History-Making Los Angeles Mayor Sworn In

VP Kamala Harris swears in Karen Bass
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 16, 2022 7:30 PM CST
Updated Dec 12, 2022 12:31 AM CST
LA Elects Karen Bass as Mayor
Rep. Karen Bass acknowledges her supporters after speaking at an election night party in Los Angeles on Nov. 8.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
UPDATE Dec 12, 2022 12:31 AM CST

Los Angeles' first female mayor, and just the second Black mayor for the California city, was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris in a Sunday ceremony. Her first act? Karen Bass declared a state of emergency on homelessness in the city, the New York Times reports. Bass, who was on the shortlist in 2020 to be now-President Biden's running mate, has promised to put 17,000 unhoused people in homes during her first year in office. She asked Harris, a former California attorney general and senator and herself the first female and the first woman of color to be vice president of the US, to swear her in, and Harris flew to the ceremony with a number of other Democratic lawmakers. Bass, 69, enjoyed performances from musicians including Stevie Wonder and a reading from poet Amanda Gorman at the ceremony, but she also had protesters interrupt her inaugural speech.

Nov 16, 2022 7:30 PM CST

US Rep. Karen Bass defeated developer Rick Caruso to become the next mayor of Los Angeles on Wednesday, making her the first Black woman to hold the post as City Hall contends with an out-of-control homeless crisis, rising crime rates, and multiple scandals that have shaken trust in government. With more than 70% of the vote tallied, Bass had amassed an insurmountable lead of nearly 47,000 votes, the AP reports. She had 53.1%, with Caruso notching 46.9%. Bass was working in her congressional office in Los Angeles when she was informed by an aide she had won the race.

"We are in a fight for the soul of our city," Bass said at an election night rally. "We are going to build a new Los Angeles." A Democrat who was on President-elect Biden's short list for vice president, Bass overcame more than $100 million in spending by billionaire Caruso's campaign while arguing that she would be a coalition builder who could heal the troubled city of nearly 4 million. The election tested whether voters in the heavily Democratic city were willing to turn away from their liberal tendencies and embrace an approach that would place a strong emphasis on public safety. Bass will succeed Democrat Eric Garcetti.

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Caruso, a former Republican who became a Democrat shortly before entering the race, had represented a turn to the political right. He argued that Bass and other longtime politicians were part of the problem as the city confronted multiple crises. Caruso promised to expand the police department to deal with rising crime rates and quickly get ubiquitous homeless encampments off the streets. Bass, a former state Assembly leader, had the advantage of being a lifelong Democrat in a city where Republicans are almost invisible. She was backed by Biden and the Democratic establishment. She will become the first woman and second Black person to hold the job, after former Mayor Tom Bradley, who held the post from 1973 to 1993.

(More Election 2022 stories.)

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