The first Black woman to be elected mayor of Los Angeles is Karen Bass. She defeated billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso, who reportedly spent $100 million on his campaign, in a fierce race.
After the election remained “too close to call” for more than a week, she won with 53% of the vote. She takes the place of Eric Garcetti, who was barred from running for reelection by the city’s two-term limit.
After winning, Bass issued a statement in which she said that “the people of Los Angeles have sent a clear message.” “Now is the time for urgency and for change.” As mayor, she wants to reduce hostility in the city’s communities. She claimed that the “familiarity of the contemporary civic disquiet” was the primary reason she ran. The New York Times reported that she will find housing for 17,000 homeless people in her first year as mayor and declare a state of emergency on homelessness. She’ll also see to it that there are more police on the streets.
In November 2020, the former physician assistant and emergency department employee was re-elected to serve the 37th Congressional District for a sixth term. She has been a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs since joining the legislature, where she rose to the position of Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights.
She also sits on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, where she actively participates in developing sensible criminal justice reform strategies. She presided over the Congressional Black Caucus in 2019 and 2020.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the most revolutionary piece of policing legislation to ever pass in a chamber of Congress, is also credited to her with being introduced.
Bass served in the California State Assembly prior to entering Congress. She made history in 2008 when she became the first African-American woman in American history to hold the position of Speaker of any state legislature.
In order to “help transform the social and economic conditions in South Los Angeles that foster addiction, crime, violence, and poverty by building a community institution that involves thousands in creating, influencing, and changing public policy,” according to her biography, she founded Community Coalition, also known as CoCo, in the early 1990s.
According to The New York Times, Bass was married for six years in the 1980s. But she and her ex-husband shared raising of their daughter and his four kids. A car accident claimed the lives of her biological daughter and son-in-law in 2006, two years after Bass was first elected to office.
She is now the city of Los Angeles’ first Black woman and second Black mayor. From 1973 to 1993, Tom Bradley was the city’s first Black mayor.