LOS ANGELES (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Karen Bass entered the 2022 race for Los Angeles mayor Monday, shaking up an already crowded field hoping to replace outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Bass made the announcement online, saying on her website that she planned to focus on LA’s unchecked homeless crisis as the city continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
“Forty-thousand people sleep on the streets of LA every night — more than in any other city in the nation,” a statement on her website said.
“Karen is running for mayor because she knows that solving this crisis means addressing the root causes of homelessness: lack of affordable housing, health care, job training, mental health services, and drug and alcohol counseling,” the statement said.
Bass’ entry into the race immediately reshapes the contest that already has attracted a parade of candidates. She is the best-known Democrat, being a prominent figure in national politics and landing on President Joe Biden’s shortlist when he was considering a vice presidential pick.
Bass, 67, was a physician’s assistant and community organizer who became the first Black woman speaker of the state Assembly in 2008. She is close to Biden as well as to her fellow Californian who leads the U.S. House — San Francisco’s Nancy Pelosi. Bass, serving her sixth term in the House, previously headed the Congressional Black Caucus.
Her announcement was expected. Last week, a person with knowledge of Bass’ plans who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity said she would run.
Those seeking to replace Garcetti include city Councilmen Kevin de Leon and Joe Buscaino, businessman Mel Wilson, City Attorney Mike Feuer and business leader Jessica Lall.