles Sentinel publisher Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. (right) and Laphonza Butler (left)

“Raised up in the Venice/Fairfax community of Los Angeles, educated in secondary, collegiate, and graduate institutions located in Los Angeles, Karen Bass has seen what Los Angeles has been, what it has become, and I believe she fully understand what this city needs to focus on and positions its resources toward in best serving the largest and most expansive population in California,” explained Boyd.

“Karen took her home grown skill sets to the California Assembly in Sacramento, and then, for over six terms, she has served in the halls of the U.S. Congress with distinction, representing the 37th Congressional District on issues of youth safety, international relations, public policy, neighborhood crime and racial justice. I am supporting Karen Bass, because I believe that when looking to fill the mayoral seat in Los Angeles, home grown is always best,” Boyd stressed.

Bass, who is currently the U.S. representative for California’s 37th congressional district, has attained nationwide stature since being first elected to the office in 2011. Earlier this year, she was named as a possible vice presidential candidate and after U.S. Senator Kamala Harris was selected, Bass was among those considered as her replacement.

Her achievements in the House of Representatives are considerable, which further contributed to her stellar reputation. She chairs the House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations and the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. In 2018, Bass was elected chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., talks with a reporter before the House Judiciary Committee markup on the Justice in Policing Act in the Capitol Visitor Center on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images/POOL)

Prior to her congressional career, she served six years representing the 47th District in the California State Assembly. Bass made history in 2008 when she became the first African American woman in the country to be elected as Speaker of a state legislative body. During her tenure, she was honored with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for governance during the Great Recession that occurred from 2007-2009.

Bass’ entry into politics was preceded by her career in grassroots organizing, which was illustrated by her founding of the Community Coalition. She initially formed the organization to reduce the number of liquor stores in minority neighborhoods, provide meaningful outlets for young people and assist individuals suffering from substance abuse issues. Since starting in 1990, the group has become one of the most influential and resourceful nonprofits in South L.A.

All of the experience that Bass has gained will be put to the test if she’s the successful candidate for mayor, and based on her vision posted on her website, she is up for the campaign.

Congressmember Karen Bass (Courtesy)

“The potential of Los Angeles is limitless. Los Angeles can be a city where all people have access to quality health care. Los Angeles can be a city where its economy — one of the most robust, intricate and complex economies in the world — can work for everyone,” the statement says.

“Los Angeles can be a city where everyone can afford housing, where everyone can be paid livable wages, and where services and resources are provided to help get folks who may have stumbled, back on their feet.”

Bass goes up against a diverse group of Democratic opponents. They include L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer, L.A. Councilmembers Joe Buscaino and Kevin de León, businessman Mel Wilson, and Jessica Lall, president/CEO of the Central City Association, a business advocacy organization.

The primary election is slated for June 7, and the general election is scheduled for November 8, 2022.

Congresswoman Karen Bass (Photo by Earl Gibson, III)

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