Ridley-Thomas has said he has the qualifications for the job. "I've been a teacher, so I know how to connect with people, I know how to listen to people, and as a legislator, I understand policy, and so there's a lot of factors that have contributed to my being able to work effectively and cause people to feel comfortable about my candidacy, my candidacy and my leadership," he said.
Supporters of Ridley-Thomas were watching returns in Century City Tuesday night when the race was called.
Earlier in the evening, Parks was greeted warmly by his supporters at his campaign headquarters in the Crenshaw district. While the early numbers were not positive for him by 10 p.m., Parks remained upbeat and optimistic.
Ridley-Thomas outspent Parks by a large margin during the campaign, using a huge war chest funded largely by the County Labor Federation and public employee unions. But despite the disadvantage, Parks was confident.
Both candidates listed healthcare as a number-one issue. Both said they'd like to bring adequate healthcare to the residents of the 2nd District, and both say they want to reinstate Martin Luther King Drew Medical Center as a fully functioning hospital.
King-Drew's teaching hospital and emergency facilities were shuttered after critical audits uncovered sub-standard care. Ridley-Thomas proposes forming a public-private partnership to take over and run it.
"I am duty-bound to make sure that the Martin Luther King Medical Center is reopened with a new set of expectations, a new set of standards," Mark Ridley-Thomas said.
Ridley-Thomas will represent 2 million people in a sprawling district that stretches from Carson and Gardena up to Culver City through West and South L.A.
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