After days of vote counting, CSUDH alumni Karen Bass and Rex Richardson have scored major victories in a pair of closely-watched mayoral races in Los Angeles and Long Beach, respectively. Their wins clearly demonstrate how Toros have become important players in Southern California politics—when they take office, CSUDH alumni will hold mayorships in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Carson, Compton, and Hawthorne.
Bass (BS, Health Science, ’90) defeated billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso to win the Los Angeles mayor’s race, and had built an “insurmountable lead” of 47,000 votes when the race was called in her favor on Wednesday, Nov. 16. When sworn into office, she will become Los Angeles’ first woman mayor. Bass had placed first in the primary election held in June, but the race was close enough that it took over a week to discover the voters’ ultimate verdict.
In a statement announcing her win, Bass said, “The people of Los Angeles have sent a clear message: it is time for change and it is time for urgency. I am honored and humbled that the people have chosen me to be the next Mayor of Los Angeles.”
“Los Angeles is the greatest city on earth,” she continued. “I know, if we come together, hold each other accountable, and focus on the best of who we are and what we can achieve, we can create better neighborhoods today and a better future for our children. We will get big things done together.”
In Long Beach, current Vice Mayor Richardson (BA, Philosophy, ’20) was leading fellow Long Beach City Council member Suzie Price by a margin of 55 percent to 44 percent when Price conceded the race on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Like Bass, Richardson had placed first in the June primary, and was able to maintain that momentum through election day. Richardson will become Long Beach’s first Black mayor.
Richardson reacted to his win by saying, ““As Long Beach’s next mayor, I will focus on tackling our city’s biggest challenges and working daily to make city hall more responsive to residents’ needs. I look forward to getting started with our transition.”
“Not often do you hear stories like mine, where someone can come here as a young man, become the youngest city council member, become the youngest vice mayor … and break barriers as the first African American mayor. Long Beach is a special city like that.”
Richardson unveiled the members of his transition team on Wednesday, a group of local leaders and dignitaries which includes CSUDH President Thomas A. Parham. “Mayor-elect Richardson is a hard-working and dedicated public servant of tremendous integrity and character,” said Parham. “I am honored to be invited and look forward to serving on the mayor-elect’s transition team. Education needs to be at the table, and I am delighted to see that the mayor-elect recognizes that the hope of any community partially rests with the investments made in the educational institutions that serve the people.”
Both Bass and Richardson will be sworn into their new offices in December.
In other Toro election news, alumna Khaleah Bradshaw (BA, ’10, MA, ’12) won her election to remain city clerk for the City of Carson.