Bass was born and raised in Los Angeles and got her start in politics as a student at Hamilton High School. She worked as a physician assistant and founded the multiethnic Community Coalition in South Los Angeles 20 years ago. It helps residents organize to improve their lives.
Her community ties and organizing skills helped her win her first bid for elected office, an Assembly seat in 2004. In 2008 she became the first African American woman elected speaker of the Assembly.
Though generally well liked and viewed as a consensus builder, she clashed with the governor over the budget process and stirred controversy when she gave raises to her staff in the middle of a fiscal crisis. An early supporter of Obama's campaign for president, she is close to the administration. She said her priorities include access to healthcare, jobs and environmental protection.
The other Democrats on the ballot are attorney/legislative analyst Nick Juan Mostert and maintenance technician Morris F. Griffin. Three Republicans are vying for their party's nomination: attorney James L. Andion, recall campaign organizer Phil Jennerjahn and parent/homemaker David C. Crowley II.