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USC Alumna Elected As Compton’s Newest Mayor

Sara Newman |
June 6, 2013 | 6:11 p.m. PDT

News Editor

Aja Brown
Aja Brown

Yesterday in Compton's mayoral election, Aja Brown defeated Omar Bradley, the former Mayor of Compton with a resounding 64 percent of the vote. 

But 31-year-old Brown’s work has just begun. Last year Compton desperately struggled to stay out of bankruptcy while it simultaneously faced public image issues as Bradley, Mayor from 1993-2001, faced a corruption retrial of his own. 

In an interview with KPCC Southern California Public Radio, Brown addressed the anticipated struggles saying, “Compton has been on an island fiscally so I look forward to really collaborating in order to move our visions forward: to go back to basics, to implement strategic plans, capital improvements plans that really lay out the infrastructure improvements in our community.”

Brown graduated from USC’s School of Public Policy in 2005 with a Master’s Degree in urban planning. After that, she went on to work in Inglewood, Gardena, and Compton to improve economic development. 

She has led Compton’s economic revitalization by example. In 2011, Brown co-founded Compton-based Urban Vision Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit focused on empowering residents through education, collaboration, and access to capital.  

In her own words, Brown is “a strategic visionary focused on progress.” 

Rather than feeling intimidated by being such a young mayor, Brown said “that having new leadership that's fresh and young and even the gender change will definitely open up a new perspective I believe of the outside community of what Compton can be and what it will be in the future."

Her faith in the promise of youth is evident within the larger community context as well. Brown and her husband are youth directors of Faith Inspirational’s Explosive Youth Department where they mentor and coach the young members of the community.

"The youth are the key to true community revival,” Brown said.

Along with Brown’s election is the equally monumental election of Compton’s first Latino councilman, Issac Galvan. 

"Having a diverse council is necessary in order to make sure that all constituents are represented well," Brown said of her new colleague. "He's also young and I think he'll grow and be able to be a great asset to the community."

Keep your eye on the City of Compton in the coming months as she begins to implement citywide changes.  


Contact News Editor Sara Newman here and follow her on Twitter



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