Karen Ruth Bass is an American politician, social worker and former physician assistant who has served as the 43rd mayor of Los Angeles since 2022. A member of the Democratic Party, Bass previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011 to 2022 and in the California State Assembly from 2004 to 2010, serving as speaker during her final Assembly term.
A Los Angeles native, Bass attended college at California State University, Dominguez Hills and the University of Southern California. She spent her career as a physician assistant and community activist before seeking public office. Before her election to Congress, Bass represented the 47th district in the California State Assembly for six years. In 2008, she was elected to serve as the 67th Speaker of the California State Assembly, becoming the first African-American woman in United States history to serve as a speaker of a state legislative body. She won the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2010 for her leadership during the Great Recession.
Bass was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. She represented California's 33rd congressional district during her first term, though redistricting moved her to the 37th district in 2012. She chaired the Congressional Black Caucus during the 116th Congress.
Bass won the 2022 Los Angeles mayoral election. She was ceremonially sworn in on December 11, 2022 by Vice President Kamala Harris. Bass began her term the following day, December 12. She is the first woman to serve as mayor of Los Angeles and the second Black person to serve in that capacity (the first was Tom Bradley).