Karen Bass could be L.A.’s first female mayor. How important is milestone to Angelenos?
KAREN BASS has been a top-level professional for 13 years, winning national acclaim and accolades for her work. The Los Angeles Times and People Magazine have named her on their lists of people to watch for, and she was voted the “Most Admired Lawyer in America” by her colleagues, according to Law360.
Today, Bass is at the pinnacle of her career and has been tapped to be the city’s first female mayor. And she has her sights on a new goal: to be president when she retires.
The 43-year-old has spent more than 30 years as a corporate lawyer for a broad range of clients, including Coca-Cola, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the California Attorney General’s Office and the California Public Utilities Commission.
But after being elected to her first, full term in June 2013, Bass found herself caught up in a political and personal whirlwind that has kept her at the epicenter of many political debates, including a mayoral race.
She is now being challenged by incumbent Mayor Eric Garcetti, an African-American with a reputation as an unabashed Democrat with a progressive record. He has yet to announce whether or not he’ll seek a second term in 2018.
One thing Bass is known for is her ability to raise money, so we talked with her about the future of city government, the role of women and what it means to be a woman in politics.
Spencer Bogart: Why now? Why are you running?
Karen Bass: I was approached a couple of months ago. They were looking for someone in the city to be the first person that, I think, has that amount of experience, that much of an ability to take this to the next level. And they were looking for somebody that has been in the trenches.
Bogart: What do you see as the next level of growth in city government?
Bass: We’re moving much more towards economic development. We need more housing. We need more office space. Businesses are becoming more and more mobile and we need to be able to move people in and out during the workday, which is great for everyone,