Friday, 26 July 2013


                 BLACK             SOCIAL          HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Karen Ruth Bass born October 3, 1953 is an American politician who has served in the United States House of Representatives since 2011. She is a member of the Democratic Party from California. During her first two years in Congress, her district was numbered the 33rd; it has been numbered the 37th district since 2013.
Prior to her election to Congress in 2010, Bass served as a member of the California State Assembly representing the 47th district beginning in 2004. From 2008 to 2010, she served as Speaker of the California State Assembly, becoming the second woman and third African American to serve in that post.

Early life, education, and medical career

Bass was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Wilhelmina (née Duckett) and DeWitt Talmadge Bass. She was raised in the Venice/Fairfax neighborhood and went to Hamilton High School. She attended San Diego State University from 1971 to 1973 majoring in philosopha and graduated from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 1990 with a B.S. in health sciences. Bass worked as a physician assistant and as a clinical instructor at the USC Keck School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program. Bass founded the Community Coalition, an organization in South Los Angeles.

California Assembly

As the Assembly member for the 47th District, Bass served the cities and communities of Culver City, West Los Angeles, Westwood, Cheviot Hills,Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, View Park-Windsor Hills, Ladera Heights, the Crenshaw District, Little Ethiopia and portions of Korea town and South Los Angeles.
In addition to her leadership of California African Americans for Obama and her post on Barack Obama's national African American Leadership Council, Bass served as a California Co-chair of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

Leadership prior to speaker election

Speaker Fabian Núñez selected Bass as the Majority Floor Leader for the California State Assembly during the 2007-2008 legislative session. During the 2005-2006 legislative session, Bass served as the Majority Whip. Bass also serves as the chair of the Select Committee on Foster Care and as vice chair of the Legislative Black Caucus. Bass succeeded Núñez as Speaker on May 13, 2008, as Núñez was scheduled to be termed out of the Assembly on November 30, 2008.
Bass, who is the vice chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, commissioned a report to research the basic demographic profile of Black Californians including the basic social and economic conditions. The State of Black California report included a statewide organizing effort to involve Black Californians in identifying their concerns and making legislative recommendations.


With the defeat of Proposition 93, Speaker Fabian Núñez was termed out of the Assembly at the end of the 2007-2008 session. As the next-highest-ranking Democrat in the Assembly, Bass was well-positioned to take the post. After consolidating the support of a number of Legislators who had previously also been seeking the Speakership, Bass was elected Speaker on February 28, 2008 and then sworn in as Speaker on May 13.
Bass was criticized for the following statement to Los Angeles Times reporter Patt Morrison: "The Republicans were essentially threatened and terrorized against voting for revenue. Now [some] are facing recalls. They operate under a terrorist threat: 'You vote for revenue and your career is over.' I don't know why we allow that kind of terrorism to exist. I guess it's about free speech, but it's extremely unfair."
Since leaving office, Bass was named Speaker Emeritus.

U.S. House of Representatives

2010 election

Bass was ineligible to run for reelection in 2010 due to term limits and on February 18, 2010, confirmed her candidacy to succeed retiring U.S. Representative Diane Watson in California's 33rd congressional district. Bass won the election handily on November 2, 2010.

2010 Campaign Finances

Representative Karen Bass is in a “overwhelmingly…democratic” district. She won her first term in 2010 with over 86% of the vote. Thus in California’s District 33 there is less money spent during campaigns than in more competitive areas, so it can go to other Democrats. Representative Karen Bass raised $932,281.19 and spent $768,918.65. Her campaign contributions come from very different and diverse groups with none donating more than 15% of her total campaign funds. The five major donors to Congresswoman Bass’s campaign are Labor Unions with $101,950.00; Financial Institutions with $90,350.00; Health Professionals with $87,900.00; the Entertainment Industry with $52,400.00 and Lawyers and Law Firms with $48,650.00. |url=

Committee assignments

  • Committee on the Judiciary
  • Committee on Foreign Affairs
    • Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights (Ranking Member)
    • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Position on issues

Representative Karen Bass is generally considered a liberal, with ratings of 100% or close from liberal interest group capitol Weekly Positions. Conservative groups like the California Republican Assembly Positions have consistently awarded Congresswoman Bass a 0%. |url=


Congresswoman Karen Bass is a very strong supporter of Gun Control. The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund Lifetime Score is an F. The Gun Owners of California Postitons on Gun Rights have also given Representative Karen Bass an F. Congresswoman Bass recently has voted against the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act that would loosen general Gun Control laws. In 2010 while campaigning for Congress Congresswoman Bass supported Expanded Firearm Registration Bill that with other regulations would have made all gun dealers report their sales to the Department of Justice. Representative Bass also supported the Amendment to the Penal Code regarding Firearms of 2010. |url=

International Policy/Foreign Affairs

Representative Bass serves in the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In her website, Congresswoman Bass supports “working with our NATO allies and within the United Nations”. She also attributes significant importance to diplomacy and “creat[ing] jobs here in the US”. Representative Bass does so through supporting trade protectionism. She has voted against the Free Trade Treaty with South Korea and the Trade Promotion Agreements with Colombia and Panama. She has not yet been rated by different interest groups because congresswoman Bass has served for less than one year in the house of Representatives. |url= |url=

The Budget, Taxes and Spending

Representative Karen Bass, a social liberal, with Ratings around 100% by pro-gay marriage associations, can also be considered so in her fiscal positions. Congresswoman Bass has a rating of 10% from the very conservative California Tax Payers Association. However, the more liberal Consumer Federation of California gives her very high rankings. Besides the following positions on Taxing and Spending, Congresswoman Bass supports stimulus to create jobs. Congresswoman Bass has been against general Budget-Wide Cuts like Resolution 38 which would reduce spending to 2008 levels. She has also opposed budgets with deep cuts like the 2011 Budget. However, Congresswoman Karen Bass has supported the H Amendment 16 for Reducing Navy and Air Force Appropriations. The Congresswoman has supported mainly military cuts. Representative Karen Bass has supported keeping taxes low for the middle class and “tax credits for small businesses to hire new employees”. Congresswoman Bass states however that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest should expire because “the wealthy…don’t need these breaks”. |url= |url=
  • 112th Congress - 1st Session (2011)
Karen Bass voted to authorize the United States military to participate in the NATO-led bombing of Libya. The measure failed 123-295.[10] In 2011, Rep. Bass became a co-sponsor of Bill H.R.3261 otherwise known as the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Personal life

From 1980 to 1986, Bass was married to Jesus Lechuga. Following their divorce, Bass and Lechuga jointly raised their daughter and four step-children together.

Bass suffered the loss of her only child, daughter Emilia Wright and son-in-law Michael Wright, in a car accident in 2006.