“Lets make our environment a majority priority”
As Steve Bradford (D), a Gardena, California, native, runs for State Senate of the 35th District, one of his main goals is to break down more barriers for people of color. If he wins, Bradford will replace Senator Isadore Hall (D), who is running for Congress this year.
“Everything in my campaign is about educating Black people,” said Bradford. “In my position it’s all about telling our story and fighting for our rights.”
District 35 consists mostly of the South Bay area. The District stretches through Inglewood down to the Port of L.A. and the San Pedro neighborhood of Los Angeles.
“This isn’t a district that is just Black, Hispanics could potentially win this seat as well. So there needs to be a good grass roots outreach for this election,” said Bradford.
Prior to his campaign for State Senate, Bradford was the Democratic assembly member for the 62nd District of the California State Assembly. He’d previously represented the 51st District in 2009 and before his election to the Assembly he served on the Gardena City Council for 12 years and was the first African American elected to the council.
“I lived in Gardena since the age of nine. So, I grew up knowing the needs of the city because of living there. It was my commitment to the city to see things through,” said Bradford who is now 56.
Growing up in the city, Bradford attended Henry Clay Junior High School and Gardena High School, where he took interest in the medical field. “It’s weird to think that someone who was once interested in being a doctor would be running for State Senate,” he said as he laughed about his transition to politics.
Following high school he attended San Diego State University where he was a pre-med student. He later moved back to Los Angeles to transfer to California State University, Dominguez Hills, where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science and certificate in paralegal studies.
“I realized during a marketing class that I wanted to be in politics,” said Bradford. “My shift in careers came from me wanting to make a change in my city and wanting to impact the people who were coming after me.”
As a long time community advocate, Bradford has experienced the ins and out of community development.
“People always ask what am I going to do differently than all the others who came before me and I have to say it’s the relationships I have between all cities. I like seeing and making changes that you can see, for example LAX is more diverse because of the work we’ve done.”
Getting things done shouldn’t be hard for Bradford, who has had 42 bills passed in a five-year span.
Diversity is one of the major issues he chose to tackle in his campaign. Because of that, he was invited by the White House to attend President Barack Obama’s announcement of “My Brother’s Keeper,” a federal investment in the lives of boys and men of color.
The invite followed the work of Bradford’s Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, which focuses on giving young men the tools they need for success.
“Education is a huge commitment that our young generation needs. It’s a major issue that we all should look at. Everyone at some point of their lives wishes to go to college and further their education. But, a mass majority of those people will not have the resources to get to school. I want to change that,” he said.
Often, education and the prison system go hand in hand during political debates, and Bradford believes that rehabilitation can work for those who were recently incarcerated.
“People are not being taken care of. We need a criminal justice reform that can ensure that people will be taken care of,” he said. “Education and prison reform go hand in hand because for minority communities people often overlook that subject. It’s time to look at the two and see the correlation.”
Some of Bradford’s endorsements and supporters include the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, State Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, California State Senator Ricardo Lara, and the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper.
Primary nominating elections will take place Tuesday, June 7.