Congressmember Karen Bass was re-elected to her fifth term representing the 37th Congressional District in November 2018. Congressmember Bass serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations and the House Judiciary Committee as Chair of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Congressmember Bass also serves as the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Prior to serving in Congress, Congressmember Bass made history when the California Assembly elected her to be its 67th Speaker, catapulting her to become the first African American woman in U.S. history to serve in this powerful state legislative role. Congressmember Bass served as Speaker during California’s greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. In addition to helping to navigate the state through a very difficult time, she also championed efforts to improve foster care and quality healthcare for Californians. For her leadership during the worst recession California had faced since the Great Depression, she, along with the three legislative leaders that she worked alongside, were awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2010.
Before serving as an elected official, while working as a Physician Assistant and as a clinical instructor at the USC Keck School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program, Congressmember Bass convened local community organizers and founded Community Coalition (CoCo), an organization with a mission to help transform the social and economic conditions in South LA that foster addiction, crime, violence and poverty by building a community institution that involves thousands in creating, influencing and changing public policy.
Congressmember Bass 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’s School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program.