State Assembly Speaker Emeritus Karen Bass is seeking to replace retiring Rep. Diane Watson in the 33rd Congressional District, and has pledged to continue the fight for jobs, support for families and improved education if elected to congress.
Bass, a Democrat, has represented the 47th Assembly District since 2004, which includes portions of Hollywood, the Miracle Mile and the Wilshire area, as well as South Los Angeles. The 33rd Congressional District encompasses much of the same area. Bass is facing term limits in the Assembly this November, and said she hopes to continue the work she has accomplished in California at the federal level.
“I actually have been in the area most of my life. I went to school at Hancock Park Elementary School, and always particularly enjoyed the Miracle Mile,” Bass said. “I am very familiar with the area, having gown up there, and have watched it completely change over the years. It is a very dynamic area, and there are a lot of important issues.”
Bass said one of the key issues is the economy and jobs, particularly with a large number of film production companies and related industries based in the district. She said she worked extensively to create the state’s film incentive program, which seeks to retain filming in Los Angeles and other parts of the state by offering lower fees. She has also worked to assist small businesses, ensuring they have access to credit to start new projects and expand.
“We don’t want to lose jobs, and the film credit absolutely helped some filming to stay in L.A.,” Bass said. “There are other issues related to the entertainment industry that I am working on, including preventing piracy as it pertains to the film and music industry.”
In addition, Bass said traffic and transportation issues are key concerns in the district, and she plans to pursue financial support for major public transportation projects, such as those outlined in Measure R. While serving in state government, she helped secure funding for the high-speed rail project between Southern California and San Francisco.
“As far as high-speed rail, Los Angeles is at the center. We have secured some funding, and the first phase will go through Los Angeles to Orange County,” Bass said. “I am putting together forums on bidding for small business so they can compete for those contracts.”
Bass said she hopes to continue to address protections for foster youth at the federal level. Bass has been an advocate for foster care programs throughout her tenure in the Assembly, and has worked on legislation that prevents teens in foster care from being released on their own at age 18 without any assistance.
“There are issues I have been working on for the past twenty years, and foster care is one of them,” Bass said. “When the drug epidemic exploded in the 1980s, it led to an increase of children going into the foster care system. There needs to be measures in place to help children in foster care transition to adulthood, and I want to take those concerns to Washington D.C.”
Bass will face Democratic candidates Felton Newell, a criminal prosecutor; Morris F. Griffin, a maintenance technician; and Nick Juan Mostert, an attorney and legislative analyst, in the June 8 primary election.
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