HDI Bulletin

HDI Announces New Congressional Advisory Board Member

October 25, 2012 - For Immediate Release

Representative Karen Bass, (D-VA) New York, NY : The Humpty Dumpty Institute is pleased to announce that Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) has joined its Congressional Advisory Board. HDI’s Congressional Advisory Board now consists of 31 Members of Congress. The commitment of Congresswoman Bass to human rights issues and issues impacting Africa will enhance HDI’s program planning in these important areas.

Karen Bass was elected to Congress as the Representative from California's 33rd Congressional District in November 2010 with 86 percent of the vote. From her experience balancing California’s budget in the State Assembly, she was asked to serve on the House Budget Committee. In addition, she serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights. She was selected by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee, which sets the policy direction of the Democratic Caucus. She also serves as the national co-chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Women LEAD organization, which recruits and raises money to support Democratic women running for Congress. Bass is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

She has focused on issues facing working Americans and continues a long term commitment to transform the foster care system. In her first term, Bass created the bipartisan Foster Youth Caucus along with co-chair U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), and intends to examine national standards of care in the child welfare system. In 2012, Members of the Caucus will travel the nation examining best practices and the challenging conditions that foster youth face in our country. She is also a co-chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Coalition on Adoption.

In an effort to be responsive to the people in her district, Representative Bass created the 33rdCongressional Council, which provides an opportunity for constituents to learn firsthand about the issues in Congress and how to become involved in the legislative process. The Council, composed of all volunteers, seeks to engage other 33rd District residents in public policy, both domestic and internationally.

Prior to serving as the Representative from District 33, 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. 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. Also, under Bass’ leadership the Assembly fast-tracked federal economic stimulus legislation that aided Californians who have been affected by the national economic crisis as well as jumpstarted billions of dollars of infrastructure projects.

Before serving as an elected official, Rep. Bass became interested in community activism as a child watching the Civil Rights movement with her father. It was at that time that Rep. Bass made a lifetime commitment to effecting social change in her community and abroad. She worked for nearly a decade as a Physician Assistant and served as a clinical instructor at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program. In 1990, in response to the crisis that was gripping inner city America, which in Los Angeles was crack-cocaine and gang violence, Rep. Bass started and ran the Community Coalition, a community-based social justice organization in South Los Angeles that empowers residents to become involved in making a difference. Through her leadership at the Community Coalition, Rep. Bass worked to address the drug and violence epidemic and to engage community residents in addressing the root causes of injustice.

Bass had one daughter, Emilia Bass-Lechuga and son-in-law Michael Wright. Bass continues to be inspired by Emilia and Michael’s passion for life. Emilia planned to follow in her mother’s footsteps working for social change. Rep. Bass also has four step children.

She grew up with three brothers in the Venice/Fairfax area of Los Angeles. She 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.

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