Sen. Steve Bradford: “The Time is Right” to Run for Lieutenant Gov.

California State Sen. Steven Bradford, 64, who represents Compton, Carson, Inglewood, and other local jurisdictions, says the “time is right” and he is “up to the challenge” of becoming the next Lieutenant Governor of California.

Bradford, who serves as the Vice Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC), announced his bid for the second highest office in the state on April 22. The election will be held in 2026.

“I think it’s time we need someone in that office who is committed to doing the work. It’s not a glamorous job. It’s an in-the-weeds job but it’s a job that impacts us every day,” Bradford told California Black Media (CBM).

“I want to do the work that is in front of me,” said Bradford, who has served in the Legislature for 15 years as an Assemblymember and State Senator and will be term out at the end of this year.

“That’s what my career has been about: doing the work of the position I’ve been elected to do.”

In the Legislature, Bradford represents Senate District 35. It is home to nearly one million residents, and it includes the communities of Inglewood, Compton, Gardena, Torrance, Carson, Harbor Gateway, San Pedro, Hawthorne, and Lawndale in Los Angeles County.

Under California’s Constitution, the Lieutenant Governor serves as Acting Governor whenever the Governor is absent from the state, and automatically becomes Governor if a vacancy occurs. The Lieutenant Governor is the President of the California Senate and votes in case of a tie. Currently, Eleni Kounalakis is the current Lieutenant Governor. However, her term in office is set to expire in 2026 due to term limits.

California State Treasurer Fiona Ma has also declared her candidacy for the Lieutenant Governor’s office and has launched her campaign.

Bradford told CBM that he intends to visit every corner of the state to make the case that he is the person for the job.

“I have two years to touch all 58 counties. It’s not going to be an easy task, but I am up for it,” Bradford said. “We have to let the people know what I’ve done and what I plan to do as Lt. Governor. I am excited about the opportunity.”

Bradford said he is following in the footsteps of Mervyn M. Dymally, his mentor. Dymally was a trailblazing federal and state elected official representing Southern California. In 1974, Dymally made history by becoming California’s first Black Lieutenant Governor.

 A member of the Democratic party and the CLBC, Dymally served in the U.S. House of Representatives and both houses of the State Legislature. He passed away in October 2021 at the age of 86.

“More importantly, that’s why I am running,” Bradford said of Dymally. “I want the challenge and I want to pay homage to the individual who got me involved in politics — that’s the state’s first and only African American Lt. Governor, Mervyn Dymally,” Bradford said.

Over the years, Bradford has championed legislation aimed at addressing racial disparities and advocated for justice in housing and property rights, police reform, as well as making the case for reparations for the descendants of enslaved Black Americans.

In 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 796 authored by Bradford. It authorized the County of Los Angeles to return the beachfront property known as Bruce’s Beach to the family of the African American couple Willa and Charles Bruce, who purchased the Manhattan Beach site in 1912. However, the property was confiscated in the late 1920s through eminent domain.

Newsom also signed Bradford’s SB 2 into law. Also known as the Kenneth Ross Jr. Police Decertification Act of 2021, SB 2 was designed to increase law enforcement’s accountability that corrodes public respect and enforcement officers who commit serious misconduct and illegally violate a person’s civil rights.

SB 2 created a statewide decertification system to withdraw the certification of a peace officer in California following the conviction of serious crimes or termination from employment due to misconduct.

Bradford served two years on the first-in-the-nation Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.

Bradford and eight other members of the task force analyzed the institution of slavery and its continuous effects on the Black Americans.

Another bill Bradford authored, SB 1403 (formerly SB 490), proposes the establishment of a new state agency called the California American Freedman Affairs Agency (CAFAA). The agency, a direct recommendation of the reparations task force, would be responsible for setting up the infrastructure required to manage reparations activities as directed by the Legislature and Governor.

On May 16, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 5-2 to approve the SB 1403. It now moves to the Senate Floor for a consideration.

“Our state is experiencing a significant economic downturn. People across California are struggling. Housing costs are out of reach, homelessness is at crisis levels, the global threat of climate change, underfunded schools, and debt-inducing higher education costs,” Bradford said in an April 15 statement announcing his candidacy for lieutenant governor. “While California has led the nation on enacting smart, forward-thinking policies, the reality is that we must do more to solve our many challenges.”


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