Bass takes oath in Los Angeles

Karen Bass takes the oath of office.

With her left hand on a Bible held by her stepdaughter, and her right hand raised toward an excited crowd, Karen Bass, a Democrat, was sworn in to the United States Congress, reciting the oath of office with the aid of House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Bass was recently elected to represent California’s 33rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, which includes Culver City, Baldwin Hills and Ladera Heights. Bass was sworn in as a member of Congress in Washington D.C. in early January, but Pelosi remarked that it was important for Los Angeles constituents to “bear witness to her swearing-in.”

Supporters for the new congresswoman gathered in the auditorium of the Robert F. Kennedy Schools in downtown Los Angeles for the ceremony, which took place Sunday, Jan. 31. The ornate auditorium was filled to capacity, with some audience members seated outside to watch the ceremony via a live video feed. Members of the public and local politicians were in attendance, including former Congresswoman Diane Watson and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“I’ve known Karen Bass for 37 years, so when I call her my sister I’m not just being cool – she really is my sister,” said Villaraigosa, adding, “I can tell you that this is a woman who has dedicated her life to the empowerment of others. She believes in the power of people coming together and making change to the world.”

Bass is a former member of the California State Assembly, representing the 47th District, where she worked on issues dealing with education and healthcare. Bass also served as the 67th speaker for the assembly, the first African-American woman in the state to hold the position.

Aside from representing the 33rd District in the nation’s capital, Bass is also a member of the House Committee on the Budget, and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

“When I think about representing the district, I actually feel like I’m representing the United Nations,” said Bass.

“We are home to Koreatown, Little Israel, Little Ethiopia, Little Armenia and countless communities from Latin and South America. I look forward to representing the distinct interests of these communities – strengthening existing ties and building new alliances in the 33rd district,” she said.

As the congressional representative to Culver City, Bass is prepared to address many of the city’s concerns, chief of which are the oil wells in the Baldwin Hills.

“A lot of community members from Culver City are very concerned about potential health hazards from the 350-plus oil wells,” said Bass, adding that she plans to bring in experts from the Environmental Protection Agency to address the community’s concerns.

Bass is also hoping to work with the local government on transportation funding and the protection of Culver City’s entertainment industry, describing them as “two issues that I have worked on in Sacramento and plan to continue working on in Washington, D.C.,”.

Although Bass will now have to divide her time between California and Washington D.C., she made it clear to her constituents that she has not forgotten where she came from, saying, “My friends from the state assembly, I just want you guys to know that I’m not in Sacramento anymore, but I miss you.”