LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who led the city from 2005 to 2013, endorsed Rep. Karen Bass for mayor Friday.
"In the 48 years I have known Karen Bass, she's always been a person of courage and conviction, someone who people like and respect," he said.
"I have lived here my entire life. I have never seen this city so dirty, so rudderless. Homeless everywhere, crime going up, and there just seems to be a lack of urgency, a lack of any kind of all-hands-on-deck approach to these crises ... Karen has always been a coalition builder," he added.
Bass announced her run for mayor on Sept. 27 and made addressing homelessness a focus of her campaign. She emphasizes the need to address "the root causes" of the crisis, including affordable housing, health care, job training, mental health services and drug and alcohol counseling.
"It means so much to receive this endorsement (from Villaraigosa)," Bass said. "Mayor Villaraigosa and I have a long history of building coalitions together and confronting crises in our community. This moment is no different."
Bass, D-Los Angeles, has announced dozens of endorsements since announcing her run for mayor, including U.S. Congress members, LA City Council members and LA County supervisors.
Local government endorsements include Los Angeles councilmen Mike Bonin, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and Mark Ridley-Thomas, as well as LA County supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Holly Mitchell. Ridley-Thomas' endorsement was removed from Bass' campaign website following his federal indictment on conspiracy and bribery charges Wednesday.
Bass joined a field of several high-profile candidates for mayor, who include City Councilmen Joe Buscaino and Kevin de Leon, City Attorney Mike Feuer, Central City Association of Los Angeles President and CEO Jessica Lall and businessman Mel Wilson.
Bass would be Los Angeles' first female mayor and only the second Black mayor, after Mayor Tom Bradley, who led the city from 1973 to 1993.
The 67-year-old Bass represents the 37th Congressional District, which encompasses Los Angeles neighborhoods west and southwest of downtown, including Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills, Miracle Mile, Pico-Robertson, Century City, Cheviot Hills, West Los Angeles, Mar Vista and parts of Westwood, as well as Culver City and Inglewood.
Bass was a member of the state Assembly from 2004-10, serving as its speaker from 2008-10.
The primary for the 2022 Los Angeles mayoral election will take place on June 7, with the top two finishers squaring off in the election on Nov. 8.