Congressmember Karen Bass Honors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas

Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas was recognized for his work in public service by his longtime friend and ally Congressmember Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) this week. Speaking about him on the floor of the House of Representatives, Congressmember Bass lauded Chairman Ridley-Thomas for his efforts to increase civic participation among his constituents as well as encouraging neighborhood-based engagement in decision making.  Chairman Ridley-Thomas attended an event earlier in the week with Congressmember Bass at the Doubletree Hotel in Culver City where nearly 300 constituents gave him a standing ovation for his decades of service and his current position as Chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.  “He has devoted his life to the betterment of the people of Los Angeles County and has used his leadership to bring about effective change in Los Angeles County,” said Bass in the statement. “He has left an indelible mark on Los Angeles, and continues to inspire my work in Congress and people of Los Angeles.”

Here is the text:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the work of a distinguished public servant from Los Angeles, Mr. Mark Ridley-Thomas. In 2008, Mr. Ridley-Thomas was overwhelmingly elected as the first African American man to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. This past November, Mr. Ridley-Thomas’ leadership was further acknowledged and he was unanimously approved by the Board to become the first African American man to chair the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

First elected to public office over twenty years ago, Mr. Ridley-Thomas served with distinction on the Los Angeles City Council for nearly a dozen years. He later served two terms in the California State Assembly, where he chaired the Assembly Democratic Caucus. Thereafter, he served as a California State Senator where he chaired the Legislative Black Caucus and initiated unprecedented levels of cooperation and collaboration between the Black, Latino, and Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucuses.

Mr. Ridley-Thomas is widely regarded for uniting civic engagement and government decision-making. In an effort to encourage neighborhood-based advocacy and citizen leadership, Mr. Ridley-Thomas established the Empowerment Congress which served as a model and predecessor for the citywide Neighborhood Councils. Through education, engagement, and empowerment, Mr. Ridley-Thomas equipped and inspired his constituents to confront prevailing racial and economic disparities and improve community and public policy outcomes.

Throughout his life, Mr. Ridley-Thomas has shown a dedication and passion for improving the health and wellness of communities by inspiring participatory engagement to provoke change. After earning a baccalaureate degree in Social Relations and a master’s degree in Religious Studies, he further went on to receive his Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the University of Southern California focusing on Social Criticism and Social Change. He has devoted his life to the betterment of the people of Los Angeles County and has used his leadership to bring about effective change in Los Angeles County.


In addition to this exemplary public service, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas is deeply committed to his roles as father and husband. His wife Avis and twin sons, Sebastian and Sinclair, are shining examples of love and inspiration that Mr. Ridley-Thomas derives from his family and graciously shares with the community.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to have called Mr. Mark Ridley-Thomas a friend and partner in the fight for social and economic justice. He has left an indelible mark on Los Angeles, and continues to inspire my work in Congress and people of Los Angeles. It is a great honor to recognize his work here on the floor today.