When 9th District Councilwoman Jan Perry filed papers to run for mayor of Los Angeles on March 15, another barrier for Black women came hurtling to earth. Perry became the first African American woman to do so, an appropriate act during Women’s History Month.
When she was introduced at the Black Business Association Salute to Black Women Business Conference and Awards Luncheon 11 days later, the largely Black crowd was apparently approving. They gave her a standing ovation.
Although, her filing came two years ahead of the election and the “big” announcement will come about a year from now, it was the right time to file. The present mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, will be termed out in 2013, and Perry will be termed out for her council seat at that time as well.
“I think I have a unique ability to understand the needs of [the people] and deliver to the people I have represented for last ten years new jobs, fair housing and educational opportunities,” said Perry. “I believe I can take the city in the direction that it needs to be taken to realize its full potential, to put people back to work, to provide them with options in housing and transportation so they can achieve a better quality of life.”
The race is expected to be crowded. City Controller Wendy Gruel filed paperwork before Perry, and Council President Eric Garcetti, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, state Sen. Alex Padilla, and others are also believed to be interested in running.
Perry, who succeeded Councilwoman Rita Walters in 2001, has served the 9th District for the past ten years. Her district includes much of downtown Los Angeles. She is reportedly well liked in the business community as well as among area residents and members of the homeless services community.