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Endorsement: Sydney Kamlager for Congress

State Sen. Sydney Kamlager is one of seven people running for the congressional seat held by Rep. Karen Bass, who is running for mayor of Los Angeles.
(Leroy Hamilton)

With Rep. Karen Bass leaving the U.S. House in the hopes of becoming the next mayor of Los Angeles, voters must pick someone new to represent the areas of Culver City, Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills and South Los Angeles in Congress.

Five Democrats and two Republicans are vying for the 37th Congressional District in the June 7 primary. We believe the best choice is Democratic state Sen. Sydney Kamlager. Her experience negotiating legislation, parsing the state budget and navigating Sacramento’s political labyrinth have prepared her for the rigors of Washington, D.C.

Kamlager is an ambitious legislator whose political career has advanced with remarkable speed. Elected to the Los Angeles Community College District in 2015, she won a seat in the state Assembly in 2018 and then jumped to the state Senate last year in a special election to replace Holly Mitchell, who had been elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. She has championed criminal justice reform efforts, including a law to limit the use of gang enhancements and a proposed constitutional amendment to end the use of cheap prison labor, which some view as a vestige of slavery. She’s also taken on fights to improve healthcare for homeless people and secure funding for affordable housing in Los Angeles.

Here are the L.A. Times’ editorial board endorsements for elected offices in Los Angeles city and county, LAUSD, superior court, statewide offices, the state legislature and U.S. House and Senate seats.

In addition to her policy know-how, Kamlager has the rare ability to communicate powerfully in formal testimony as well as authentically to her constituents, often with a sense of humor in quirky videos about what she’s up to in the state Capitol (such as this one in which she explains the state budget process with paper dolls).

Kamlager has powerful endorsements from current House Democrats. Among them: Bass, whom she hopes to replace; Rep. Pramila Jayapal, leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; and Rep. Adam B. Schiff, who is on the panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection and managed the first impeachment of President Trump.

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In Congress, Kamlager hopes to expand voting rights, protect abortion rights and continue working on criminal justice reform.

Another strong candidate in this race is Daniel Lee, a progressive Democrat who became Culver City’s first Black city council member when he was elected in 2018. Last year, the city issued a formal apology for its racist history as a “sundown town” and is now developing a proposal for reparations. Lee has pushed for more affordable housing and supported an important — but controversial — new law that allows duplexes in residential neighborhoods. He says addressing the climate crisis would be his top priority in Congress.

Lee strikes us as a deep thinker with strong convictions who is more progressive than Kamlager on some issues. But she has both the policy skills and the political finesse that are necessary to be effective in the U.S. House. That’s why The Times endorses Sydney Kamlager for Congress.

Read more endorsements at: latimes.com/endorsements.


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