Karen Bass wins, her plans as first Black woman mayor of L.A.

Representative Karen Bass won the Los Angeles mayor race against real-estate developer Rick Caruso Wednesday evening.

Bass will be the first woman and second Black Angelino to hold the position in the city’s 241-year history, winning by eight percentage points.

Earlier in the race Caruso was in the lead, but as mail-in ballots were counted Bass began to pull ahead. The L.A. mayoral race was a tight run between the two candidates, and Caruso called Bass Wednesday night to officially concede.

Caruso, a former Republican with a conservative background, held overwhelming support in L.A.’s wealthier neighborhoods, while Bass polled ahead in lower income communities.

Caruso had switched his voter registration from Republican to Democrat in January before his run for mayor of Los Angeles, which is a dominantly blue city. However, the climate of L.A. was deeply divided on policies, such as crime, an issue which was also reflected in the L.A. Sheriff’s race.

Violent crime in the city of L.A. has steadily increased by 10% in the past two years, making it a center point of the Bass and Caruso campaigns. Caruso took a more conservative approach in addressing the issue of crime, promising to restore the LAPD’s budget and add 1,500 officers on the streets.

Mayor-elect Bass offered an alternative approach to this issue in her campaign, aiming to create jobs in low-income areas in order to reduce crime.

The issue of the homeless crisis was another driving point in the election, and both Bass and Caruso planned to declare a state of emergency to address the housing crisis in the city.

Bass intended to utilize city-owned land to build affordable housing and planned to renovate existing structures to create housing, according to her campaign website.

Caruso aimed to create support programs for the unhoused with emergency funding. He also demanded state and federal funding for case workers to address those with substance abuse and mental health problems, according to his campaign website.

In terms of the climate crisis, mayor-elect Bass supported the initiative to make L.A. utilize 100% clean energy by 2035. She also wanted to reduce vehicle emissions by encouraging a switch to electric vehicles.

Bass has represented California’s 37th congressional district since 2013 but began her service in 2004 as a state representative.

Her district covered South Los Angeles, Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills, Miracle Mile, Pico-Robertson, Century City, Cheviot Hills, West Los Angeles and Mar Vista.

During her time as a California State Assembly member, she led the assembly during the 2008 financial crisis and earned the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2010.

Through her work in Congress, she served as chairperson for the Congressional Black Caucus in 2019. President Joe Biden considered her for his running mate in 2020. While he ultimately chose then-senator Kamala Harris, Biden still endorsed her for mayor.

The California representative also earned endorsements from Senator Bernie Sanders and stand-up comedian Adam Conover.

Bass is expected to take office as the 43rd mayor of Los Angeles early next year.

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