Democrat Karen Bass defeated Republican candidate Rick Caruso to become the next mayor of Los Angeles on Wednesday. She created history by becoming the first Black woman to hold the post.

Bass had gotten nearly 47,000 votes, with more than 70% of the vote tallied. She received the news of her victory via an aide while working in her congressional office in Los Angeles. Caruso conceded the race, calling the mayor-elect to offer his congratulations.

“The people of Los Angeles have sent a clear message: it is time for change and it is time for urgency,” Bass said in a statement. “I ran for mayor to urgently confront the crises our hometown faces. Tonight, 40,000 Angelenos will sleep without a home — and five will not wake up. Crime is increasing and families are being priced out of their neighborhoods. This must change.”

Who is Karen Bass?

Karen Ruth Bass was born in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School in 1971.  While in middle school, Bass began volunteering for Bobby Kennedy’s presidential campaign.

She went on to study philosophy at San Diego State University, and graduated from the USC Keck School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program.

She has been serving as the representative for California’s 37th congressional district since 2011. She previously served for six years in the California State Assembly, the last two as speaker.

Bass was elected chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) for the 116th Congress, 2019-2021. She also chairs the United States House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, and the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

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 for her leadership during the Great Recession in 2010.