Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37) hosted a community campaign kickoff at L.A. Trade Tech College on Saturday and stood with supporters—other elected leaders, business leaders, community leaders, family and friends—to deliver remarks outlining her vision for the city in which she was born and raised.
“Homelessness has been decades in the making,” Bass said, noting that state and county projects should be expanded to alleviate the situation. “But we can’t wait decades to solve it. It’s up to us to solve it right now. If you elect me as mayor, the status quo on homelessness will not stand.”
She harkened back to the 1994, Northridge earthquake and how the city overcame obstacles then.
“We mobilized local, state, federal governments, the private and non-profit sectors. Neighbors helped neighbors,” Bass said. “We found temporary shelter and rebuilt our city. In record breaking time. We can fix our city again. 40,000 people on the street is an emergency. Solving this emergency—solving homelessness—will be my overwhelming top priority as Mayor.”
The Congresswoman also discussed how her career has uniquely prepared her for this moment: first as an organizer, then as a Physician Assistant working in one of the largest Emergency Rooms in Los Angeles, and finally as an elected official serving Los Angeles at the state and federal level
Other event speakers included Alberto Retana (President and CEO of Community Coalition), Tiffany Haddish, Elmer Roldan and Marlo Jenkins (former youth activists who were mentored by the Congresswoman), Sean Burton (Chief Executive Officer of Cityview), Congresswoman Judy Chu, Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and members of Rep. Bass’ family.
“When neighbors, store owners, non-profits, teachers, parents, tenants, homeowners, activists, and City Hall work together, and work in partnership with the business community, we can change our neighborhoods—each and every neighborhood,” Bass said. “And as a former healthcare provider, I know we can reach out into and reassure even the hardest hit communities about the need to protect ourselves against COVID-19. I’ve seen it. I’ve done it—-we’ve done it together.”
Other prospective candidates in the mayoral race of 2022 include City Councilmen Joe Buscaino and Kevin de Leon; City Attorney Mike Feuer; former Metro board member Mel Wilson and downtown business leader Jessica Lall.
A Democrat, Bass said that although the federal and state governments have poured money into addressing the homeless crisis, the pandemic and other issues, it is the mayor’s office that can pull the city together.
“We need to use the platform that the Mayor has, the bully pulpit and formal Mayoral authority, to celebrate our city, recruit employers, clean neighborhoods and cut red tape, so that we can attract good jobs to LA and rebuild our middle class…so that we can attract jobs that pay for mortgages, that pay for college savings, that pay for retirement and that offer dignity and stability,” Bass said. “And in the midst of this pandemic, we have to fight for these jobs more than ever.”
Endorsements for Bass include: Former Sen. Barbara Boxer; Sen. Cory Booker; U.S. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard; California State Treasurer Fiona Ma; California State Senator Steven Bradford; California State Assemblymembers Isaac Bryan; Autumn Burke; Mike Gipson; Chris Holden; and Reggie Jones-Sawyer; Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell; Compton Mayor Emma Sharif; and others.
“Right now Angelenos are scared, folks are angry—and when that boils over, progress is at risk. We can’t afford to have that happen,” Bass said. “Los Angeles, you have called me home and I am ready to serve.”