Veteran L.A. politicians Wesson, Mitchell vie for seat on powerful Board of Supervisors

Election guide
Herb Wesson and Holly Mitchell are seen in undated photo. (Los Angeles Times)

Herb Wesson and Holly Mitchell are seen in undated photo. (Los Angeles Times)

Two veteran Los Angeles politicians are fighting for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, representing the 2nd District.

Longtime L.A. Councilman Herb J. Wesson Jr. earned 29.9% of the vote in the seven-candidate primary in March, while state Sen. Holly Mitchell was close behind with 29%.

It’s the only Board of Supervisors seat on the ballot in L.A. County, with Janice Hahn having easily won her 4th District primary.

Herb Wesson and Holly Mitchell are seen in undated photo. (Los Angeles Times)
Herb Wesson and Holly Mitchell are seen in undated photo. (Los Angeles Times)

About the district:

It includes most of South L.A.; plus Inglewood, Compton and Lynwood; the South Bay cities of Carson, Gardena, Hawthorne and Lawndale; Culver City; and parts of downtown L.A. A full list of communities and a map is here.

About the race:

The district’s current supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, has termed out and is himself hoping for a return to the L.A. City Council. The 2nd District seat on the Board of Supervisors has been held by a Black politician since 1992.

The five-member board collectively represents 10 million people and oversees an annual budget of over $30 billion that pays for the county’s Sheriff’s Department, jails and hospitals, and social services. In the 2nd District race, the dominant issues include homelessness, rising housing prices and gentrification, as the district has the largest homeless population in the county. Police reform and support from law enforcement have also been contentious themes in the campaign.

About Herb Wesson:

Wesson, 68, originally from Ohio, came to Los Angeles in his early 20s with very little, the Los Angeles Times reported.

He found politics and became chief of staff to L.A. City Councilman Nate Holden and county Supervisor Yvonne Burke before, in 1998, being elected to state Assembly, representing the 47th District. His colleagues elected him Assembly speaker for two years — making him the second Black legislator to hold that role.

He ran for L.A. City Council in 2005, and won overwhelmingly in the council’s 10th District, which covers parts of Central and South L.A. He was elected council president repeatedly, serving in the role from 2012 until January, when he stepped down to focus on his supervisor campaign.

He holds a degree in history from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. 

Here is more about what Wesson says his priorities are, and here is a list of his endorsements.

About Holly Mitchell:

Mitchell, 56, a third-generation Angeleno and graduate of UC Riverside, represents the 30th State Senate District, which overlaps with part of the supervisorial district she’s seeking to represent.

First elected to the state Legislature in 2010, she previously represented the 26th Senate District, as well as the 54th Assembly District. In 2016, Mitchell became the first African American to chair the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.

She gained national attention for her 2019 bill outlawing discrimination based on hairstyle, meant to protect Black employees with natural hair.

Her earlier career included a seven-year stint as CEO of Crystal Stairs, a child-focused nonprofit. Before that, was an aide to then-state Sen. Diane Watson. She also worked for the Western Center for Law and Poverty.

Here is more about where Mitchell says she stands on the issues, and here is a list of her endorsements.

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