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Karen Bass Becomes First Black Woman Elected As Mayor Of Los Angeles

Rep. Karen Bass has made history as the first Black woman elected mayor of Los Angeles, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Associated Press called the race after Bass amassed an insurmountable lead of almost 47,000 votes, with 70% of the votes counted. An aide informed her that she had won the race while working in her congressional office in Los Angeles.

“The people of Los Angeles have sent a clear message: it is time for a change, and it is time for urgency,” Bass said in a statement on Wednesday evening. “Tonight, 40,000 Angelenos will sleep without a home—and five will not wake up. Crime is increasing, and families are being priced out of their neighborhoods. This must change.”

To accomplish the feat, Bass defeated Rick Caruso, a billionaire mall developer and former registered Republican who broke campaign spending records by using over $100 million of his own money. His campaign was “the best-funded and focused Latino get-out-the-vote effort in the history of Los Angeles.”

Bass said Caruso called her to concede the election on Wednesday night, and she hoped he would continue “his civic participation in the city that we both love.”

When she is formally sworn in as mayor on December 12, Bass will take over a city dealing with numerous issues and scandals. L.A. county recorded 69,000 people as unhoused, with more than 48,000 living outside in the region's ongoing homelessness crisis. Bass has pledged to move more than 17,000 people indoors within her first year and to “end street encampments."

At city hall, Los Angeles City Council member Nury Martinez resigned last month from her role as president after racist comments that she made about a council member and his Black child surfaced.

Raised in South L.A., Bass brings a wealth of experience to her new role as mayor. In 1990, she founded Community Coalition, a non-profit organization focused on social justice, drug rehabilitation, and poverty in the neighborhood.

A former head of the Congressional Black Caucus and a six-term Congresswoman, she’s served in the same area where she grew up. As one of the most prominent members of the Democratic Party, Bass was on President Joe Biden's shortlist for vice president in 2020.

Before her time in Congress, Bass was a member of the California state legislature. She became speaker of the California State Assembly, the first Black woman to hold the position in any state legislature in the country.

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