Karen Bass becomes first female, second black mayor of Los Angeles

Karen Bass.

Karen Bass becomes first female, second black mayor of Los Angeles

Karen Bass, a veteran Democratic congresswoman, has been elected as mayor of Los Angeles after pledging she would build coalitions in a metropolis torn by racial tensions.

Ms Bass, 69, is the first woman and second black mayor to lead the U.S. second-largest city, winning 53 per cent of votes in a historically tight contest between her and billionaire real estate developer, Rick Caruso.

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In a statement after her win was announced by the Associated Press, Ms Baren said: “Now, it’s time to get to work and move our city in a new direction. It’s time to house people immediately, increase safety and opportunity in every neighbourhood, and create a new standard of ethics and accountability at City Hall.

“It is time for change and it is time for urgency,” she added.

Chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party (LACDP), Mark J. Gonzalez, said Ms Bass’s win represents the political and socio-economic aspirations of the people.

“Her (Ms Bass) victory sends a clear message about the kind of Los Angeles we want and see for ourselves.

“We’ve always said this race is about the soul of Los Angeles and voters clearly spoke up to reject an attempt to buy this race. I’m thrilled to congratulate Mayor-elect Karen Bass and know she and her team will quickly dive in with the kind of vision we need to keep progressing toward a future of inclusivity, equity and purpose.”

Married for six years in the 1980s, Ms Bass and her ex-husband, a Latino, went on after their divorce to jointly raise their daughter with his four children.

Ms Bass’s stepchildren spoke lovingly of her at her campaign kickoff rally.

Her biological daughter and son-in-law died in 2006 in an automobile accident, two years after Ms Bass was first elected to public office. The tragedy, she has said, made her part of a “club that you didn’t ask to be a part of,” and left her with “a choice as to whether to go back to work or hide.”