By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor
Representative Karen Bass (D-CA)
On November 27 during a long day of selecting who will lead Democrats in the for U.S. House for the next two years, members of the Congressional Black Caucus selected California Congresswoman Karen Bass to be the next Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. For the next two years, the CBC will be 55 members, the largest in history. Bass told NNPA after the vote that she wants to elevate individual members of the Caucus during her tenure. “One of my most significant goals I believe is to try to elevate the unbelievable accomplishments of individual members of the Congressional Black Caucus that I believe have not really received the attention and the acknowledgement that they deserve — that’s my agenda,” Bass told NNPA. The CBC will have more power within the Democratic Caucus in the U.S. House with five full chairmanships of top committees and also two members of the CBC, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), in leadership positions. Bass will be the 26th chair of the CBC, and the eighth woman to hold the position. Bass, 65, is a popular member of the CBC. She once served as the 67th Speaker of the California Assembly from 2008–2010 and is known for being tough and savvy. “From her days in the California General Assembly where she became the first African-American woman in U.S. history to lead a state legislative body, to her work in Congress to address both domestic and international issues affecting people of African descent, Congresswoman Bass has demonstrated tried and true leadership,” said outgoing CBC Chair Cedric Richmond. “From fighting for criminal justice reform and child welfare to affordable health care and a stronger economy for all, Karen has devoted her life to serving California families and African-American communities across the country. Karen is a proven leader who never backs down and always stands up for the values of inclusion and opportunity for all,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez in a statement after Bass was elected. Also elected were: Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH), 1st Vice Chair; Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), 2nd Vice Chair; Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA), Secretary; Congressman Donald McEachin (D-VA), Whip; and Congressman-elect Steven Horsford (D-NV), Parliamentarian.