Wednesday, 29 April 2015


               BLACK   SOCIAL  HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Karen Bass

Karen Bass
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 37th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byLaura Richardson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 33rd district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013
Preceded byDiane Watson
Succeeded byHenry Waxman
Speaker of the California Assembly
In office
May 13, 2008 – March 1, 2010
GovernorArnold Schwarzenegger
Preceded byFabian Núñez
Succeeded byJohn Pérez
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 47th district
In office
December 6, 2004 – December 6, 2010
Preceded byHerb Wesson
Succeeded byHolly Mitchell
Personal details
BornKaren Ruth Bass
October 3, 1953 (age 61)
Los AngelesCaliforniaU.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jesus Lechuga (1980–1986)
4 stepchildren
Alma materSan Diego State University
California State University, Dominguez Hills
WebsiteHouse website
Karen Ruth Bass (born October 3, 1953) is an American Democratic politician. She represents California's 37th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives; she was first elected in 2010. In redistricting following the 2010 census, the district was renumbered from 33rd to 37th. Bass represented the 47th district in the California State Assembly 2004–2010, and wasSpeaker of the California State Assembly 2008–2010 (second woman, third African American speaker).

Early life, education, and medical career

Bass was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Wilhelmina (née Duckett) and DeWitt Talmadge Bass.[7] Her father was a letter carrier.[5] She was raised in the Venice/Fairfax neighborhood and went to Hamilton High School. She studied philosophy at San Diego State University (1971–1973), then earned a B.S. in health sciences from California State University, Dominguez Hills(1990).[1]
Bass worked as a physician assistant and as a clinical instructor at the USC Keck School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program.[8]Bass founded the Community Coalition, an organization in South Los Angeles.[9]

California Assembly                                                                                                                                                               As the Assemblymember 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 Koreatown 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 appointed Bass California State Assembly Majority Whip (2005–2006), and Majority Floor Leader for 2007–2008 legislative session. She was chair of the Select Committee on Foster Care and vice chair of the Legislative Black Caucus. She succeeded Núñez as Speaker on May 13, 2008; he was termed out of the Assembly November 30, 2008.
As chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, she commissioned a report to research the basic demographic profile of Black Californians including the basic social and economic conditions.[10] The State of Black California report included a statewide organizing effort to involve Black Californians in identifying their concerns and making legislative recommendations.[11]


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.[12]
Bass was criticized[by whom?] 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."[13]
Since leaving office, Bass was named Speaker Emeritus.[14]

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 inCalifornia's 33rd congressional district.[15] Bass won the election with over 86% of the vote on November 2, 2010.[16]
Bass raised $932,281.19 and spent $768,918.65. Her 2010 campaign contributions came from very different and diverse groups with none donating more than 15% of her total campaign funds. The five major donors to her 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.[17]

2012 election

In 2012 she had no primary opponent, and carried the general election with 86%.[5] She raised $692,988.53 and spent $803,966.15, leaving $52,384.92 on hand and a debt of $3,297.59.[17]

Committee assignments

Position on issues[edit]

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 her a 0%.[17]


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 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 Bass supported Expanded Firearm Registration Bill that with other regulations would have made all gun dealers report their sales to the Department of Justice. Bass also supported the Amendment to the Penal Code regarding Firearms of 2010.[17]

International Policy/Foreign Affairs

Bass serves in the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In her website, she 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." 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.[17][18]

The Budget, Taxes and Spending

Bass, a social liberal, with Ratings around 100% by pro-gay marriage associations, can also be considered so in her fiscal positions. She 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, She supports stimulus to create jobs.
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, she has supported the H Amendment 16 for Reducing Navy and Air Force Appropriations. She has supported mainly military cuts.
Bass has supported keeping taxes low for the middle class and “tax credits for small businesses to hire new employees.” She states that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest should expire because “the wealthy…don’t need these breaks.”[17][19]
  • 112th Congress - 1st Session (2011)
Bass voted to authorize the United States military to participate in the 2011 military intervention in Libya. The measure (H J RES 68) failed 123-295.[20][21] In 2011, Bass became a co-sponsor of Bill H.R.3261 otherwise known as the Stop Online Piracy Act.[22]

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.[23]
Bass suffered the loss of her only child, daughter Emilia Wright and son-in-law Michael Wright, in a car accident in 2006.[24]