As pressure rises on Joe Biden to pick a black woman as his vice presidential running mate, eyes have turned to Rep. Karen Bass.
Here are five things to know about the California congresswoman:
She is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Bass was elected to represent California’s 33rd district, which includes parts of Los Angeles in 2010 before redistricting. She was then elected to represent the 37th district in 2013 and chosen to chair the Congressional Black Caucus in 2018, and her name has been floated to succeed Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
She’s spoken out against “Defund the Police.”
While Bass has repeatedly pushed for police reform following the death of George Floyd, she’s pushed back on the movement by far-left Democrats to defund the police.
“That’s probably one of the worst slogans ever,” she said in June. Instead, Bass has called for police officers not to be tasked with issues outside of their training.
“Police officers are the first ones to say they are law enforcement officers, they’re not social workers,” the Los Angeles congresswoman said. “What we have done in our country is, we have not invested in health, social and economic problems in communities. We leave the police to pick up the pieces. In my city, for example, on any given night, we have over 40,000 people who are homeless. Why should the police be involved with that?”
It’s only recently been reported that Bass is under consideration.
First reported by CBS News, people familiar with the Biden campaign’s vetting process said that Bass is under consideration for the vice presidential spot this week, after becoming a prominent voice in the debate over police reform.The names of other prominent figures reportedly under consideration by Biden have been floating around for months.
In an MSNBC interview, Bass declined to comment on the development and said she was instead focusing on the legislative process of police reform.
She received an award for bipartisanship after the 2008 financial fallout.
Bass received a Profile in Courage award for working with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as a member of the California State Assembly in February 2009 to close California’s $42 billion budget deficit. Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late president, said it set an example of how bipartisanship can be achieved.
“It’s an example for legislators across the country and also for Americans that we really need to solve the problems that our country faces,” Kennedy, who will present the awards, told “Good Morning America.”
She has a background in medicine and worked to fight the crack-cocaine epidemic in the 1980s.
Before running for public office, Bass worked as an emergency room physician’s assistant. After witnessing the impact of the crack epidemic in the ’80s, Bass and other community organizers founded the Community Coalition, a group that worked to block the construction of new liquor stores and encourage construction of small businesses, nonprofits and affordable housing, and now works to encourage voting.