Steven Bradford brings a lifetime of experience to the California State Senate. In over two decades of public service – first as a Gardena City Councilman, then as a State Assemblyman and now as a State Senator - Bradford has proven himself to be a great citizen activist. He views himself as a public servant and not a politician. Public service was instilled in him by his parents who taught him the value of giving back to the community.
Prior to his service in local and state government, Bradford was a Public Affairs Manager for Southern California Edison, as District Director for the late Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald and as Program Director for the LA Conservation Corps.
He made history when he became the first African American elected to the Gardena City Council. Over the 12 years that he served on the City Council, he presided over robust job and economic growth, along with a balanced budget for the city. When he was elected to the Council, the City of Gardena was on the brink of bankruptcy and was $27 million in debt. There was no money in the bank and employees had not been given raises in over seven years. By the time he left Gardena’s City Council, they had eliminated the debt, had $8.5 million in reserve, gave employees raises without raising taxes or cutting services, and secured millions of federal dollars for various improvement projects for North Gardena- something that had never happened prior to him being elected to the Council. As a former solid waste director, he brought those skills to bear in helping negotiate some of the lowest trash rates in the county while serving as a City of Gardena councilmember.
Bradford was elected to the 51st State Assembly District in a Special Election in 2009, reelected in 2010, and reelected again in 2012, but this time to the newly created 62nd District. While in the Assembly, he rose to prominence by becoming Chair of the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce, which had jurisdiction over electricity, natural gas, telecommunications, private water corporations and other issues related to commerce. In his role as chair, Bradford garnered national attention by presiding over hearings investigating devastating power outages across California.
In 2013, Assembly Speaker John Perez named Bradford Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color. Under his leadership, the committee examined many institutional injustices that plague young Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific Islander males in California, which he continues to address in the Senate. As a result of his work, Bradford was invited to the White House to attend President Barack Obama’s announcement of “My Brother’s Keeper,” a national initiative that reduces the opportunity gap faced by boys and men of color, continuing the efforts of Bradford’s Committee.
As a member of the Assembly, Bradford had 38 bills signed into law by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., including AB 651 (Expungement), AB 2634 (Civil Rights), AB 217 (Low-Income Solar), AB 128 (Reclassify LA World Airport Police), and the Jackie Robinson Assembly Resolution, HR 24.
In Senator Bradford’s first year in the State Senate in 2017 he had 11 bills signed into law by Governor Brown. These laws improved public safety, transportation, worker’s compensation, the environment, and education. In addition to the legislative accomplishments, Bradford secured $11.3 million in the state budget for Compton Community College and helped secure a $35 million grant to Watts Rising for affordable housing, green space, and local workforce development. This legislative session, Bradford authored 21 measures making their way through the legislative process. He has served as Chair of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and was appointed Chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee.
In his free time, you will often find him on the golf course. He started a Jr. Golf program while on the city council. His favorite community event is the Gardena Jazz Festival, where he serves as the festival’s Founder and Chair. The festival has survived 16 years and has become one of the most popular events in the South Bay. Bradford grew up in Gardena, where he resides to this day. He attended San Diego State University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at California State University, Dominguez Hills, where he currently serves on the board of the Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political and Economic Institute, a non-partisan public policy think tank.