Thursday, February 28, 2008

California African American Woman Makes Political History

SACRAMENTO -- Karen Bass, the first black woman to lead either house of the state Legislature, promises to bring a cooperative spirit to meetings with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the other legislative leaders.

But the newly elected speaker of the Assembly said she's prepared to fight, too. Growing up with three older brothers taught her to stand her ground and already has helped her in the male-dominated Legislature.

Bass was elected Thursday to the position regarded as the second-most powerful in state government. As speaker, she is one of the so-called 'Big Five' - along with the governor and the three other legislative leaders of both parties - who often try to broker compromises on major policy issues.
Under Schwarzenegger's tenure, many of those meetings have convened in the smoking tent outside the governorBut the amiable Bass, 54, is a health advocate who said that if she's invited to the tent, the cigars will have to stay in their box.
"I'm going to have to make them come out of the smoking tent - 'cause that's going to make me sick," she quipped Thursday at a press conference. 's office. More on this story>>>>

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