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Kamala Harris to swear in Karen Bass as first female mayor of Los Angeles

<i>Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News/Getty Images</i><br/>Vice President Kamala Harris (middle) and second gentleman Doug Emhoff (left) join Karen Bass as she campaigns at UCLA in Los Angeles on November 7.
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Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News/Getty Images
Vice President Kamala Harris (middle) and second gentleman Doug Emhoff (left) join Karen Bass as she campaigns at UCLA in Los Angeles on November 7.

By Shania Shelton and Maeve Reston, CNN

Vice President Kamala Harris will swear in Karen Bass as the 43rd mayor of Los Angeles in an inauguration ceremony on Sunday in a meeting of two Democratic women who have broken barriers in politics.

Bass will make history as the first female mayor of Los Angeles, also making her the first woman of color to hold the job. Harris, just the second-ever Black female US senator, made history when she became the first female, first Black and first South Asian person to serve as vice president.

Bass, who will succeed term-limited Mayor Eric Garcetti, will begin her mayoral term on December 12. When she takes office, the four largest cities in the US will all have Black mayors — that includes Eric Adams of New York City, Lori Lightfoot of Chicago and Sylvester Turner of Houston.

Bass, who was elected to the California state Assembly in 2004, made history some four years later as the first Black woman to serve as speaker of any state legislature.

Bass alluded to her history of firsts shortly after winning her race when she told reporters that the accomplishment of becoming the first female mayor of Los Angeles was still “sinking in.”

“When you’re in a position like this — and I was in a similar position when I was sworn in as speaker — it means that you have extra responsibility. You always have to make sure that you maintain excellence in every step of the way,” Bass said. “The path that you go is laying the foundation for those that come behind you.”

After her victory, Bass promised to solve the homelessness crisis in the nation’s second-largest city.

“She is holding her inaugural ceremony on Sunday to make it easier for Angelenos to attend and to ensure her first day as mayor is dedicated to bringing unhoused Angelenos inside and making our city safer and more livable for all,” the mayor-elect’s office said in a statement announcing the ceremony.

The six-term congresswoman, who currently represents South and West Los Angeles, defeated real estate developer Rick Caruso in the general election last month. Caruso had spent more than $104 million — outspending his opponent by more than 11-to-1.

During her campaign, Bass leaned into her experience bringing together Black and Latino community organizers in South Los Angeles in the early 1990s to address the root causes of crime and the crack epidemic. She was able to put together a winning coalition of Black voters in South Los Angeles and White progressives on the city’s west side to help overcome Caruso’s spending.

The mayor-elect began her career as a physician assistant in the emergency room in Los Angeles County.

Joe Biden had vetted Bass, the then-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, to be his running mate in 2020 as she helped lead the negotiations on legislation to create greater police accountability following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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