California Democratic Rep. Karen Bass is gearing up to run for mayor of Los Angeles. At least that’s what sources close to the congresswoman are saying.
The 67-year-old politician was named as a potential vice-presidential running mate to President Biden during the 2020 elections. Now Bass’ name is being mentioned as a part of the field competing for a chance to replace the city’s current mayor, Eric Garcetti, who is term-limited.
Garcetti was named as Biden’s ambassador to India but has yet to be confirmed. The Los Angeles Times broke the news of Bass’ plans to run for mayor in 2022, but a spokesperson from the congresswoman’s team did not immediately confirm the report. Instead, they shared a brief statement.
“Los Angeles is facing a humanitarian crisis in homelessness and a public health crisis in the disproportionate impact that this pandemic has had on Angelenos,” the statement read according to CBS News. “She does not want to see those two issues tear the city apart. Los Angeles has to come together. That’s why the congresswoman is considering a run for mayor.”
Bass has been at the forefront of multiple issues, including serving as a leader in the recent bipartisan effort to pass police reform. Although the legislation did not pass the Senate, Bass led the legislation to passage in the House twice.
Running for mayor could be Bass’ way of making progress on the issue important to her that stalled out despite buy-in from national police unions.
She also served six years in the state’s assembly, where she was elected as the 67th speaker. Bass cemented her name in history books as the first African American woman to serve as speaker of the state legislative body. She received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2010 for her leadership during the Great Recession.
If the congresswoman wins, she will become the first female and second Black mayor of the city. Tom Bradley served as Los Angeles’ first Black Mayor from 1973-1993, Yahoo News notes.
According to Politico, few of Bass’ political constituents tweeted in support of her leap into the mayoral race, including state Assemblymember Issac Bryan.
“If Congresswoman Karen Bass jumps into the Mayor’s race in Los Angeles, it’ll be like a wave of progressive fresh air and hope. Our City deserves it,” tweeted Bryan with a cosign from former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.
Jessica Levinson, a Loyola Law Professor and political analyst, echoed a similar sentiment in a comment to CBS.
“I think Karen Bass is going to say based on her time in leadership, in the state Legislature, working with Governor Schwarzenegger, working the ‘big 5’ during the budget crisis, that she knows how to get things done,” Levinson said.
“I think it’s a game-changer for the mayoral race if Representative Bass does, in fact, throw her hat in,” she continued. “It changes every dynamic in this race, and I think she does become the frontrunner.”
Bass is up against a heavy-hitting list of competitors that include Los Angeles City Councilmembers Kevin de Leon and Joe Buscaino, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, Central City Association of Los Angeles President and CEO Jessica Lall and former Metro Board Member Mel Wilson. The race will be held in June of next year.