Karen Bass was elected as the 67th speaker of the California State Assembly on May 13, 2008. Assemblywoman Karen Bass is the first African American Woman to be elected speaker in California. Ms. Bass attended California State University, Dominguez Hills where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Health Science. She also went to the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine where she earned her Physician Assistant Certificate. Karen Bass has also worked at the university as a Physician Assistant, nurse, and also an instructor (Black Past, 2015). Ms. Bass past experiences dealing with unfortunate individuals lead her in 1992 to find the non-profit organization Community Coalition. The organization was founded after the Los Angeles riots and its purpose is to improve the lives of the people in South Los Angeles. The goal of the organization is to remove liquor stores, low-rent motels from the area, removal of billboards that promote cigarettes and alcohol that are near public schools, increase the number of laundry matts and grocery stores in the area for residents.
Karen Bass began her journey in politics in 2005 when she won California’s State Assembly seat and became the representative for the 47th district of Los Angeles. Ms. Bass has done quite a bit of work as house speaker. She has proposed legislation that focuses on California’s budget and mortgage crisis. On a local level she has dispensed over six hundred million dollars to reconstruct the Los Angeles School District, eighty-two million to improve California’s Foster Care System, and had lead legislation that promises children Health Families Insurance Coverage. Ms. Bass is also the vice-chair of California Legislative Black Caucus. Ms. Bass has been instrumental in the creation of the State of Black California Report, “which examined the social and economic conditions of African American communities throughout California for the purpose of influencing legislative proposals. In addition, Bass serves on the Legislative Women’s Caucus, Committee on Health, Committee on Utilities and Commerce, and Select Committee on the Prevention of Youth Violence, among a host of others” Ms. Bass’ term ended in 2010. (Black Past, 2015).
Karen Bass has been re-elected four times since 2010 to represent the 37th Congressional District. Ms. Bass serves the following committees and organizations: the House Committee on Foreign Affairs where she is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Congress member Bass is also working to craft sound criminal justice reforms as well as protect intellectual property right infringements that threaten the economic health of the 37th District (Bass House, n.d.).