Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, has emerged as a contender to be Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick, according to multiple published reports.
Biden, who promised he would pick a woman for the spot during a Democratic primary debate in March, has said he will make his decision in the first week of August.
Speculation by political analysts has focused on a handful of names, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Bass.
Bass, 66, chairs the Congressional Black Caucus. She has served in Congress since 2011, first in the 33rd Congressional District and then the 37th Congressional District after a 2012 redistricting. The district stretches from Westwood to South Los Angeles.
Bass is also a former speaker of the California Assembly, where she served for six years. She has been active in politics and community organizing since she was a teenager, volunteering for Robert Kennedy’s doomed 1968 presidential campaign at age 14.
Among Bass’ priorities in Congress have been criminal justice reform, child welfare and working to combat famine in Africa.
She was asked about her possible selection for the VP spot on CNN last week, but declined to directly address it.
“I want to do whatever the vice president needs … if he wants me to go out and safely walk precincts, I would be happy to do that,” Bass told the network. “I am so concerned about where our country is at at this point in time … and I’m willing to serve my country in whatever way I am called upon.”
Although Biden has not revealed who is on his short list, Harris’ name showed up on a notepad the former vice president was holding during his news conference on Tuesday, leading to speculation that he had decided to pick California’s junior senator. As is customary in such cases, a flurry of news reports came out containing negative quotes about Harris.
Bass was facing a similar situation this weekend, with a few tweets attacking her for a 2010 speech she gave at the grand opening of the Scientology building at 4810 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles.
The congresswoman took to Twitter on Saturday to address the issue herself.
“Just so you all know, I proudly worship at First New Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in South LA,” Bass wrote. “Ten years ago, I attended a new building opening in my district and spoke to what I think all of us believe in — respect for one another’s views, to treat all people with respect, and to fight against oppression wherever we find it. I found an area of agreement in their beliefs — where all people, of whatever race, color, or creed are created with equal rights, which is what my remarks were about.
“Since then, published first-hand accounts in books, interviews and documents have exposed the group. Everyone is no aware of the allegations against Scientology. Back in 2010, I attended the event knowing I was going to address a group of people with beliefs very different than my own, and spoke briefly about things I think most of us agree with, and on those things — respect for different views, equality, and fighting oppression — my views have not changed.”
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