As the daughter of a letter carrier growing up in Los Angeles’s Fairfax district, Karen Bass remembers watching the momentous Civil Rights movement with her father. Little did she know that she would make some of her own history later in life. In 2008, she was selected as the first African-American woman to serve as speaker of the California Assembly, building on a strong record of community activism and involvement. Prior to becoming a public servant, she founded and directed the South Los Angeles-based Community Coalition, an organization that has helped to improve social and economic conditions in South Los Angeles by working thousands of local residents there. Now she represents the 37th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she has already forged a strong record of leadership.
On Monday afternoon, the Bedrosian Center presents US Congresswoman Bass as part of its Coffee with a Leader series. In a conversation with Bedrosian Center Director Raphael Bostic, Bass will share her experiences as a leader in South Los Angeles, reflect on current challenges and opportunities in the House of Representatives, and discuss some of the most important policy priorities for the 37th Congressional District.
After being re-elected to her second term representing the newly re-drawn 37th district in November 2012, she was selected by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to serve on the Steering and Policy Committee, which sets the policy agenda for the Democratic Caucus. Bass also serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as a ranking member of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations. She is also a leading member for the Congressional Black Caucus, where she serves as whip for the 113th Congress. In her second term, Representative Bass has continued to advance policy issues that are close to her heart. After working for almost a decade as a physician assistant and serving as a clinical instructor at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program, health care remains an important area of interest. Bass is also committed to advocating on behalf of children in the foster care system. She founded and currently co-chairs bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, which is designed to protect and promote the welfare of all foster children.