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Karen Bass elected new chair of Congressional Black Caucus

Nine new representatives will join

Merdies Hayes Editor In Chief | 12/6/2018, midnight
Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37) has been elected to chair the Congressional Black Caucus..

Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37) has been elected to chair the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) during the 116th Congress. Members of the Caucus will chair five full House Committees in addition to at least 28 House Subcommittees in the coming Congress.

On Jan. 3, 2019, the CBC will add nine new representatives to their caucus, growing their numbers to 55, making it the first time ever that the Caucus will have more than 50 Members. The Caucus will also chair five full House Committees in addition to 28 House Subcommittees.

Since its establishment in 1971, the CBC has been committed to using the full Constitutional power, statutory authority, and financial resources of the federal government to ensure that African Americans and other marginalized communities in the United States have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. As part of this commitment, the CBC has fought to address critical issues such as voting rights, criminal justice reform, equal access to quality education.  

Rep. Karen Bass became the first-ever African American woman to become Speaker of any state legislature in the United States in 2008. During her time as Speaker of the California State Assembly, California faced its worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Rep. Bass worked with then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican colleagues like then-California State Senator and former Senate Republican Leader Darrell Steinberg to pass a budget that eventually earned her the 2010 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for her bipartisan negotiating efforts.

Elected to Congress in 2010, Rep. Bass is soon to become the Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, a position she will use to continue her work to build capacity in African countries and examine voter suppression, mass incarceration and recently implemented immigration policies under the lens of global human rights abuses. She also serves on the House Committee on the Judiciary, on which she will continue to push for criminal justice reform and hold the Department of Justice and the rest of the Trump administration accountable for their conduct.