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Powerful, Diverse Coalition Supports Karen Bass for Mayor of Los Angeles 
By Cora Jackson-Fossett, Managing Editor 
Published July 7, 2022

 

Congresswoman Karen Bass speaks at a press conference on July 5 with multicultural leaders representing some of the critical issues facing Angelinos. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

The latest polls show Congresswoman Karen Bass as the leading candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, yet some people still wonder who is supporting her.  Based on the audience at her July 5 press conference, her backers are a large and powerful, diverse coalition.

Scores of residents representing a range of ethnicities, occupations, genders, cultures, and faiths stood with Bass in Norman O. Houston Park and vowed to devote time and talents to ensuring her campaign’s success.  The large group cheered and waved multiple “Karen Bass For Mayor” signs as an array of speakers outlined their reasons for endorsing Bass.

“I’ve known Karen for several decades as she fought to build a coalition to stop the proliferation of liquor stores in our poor neighborhoods.  She understands that union wages stabilizes families so our youth don’t end up in foster care,” explained State Senator María Elena Durazo.

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“I am here on behalf of garment workers and I support Karen Bass. I and they will work hard to elect her as our next mayor!”

Those punctuating Durazo’s statement with loud whoops and applause included State Senators Steve Bradford and Sydney Kamlager; Assemblymembers Mike Gipson, Chris Holden, Laura Friedman, and Reggie Jones-Sawyer; L.A. Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson; and L.A. County Democratic Chair Mark Gonzalez.

The supporters also featured union members, community leaders and nonprofit organizers. In addition, representatives of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 42, the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, and SEIU 2015 were in attendance.

Cathy Unger, chair of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project, lamented the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protected a woman’s right to seek an abortion.   Reminding listeners that the court dismantled a 49-year-old law, Unger said the justices “took away a right to control our bodies. How do we live with that kind of a world?”

The leaders at the forefront of L.A.’s advocacy and policy movements discussed their support of Congresswoman Bass’ campaign to become mayor of Los Angeles. (Courtesy photo)

While acknowledging that state laws permitting abortions protected women in California, she alluded that many battles affecting civil liberties were still on the horizon

“Karen Bass is not new to this work. She didn’t come to this yesterday. She has devoted her entire professional life to protecting women and protecting young people and she will never, ever go back,” stressed Unger.

“Our state needs and deserves a leader who has proven time and time again that she can partner with the county and the state and the federal government to make L.A. clinics and hospitals have what they need to provide needed health care in this city.”

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Referring to Rick Caruso, Unger said, “The opponent in this race is on record opposing abortion in most cases, given thousands of dollar to candidates like Mitch O’Connell and Kevin McCarthy. This is 2022, not 1920. We need a leader that will stand with us and not move the city backwards. Karen Bass has always led efforts to protect women.”

Shona Ganguly of the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, cited Bass’ environmental initiatives as she highlighted some of reasons why she was behind the congresswoman’s campaign.   “She is the only candidate who has committed to improving public transit to reduce traffic congestion, which are key issues affecting quality of life,” she said.

“When we elect folks that care about the environment, they also care about public health, they care about our future. They invest in us. Clean air, clean water, healthy food – our communities depend on this, so we need a leader – Karen Bass – to be the next mayor of L.A.,” insisted Ganguly.

Offering the perspective of faith leaders, Pastor Eddie Anderson of McCarty Memorial Christian Church spoke on behalf of his West Adams community and as a representative of L.A. Voice, an ecumenical organization.

“Some may ask why do people of faith care about this election and why do we support Karen Bass. The answer is simple – because the soul of Los Angeles is on the ballot,” Anderson replied.

“Fifty thousand plus unhoused Angelinos are living in inhumane conditions. It is a moral crisis when houseless people don’t wake up in the morning because we fail to give them services. It is inhumane to leave people on the streets and move them from one area to the next. I don’t want a mayor that’s going to arrest unhoused people or move them outside the city’s boundaries,” he said.

“I want a mayor who is a moral defibrillator, who understands the times and the issues. I want a mayor who will immediately get people off the streets into housing and give them whatever supportive services they might need,” implored Anderson.

“I want a mayor who cares more about affordable housing than luxury housing. I want a mayor who’s about solving problems and has moral courage. I want a mayor like Karen Bass!”

With the crowd responding noisily with whistles and hoorays, Bass came to the podium for brief remarks.  She opened her comments by expressing appreciation to the hundreds of volunteers working phone banks and going door-to-door on behalf of her candidacy, which has resulted in increased awareness and funds for her campaign.

She also thanked “the almost 300,000 voters that put us in first place in the primary. It showed the city that no matter if you spend millions of dollars distorting and lying, the voters will be able to determine the truth and see through the attacks.”

Bass noted that she was motivated to run for mayor due to her unease about the city’s various issues coupled with her optimism about the potential of Los Angeles residents.

“I entered this race out of deep concern and hope – concerned about the multiple crises that Angelinos face, but also a strong sense of hope because I know who we are and what we can do. I know we have the talent, resources, skills and the capacity to deal with the crises,” said Bass.

As she concluded her comments, Bass repeated her commitment to the key tenets of her campaign to address the city’s biggest issues surrounding homelessness, crime prevention, affordable housing, women’s reproductive healthcare, environmental protection, and justice for undocumented Angelenos.
The congresswoman also vowed to build coalitions that bring together “resources, experiences, relationships that can build the level of power and influence that can fundamentally change conditions.”

“Forward is where we are going and together is how we get there,” concluded Bass.

 

 

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