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Sentinel Editorial  Karen Bass – A Life of Service, Woman of Integrity and Devoted Servant of the People 
By Danny J. Bakewell, Jr. Executive Editor 
Published June 2, 2022

 

Karen Bass (File photo)

Election Day (June 7) is just a few days away and Congresswoman Karen Bass is juggling her busy schedule between serving as the 37th District Congressional Representative, while at the same time, enduring the challenging task of running to make history as Los Angeles first woman mayor and only the second African American to be elected as mayor of Los Angeles.

Despite her hectic schedule, Congresswoman Bass managed to be in Washington D.C. a few days before to join Senator Corey Booker, Vice President Kamala Harris and the family of George Floyd as President Joe Biden signed the “George Floyd Police Reform Executive Order.”

This executive order was signed by the president after Senate Republicans continually blocked legislation to make it become the law of the land.  Speaking before Biden signed the order, Vice President Harris said that Senate Republicans who opposed the legislation “walked away from their moral obligation” to address an issue that “caused millions of Americans to march in the streets.”

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But Karen Bass, who originally authored the legislation in the House of Representatives along with Corey Booker in the Senate, would not let the legislation die on the vine and on the two-year anniversary of George Floyd’s tragic murder, the President and his supporters signed the executive order making the legislation law.

This type of “Get It Done” determination that Bass brought to Washington in getting this executive order signed is the same type of leadership that she has vowed to bring to the city of Los Angeles.  Bass, who when she first announced her campaign to be the next mayor of Los Angeles, garnered high praise and citywide support.

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But then, billionaire developer Rick Caruso entered the race and bought millions of dollars of advertising to introduce himself to city residents and to attack and trash Karen Bass’ name at every turn.

The Caruso campaign has attacked the highly respected community leader all in an attempt to convince voters, particularly those in communities of color where Bass has spent her entire life fighting for the rights of the underserved, locked out and disregarded.

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., right, speaks during a news conference on the House East Front Steps on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 25, 2020, ahead of the House vote on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Let’s remember that long before Karen Bass ever ran for political office, she was a highly respected community leader serving as the founder and president of Community Coalition, a community-based non-profit that was started following the Civil Unrest/Rebellion of 1992 dedicated to improving the lives of South Los Angeles residents by getting rid of liquor stores, low-rent and hourly motels, and eliminating the advertisement of cigarettes and alcohol near schools as well as working with local residents and local and regional grocers to bring quality food markets and other services to South Los Angeles.

Despite the continuous barrage of negative ads being slung at the Karen Bass for Mayor campaign, Bass will not be deterred and continues to be positive about the changes she has planned for Los Angeles when she is elected mayor.

“Today, Los Angeles faces another emergency. The public health, public safety and economic crisis of homelessness has evolved into a full-blown humanitarian emergency.  40,000 people sleep on the streets of LA every night – more than in any other city in the nation.”

Rep. Karen Bass (File Photo)

She says 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.

There are no simple answers, but Karen knows and has the experience, values, and support to get the job done.

Yvonne Wheeler, a long-time community leader and labor activist, when asked about the continuous barrage of hateful advertising that has bombarded the Los Angeles media over the past several weeks about Karen Bass, simply said, “Karen is fighting a billionaire who will spend whatever he needs to and say whatever he must in attempt to beat Karen.  But, Caruso may be able to buy a bridge, but Karen Bass is a bridge builder and we need her type leadership in order to ensure that all the people of Los Angeles are served”

Karen Bass was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2011 following a successful six-year post as a California Assemblymember where ahe was elected by her peers as the first African American woman to serve as Assembly Speaker.

Serving in Congress, Bass spearheaded initiatives specifically designed to reform the foster care system as well as U.S.-African relations. As a member of Congress, Bass’ unwavering leadership persuaded the Democratic Party and then-Democratic presidential nominee to consider her as a prospective candidate to serve as his running mate and potential vice presidential nominee.

While the pick ultimately went to the California Senator Kamala Harris, it is her bold and visionary leadership, which triggered serious consideration by Biden and further demonstrates the type of broad leadership and vision that Mayor Karen Bass would bring to Los Angeles.

Karen Bass grew up as the daughter of working class parents in the Venice-Fairfax district of Los Angeles. After graduating from Hamilton High School, she attended Cal State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences.

Bass then studied to become a physician’s assistant at the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine, and later, went on to earn a position as a Physician’s Assistant, nurse, and instructor at USC Medical Center.

Bass grew up during the heart of the civil rights era and found great inspiration in the battle for equality.  While working as a nurse, Bass’ daily encounters with underserved patrons ultimately led her to take on the role as the head of the Los Angeles nonprofit Community Coalition, which she built into a premier institution serving the community and those often neglected and underserved.

Bass’ career in politics began in 2005 when she won a seat in California’s State Assembly. As the representative for Los Angeles’ 47th district, Bass excelled in the Assembly, becoming Majority Whip during her first term and Majority Floor Leader during her second. Although Bass experienced tragedy in 2006 when her daughter, Emilia Bass-Lechuga, died in a car accident, she remained a powerhouse in the Assembly.

In deciding to run for the position as mayor of Los Angeles, Bass is will be leaving Congress following her third term as a member of house of Representatives.  During her time in Congress,  Bass continued to fight for the issues that made her a successful leader, both locally and in Sacramento.

She remains an advocate of foster care reform, an issue that she supported in the California State Legislature. In addition to supporting numerous issues and committees on a federal level, Bass developed the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, which works to both assess and reform child welfare across the United States.

As of Sentinel press time, only about 5% of African Americans in Los Angeles had submitted their ballots for the June 7th election – a number that puts Black voters at the bottom of the totem pole.  The issues facing Los Angeles are critical to our community and we need a leader like Karen Bass to ensure that our voices are heard, but first we must make sure that our votes are counted.

The Los Angeles Sentinel strongly encourages all of our community to get actively involved and make sure that we VOTE.   And in the upcoming primary election, it is Karen Bass who the Los Angeles Sentinel strongly endorses as the next Mayor of Los Angeles.

 

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