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Karen Bass to be sworn in as L.A. mayor by Vice President Kamala Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris will swear in Karen Bass as the 43rd mayor of Los Angeles on Sunday.

The pairing is freighted with historical significance: In 2020, Harris became the first Black woman and first South Asian woman to be elected vice president. Last month, Bass became the first Black woman to be elected mayor of L.A.

Bass asked the vice president to administer the oath of office as a nod to their status as two of California’s most powerful Black women, according to a Harris aide. Harris was honored to be asked, the aide added.

Harris, who was elected statewide three times and keeps her residence in L.A., will administer the oath of office at the inauguration ceremony Sunday. The ceremony, set to take place on the steps of City Hall, will include musical and cultural performances, according to Bass spokesperson Zach Seidl. The vice president will not deliver remarks, a Harris aide said.

Harris and President Biden endorsed Bass in August, after she won the June primary by 7 percentage points over her rival, billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso. Former President Obama also threw his support behind Bass shortly before the November election. Bass, 69, a six-term congresswoman who was on Biden’s short list of potential running mates, drew more votes than any mayoral candidate in Los Angeles’ history.

The vice president is not known to have a close relationship with Bass, but the two politicians worked together on policing issues when Harris was in the Senate.

Harris appeared twice with the congresswoman on the campaign trail, including at an event focused on the fight over reproductive rights after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade and at a political rally on the eve of the election.

The White House has maintained close relations with L.A.’s mayor-elect and outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti, who served as Biden’s national co-chair of his 2020 presidential campaign and whose confirmation as ambassador to India remains uncertain. The mayor has been caught up in controversy about what he knew about sexual harassment allegations against aide Rick Jacobs.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters last month that confirming Garcetti was an administration priority during the lame-duck session of Congress. A vote on the appointment has yet to be scheduled.

The president also waded into local politics amid the scandal surrounding a racist audio recording involving three Los Angeles City Council members.

California has long been critical to Democratic presidents, and Bass would be a powerful ally in a potential 2024 showdown should Biden decide not to run for a second term. Gov. Gavin Newsom has dismissed rumors that he’s planning a White House bid despite taking a more prominent role on the national stage in recent months.

The Bass campaign said in a statement that the mayor-elect would hold the inaugural ceremony Sunday “to make it easier for Angelenos to attend and to ensure her first day as mayor is dedicated to bringing unhoused Angelenos inside and making our city safer and more livable for all.”

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