Compton Mayor Aja Brown announced today that she will not seek reelection for a third term in the office she has held since 2013. She will serve until her term ends on June 30, and then hand over power to a new mayor.
“I look forward to providing a smooth and comprehensive transition, including welcoming the next mayor this summer, and sharing the infrastructure we built to aid in their success,” Brown wrote in a statement to the press regarding her decision. “My hope is that Compton will serve as a model–demonstrating that the transition of elected leadership does not have to be contentious or a result of defeat.”
So far, three people have been certified as candidates to become the next mayor: Cristian Reynaga, Amy Jimenez, and Janet Lopez Ortega. Another four individuals have submitted initial filings with the city clerk. The incumbent’s choice to not run triggered an additional five-day period for any additional filings, the Los Angeles Sentinel reports, so a surprise hat could yet be thrown into the ring.
Just 31 years old when she was elected, Brown was the youngest mayor in city history–and leaving the mayor’s office will not mean she’s retiring from public life entirely.
“I am going to be transitioning from serving as mayor to continue serving our city in what I believe will be an even greater way,” she wrote in today’s announcement. “I’ve endeavored to spearhead an impact vehicle designed to empower our community. To leverage direct investment, democratize access to capital, and drive local economic growth in our city.”
While she did not explicitly say what her next project will be, in her statement she committed to staying in Compton, and highlighted her work raising millions of dollars to back Compton Pledge, a universal basic income initiative for which she has received national media attention.
“Government was never designed to meet every need in a community. It’s designed to deliver basic services,” Brown stated. “I recognize that in order for our community to reach our full potential, we must cultivate institutions that currently do not exist in our community; and quite frankly, they will not launch themselves.”
When she delivers her State of the City Address next month, Brown says she will be making a kind of closing argument wrapping up the accomplishments of her administration–and sharing a vision for Compton’s future that she hopes whoever steps into her shoes next will share.
“This journey began with a bold step of faith, a clear vision and with a firm personal conviction that elected positions don’t belong to the official, they belong to the people. We’re here to serve, not to be served,” Brown wrote. “Now, it’s time for the next generation to take the reins and continue our mission of lifting and building our city, a Compton united, strong and abounding with opportunities.”
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