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Compton Mayor Aja Brown Will Not Run For Reelection

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Compton Mayor Aja Brown thanked supporters in a video after announcing she would not run for reelection in 2021. (Facebook video screengrab)
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After more than seven years at the helm of the city of Compton, Mayor Aja Brown announced this week she will not run for reelection.

In 2013, the then-31-year old urban planner won a runoff election to become the youngest mayor in city history.

“It’s not something that I grew up thinking -- that I would ever be in politics,” Brown told Fox 11 last year.

“After working for cities for a decade, I recognized that you can push from the bottom up, or you can push from the top down for change,” she said. “And the vision that I had for systemic change for Compton, I knew that I had to be in a position of influence to make that happen.”

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In a statement and video posted to her Facebook page on Tuesday, Brown thanked supporters and said she will continue to serve until the end of her term on June 30. She also touted her work creating jobs and attracting new development to Compton, as well as investing in a gang intervention program that helped reduce crime to historic lows.

“Although my time of service as your mayor is coming to an end, my love and commitment to Compton is endless and burns stronger than ever,” Brown said.

She didn’t share specifics about her next career move, but hinted she would continue to be involved with the guaranteed income program she helped launch last year, called the “Compton Pledge.

Through a pilot initiative starting next month, 800 Compton residents will receive $300-$600 a month for two years, raised with private donations and administered by the city’s Community Development Corporation.

Brown’s exit from the political arena provides an opportunity for the five mayoral candidates who have been certified, as of the most recent report from the Compton City Clerk.

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They include: Anthony Perry, a substitute teacher who made an unsuccessful bid for Compton School Board last year; Christian Reynaga, vice-chair of the city’s Community Relations Commission; and James Hays Jr., a former city planning commissioner who ran a successful 2018 campaign to ban marijuana sales in the city.

Amy Jimenez and Janet Lopez Ortega also qualified for the ballot. LAist has reached out to all certified candidates for more information.

“I was extremely surprised Mayor Brown decided not to run again,” Hays said. He placed third four years ago behind Brown and former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley. This time around, Hays said, he plans to campaign on infrastructure and street improvements.

“Compton has to be a more attractive city, physically," Hays said. “And that ties in with attracting business and addressing unemployment.”

There’s still time for more candidates to gather the 20 verified signatures needed to jump in the race. Without an incumbent running, the filing deadline is extended until Feb. 1. The primary election is April 20. If no candidate exceeds 50% of the vote, there will be a runoff in June.

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Compton is home to more than 96,000 residents. More than two-thirds of the population is Latino, and about 30% is Black.

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