Karen Bass
**FILE** Rep. Karen Bass (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) will serve as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 116th Congress, for which caucus members will chair five full House committees and at least 28 House subcommittees.

Bass, 65, the first-ever African-American woman to become speaker of any state legislature in the United States, was elected as CBC chair Tuesday.

The caucus, which was established in 1971 to bring black members of the Congress together, will also add nine new representatives, growing their numbers to 55 — the first time the organization will have more than 50 members.

During her time as speaker of the California State Assembly, California faced its worst economic recession since the Great Depression. However, Bass worked with then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican colleagues such as then-California state Sen. and former Senate Republican Leader Darrell Steinberg to pass a budget that eventually earned her the 2010 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for her bipartisan negotiating efforts.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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