Who will replace L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl — a seasoned Sacramento legislator or a millennial West Hollywood activist?
Kuehl, 72, is a lifelong Democrat and has been a lifelong member of the U.S. House, serving in the House of Representatives from 1974 to 1983. Today’s California Democrats don’t see her as such a traditional Democrat. Kuehl is a liberal who has become a liberal activist who has run for office with her liberal values on her side. That’s how the political left is defined these days.
Kuehl is also one of the few women to run for county supervisor in Sacramento County, and that’s unusual. She’s not a “party girl,” as former Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was last year — she’s a professional woman who is making a career out of being a public servant.
The one thing Kuehl could never be is a typical politician. She ran for office on a platform of progressive ideals. When she ran for a county supervisor seat, her only concern was taking away the power that the current supervisor, L.A. County Board of Supervisors President Herb Wesson, had been using to stifle the growth of downtown L.A. for over a century.
Kuehl, a staunch progressive, was elected to the California State Assembly in 1973 and served there until she won her congressional seat in 1978. She lost her 1990 bid for a second term in the Assembly to Republican Steve Lacey, but was elected to the California State Senate in 1996. Despite losing two Senate races in a row to Republican Dan Lungren and Republican John Williams, she never lost her seat to a Republican. A Democrat from California’s 49th congressional district, she never faced a Republican in the general election.
Kuehl’s political life began with activism and activism remains her life-blood. She took her first political action on the streets of Seattle when she was a teenager. She got arrested for civil disobedience at the University of Washington. In 1975, she participated in the first