About Karen

Karen Bass was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010. Before coming to Congress Karen made history when the California Assembly elected her to be its 67th Speaker, catapulting her to become the first African American woman in the country to serve in this powerful state legislative role.

Since coming to Congress, Representative Bass has been an advocate for her constituents. She reached across the aisle to form the bi-partisan Foster Care Caucus, and she has authored legislation to provide necessary reforms to the nation's foster care system.

Representative Bass continues to work with President Obama to bring quality jobs to Americans and Angelenos. She was a co-sponsor of the "American Jobs Act," which would modernize at least 35,000 public schools across the country--supporting new science labs, Internet- ready classrooms and school renovations in both rural and urban communities.

Representative Bass is leading the way in making needed investments in both our nation's and in Los Angeles' infrastructure. She supports immediate investments in our infrastructure--modernizing our roads, railways and airports, which would put hundreds of thousands of workers back on the job. In Los Angeles she has worked with the Obama administration to bring needed federal funds to vital infrastructure projects, including the the LAX-Crenshaw Lightrail Line that will bring over 18,000 jobs over the next six years to Los Angeles. A lifelong resident of Los Angeles, Bass was elected first to the legislature in 2005 to represent Culver City, West Los Angeles, Westwood, Cheviot Hills, Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, Windsor Hills, Ladera Heights, the Crenshaw District, Little Ethiopia and portions of Korea Town and South Los Angeles.

And although she’s only been a public official since 2005, she has served the public for decades. In fact, she started her political organizing as a student at Hamilton High School when she signed up to be a precinct captain for Robert Kennedy in 1968. Bass founded and ran Community Coalition, a community-based social justice organization in South Los Angeles to empower residents to get involved in making a difference. In addition to her 14 years as Executive Director for Community Coalition, Bass has a long history as an activist, creating change on both a local and international level.

Representative Bass also worked for nearly a decade as a Physician Assistant and served as a Clinical Instructor at the USC Keck School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program.

Representative Bass had one daughter, Emilia Bass-Lechuga and son-in law Michael Wright, and has four step children. Emilia wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and help others, and Emilia’s passion for life continues to be a motivation for Bass.

Representative Bass currently lives in Baldwin Vista. She grew up with three brothers in the Venice/Fairfax area of Los Angeles, and is the only daughter of DeWitt and Wilhelmina Bass. She graduated from Hamilton High School, Cal State Dominguez Hills, and the University of Southern California School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program.