Episode 96 – Rep Karen Bass

Rep. Karen Bass shares optimism on the government’s future: ‘History allows me to be hopeful.’
By LA Stories Staff Baldwin Hills
PUBLISHED 5:00 AM PT Aug. 23, 2021

Rep. Karen Bass sparked an interest in activism and public policy at a very young age.

Inspired by the civil rights movement, Bass volunteered for the Robert F. Kennedy campaign at just 14 years old, going door to door encouraging people to vote for him. Her parents, however, never wanted her to be an activist. With the death of Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., they had concerns for her safety.

“They were afraid I was not going to survive,” Bass said. “During those years, there were assassinations and killings all the time.”

However, it wasn’t long before Bass — a former physician’s assistant — saw a need for change in Los Angeles. In the 1990s, she founded the Community Coalition, where she and a group of volunteers worked to address the root causes of injustice. From there, Bass continued her political ascent and is now in her sixth term in Congress, representing the 37th District of California as a Democrat.

“One of the things that has been important to me is leading during difficult times, and I’m happy and proud to do that,” she said.

In the latest episode of “LA Stories,” Bass opens up to host Giselle Fernandez about her work in Congress.

Be sure to catch Bass’ full conversation with Fernandez in the new episode of our podcast “LA Stories Unfiltered” here:

Bass served as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and currently focuses her work on child welfare and police reform. Both Democrats and Republicans often praise her for her ability to reach across the aisle to get the job done. Many say this bipartisanship landed her as a top contender for President Joe Biden’s vice president during the 2020 election.

“I was so incredibly honored to even be considered for that,” she said. “I kind of would wake up every morning going, ‘Are you kidding me?'”

Today, Bass’ name often comes up with the mention of either the 2022 Los Angeles Mayor race or a contender to replace Speaker Nancy Pelosi. For now, Bass’ focus remains steadily on the work in front of her, hoping to inspire and motivate the younger generations to engage in politics.

Even in the divisive times our nation faces, Bass continues to remain optimistic about our government.

“Really, history allows me to be hopeful,” she said. “If I reach the point where I’ve lost hope, then I have to resign.”


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