When “Auntie Maxine” speaks, the world listens. So, when the renowned U.S. Congresswoman endorsed Herb Wesson for Supervisor, constituents throughout the county echoed their support.
Waters is known for “speaking truth to power” and based on her record, she doesn’t attach her name to people or projects unless she’s convinced that it’s the best option. Clearly, she thinks Wesson is the best among the candidates seeking to represent the Second Supervisorial District, which is likely why she officially backed his election.
“I am proud to endorse Herb Wesson. Herb has been a champion for working families by creating jobs, raising the minimum wage, increasing access to healthcare, fighting for social justice and expanding gang intervention, after school, career education and job training programs,” said Waters.
“Herb will stand with me to fight Donald Trump’s efforts to hurt our most vulnerable—our children, seniors, women, the poor and communities of color. We need local leaders like Herb to protect the quality of life here in our neighborhoods. Please join me in supporting Herb Wesson for L.A. County Supervisor.”
Having served in Congress since 1991, Waters has represented many of the neighborhoods, cities and unincorporated areas of L.A. County that Wesson seeks to serve as Supervisor. She is intimately aware of the needs of the vast region and her endorsement indicates her belief that Wesson will be an effective leader in meeting and exceeding those needs.
“I’m honored to have the support of Congresswoman Maxine Waters. She’s been a mentor to me for many years and we’ve worked closely together on a range of projects,” said Wesson. “And because she knows me very well, she can validate my commitment to helping people any way that I can. Being Supervisor is an opportunity for me to serve at a very critical time in the history in this county.
“I’m running for county Supervisor to build a greater Los Angeles for our children and grandchildren – a Los Angeles where housing is affordable, our youth have the tools they need to succeed and we are able to spend more time with our families and less time sitting in traffic. Together, we can tackle the biggest issues facing our community today,” he insisted.
Wesson brings a wealth of experience to the job. For the past 15 years, he represented the 10th District on the L.A. City Council and led the body as president for four years – the first African American elected to the position. His tenure is populated with multiple projects that aided both his district as well as the entire city.
Local residents continue to benefit from his work with then-State Senator Kevin Murray to replace a proposed power plant with the Baldwin Hills Parklands, a 480-acres public park that contains bike paths, hiking trails and a scenic overlook. He also collaborated with community groups and multiple agencies to close an oil facility located near residences at Washington Blvd. and 4th Avenue in the 10th District. The future plan, he said, is to convert the space into affordable housing.
“Another thing that I’m proud of is that under my presidency, the City Council raised the minimum wage three times, [which] put an extra few bucks in the pockets of working people and hopefully, provided them with the resources to have a better life,” said Wesson.
But, Wesson takes the most pride of his leadership in the passing of the “the largest housing bond – $1.2 billion – in the history of the city of Los Angeles to help homeless people.” Referring to Measures H and HHH, Wesson campaigned hard to encourage voters’ approval of the two initiatives that will result in the construction of new supportive housing to help reduce homelessness in Los Angeles County.
And he will continue to focus on homelessness as Supervisor, Wesson said. “We, in the African American community, make up approximately nine percent of the population, yet, we are 40 percent of the individuals sleeping on the street. To me, that’s not a coincidence. So, we have to come up with creative ways to ensure that; as we’re moving forward, we address the housing crisis. The key is housing at every level, affordable housing and permanent support of housing, which is where your homeless population lives.”
Another area that Wesson will emphasize is the creation of educational, cultural and social opportunities aimed to help children become successful. As councilman, he sponsored an annual summer camp for low-income, inner-city youth that offered open space, outdoor activities and cultural opportunities. “And, that’s going to be one of my first goals – create an atmosphere where children can go as far as their abilities and their imagination will take them,” he declared.
Wesson’s life reflects his philosophy about transforming imagination into reality. A child of working class parents, he was taught from an early age that he could fulfill his dreams through hard work, a good education and by giving back to the community.
“My mother would say, ‘The world is yours, grab it by the tail and shake the hell out of it and when your back is against the wall, throw it up to God,He’ll find a way. He is a way-maker.’ She was my biggest mentor,” he recalled.
“As a kid, people would tell me that the odds were always against me, and yes, I have been knocked down and I’m sure I will be knocked down again, but I get back up,” Wesson admitted. “God gives us everything but so many of us just give Him average, so I try to give back what He gives to me. If I have a problem, I throw it up to God and I keep doing my thing!”
His “can-do” attitude has followed Wesson throughout his career from a youth basketball coach at the Crenshaw YMCA to only the second African American to be elected as Speaker of the California State Assembly. Between those positions, he served as chief of staff to former L.A. Councilmember Nate Holden and former County Supervisor Yvonne Burke.
“I think that I’ve been blessed. In every house where I’ve served, I have been elected to be the leader of that house and I think that says something. I think it says [that] I get along well with people, I know how to get things done, I know how to negotiate, I know how to do very, very difficult things,” Wesson said.
“I truly believe that I was placed on this earth to be a public servant and as Supervisor, I will continue to be dedicated to empowering people and making a difference in the lives of local residents.”