California Democratic Rep. Karen Bass is reportedly a top contender to be chosen as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate.
Here are the first four facts you need to know about her:
1. Karen Bass led House Democrats’ charge to ‘reform’ policing practices
The bill aimed to crack down on the use of perceived excessive force and chokeholds in policing.
Although the misuse of chokehold techniques can have deadly consequences, critics of the bill say that while chokeholds are rarely needed, they are at times necessary in order to subdue suspects who pose serious threats to police officers’ safety in intense situations.
Following the string of protests (many of which devolved into riots) across the country in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Bass’ status as a leader on the police reform bill could earn her the support of BLM organizers and supporters.
2. Karen Bass praised Fidel Castro
Following Castro’s passing in 2016, Bass issued a statement referring to Castro as “Comandante en Jefe,” or “Commander in Chief.
Florida Democrats were especially alarmed by Bass’ statements, given that Florida’s Cuban population has a generally negative view of Castro and his communist regime.
“The comments are troubling. It shows a lack of understanding about what the Castro regime was about. So I have to learn more about her position and perspective on Fidel Castro,” Miami state Rep. Javier Fernandez told Politico last month.
Bass has since tried to distance herself from her past remarks, saying this week on MSNBC that her comments following Castro’s death are “certainly something that I would not say again,” according to the Washington Examiner.
3. Karen Bass is a Los Angeles representative
As the representative for California’s 37th Congressional District, Bass could bring to the ticket all of the negative connotations that come with being a left-wing politician in the state of California.
Considering the state is known for its extremely progressive policies and homelessness crisis, Bass’ association with California may not be a positive for Biden come November, as the San Francisco Chronicle noted in an article published Tuesday.
“California will be on the ballot, too, with all the stereotypes about the state — some truer than others — on display for the next three months,” the article pointed out, arguing that if either California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris or Bass is chosen to be Biden’s running mate, the state’s many issues will become a focus of attack for Republicans.
California’s homelessness crisis has gotten so out of hand that managing the excess human waste produced by the homeless population has become an environmental issue.
4. Karen Bass is chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus
Bass serves as chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Biden has made it clear that he is strongly considering a woman of color to be his vice president. As chairwoman of the CBC, Bass more than meets his qualifications for diversity and progressive street credit.
The group is currently tackling the supposed prevalence of “systemic racism” and how it impacts American life.
“The difference is this time CBC members will be supported by a national movement that is beginning to penetrate into the consciousness of Americans that systemic racism first of all exists and how the manifestation of systemic racism impacts not just the lives of black people but the entire nation,” Bass said recently, according to Roll Call.
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