Congresswoman Karen Bass (File photo)

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, was elected to chair the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations. Upon her appointment, she issued the following statement:

“Congress has an important role to play in foreign policy across the continent of Africa and I am honored to serve as Chair of this subcommittee.  I look forward to continuing our bipartisan work especially in the areas of human rights, democracy, rule of law, and economic development.  I am also particularly interested in finding ways to strengthen US-Africa economic relations.

“Given the broad jurisdiction of the subcommittee, as Chair, I also intend to focus on the impact of climate change; international humanitarian standards for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers; and U.S. military engagement across Africa. I look forward to hearing from and partnering with African nations as we develop legislation to strengthen U.S. Africa engagement.”

More about the Chair:

Rep. Karen Bass became the first-ever African American woman to become Speaker of any state legislature in the United States in 2008. During her time as Speaker of the California State Assembly, California faced its worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Rep. Bass worked with then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Cogdill, California State Senator and former Senate Republican Leader; Darrell Steinberg, California State Senator and Democratic Senate President pro Tem; and Michael Villines, California State Assembly Member and former Assembly Republican Leader, to pass a budget that eventually earned her and the three other legislators the 2010 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for their bipartisan negotiating efforts.

Elected to Congress in 2010, Rep. Bass serves as the Chair of the 55-member Congressional Black Caucus and also serves on the House Committee on the Judiciary, where she continues to push for criminal justice reform.