Who will replace L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl — a seasoned Sacramento legislator or a millennial West Hollywood activist?
Kuehl, who was elected in 2008, is the longest-serving elected official in Los Angeles history. If she retires Monday, she will be the first woman and only the second African-American to hold such a position.
But even as she nears the end of her second term, she was recently asked what would be her ideal successor.
Who Kuehl said she wanted should take the reins of the agency that oversees the nation’s transportation system if she were to be replaced.
And while this is a hypothetical exercise — Kuehl has not come close to losing a race for public office — her answer is intriguing.
“I’m not sure about millennials anymore,” she said in an interview. “I know I’m going to have to put my money where my mouth is.”
Kuehl, 78, grew up in the city of East Los Angeles and graduated from Occidental High School in 1946. She attended UCLA, where she earned a bachelor’s degree and then went on to Stanford Law School, graduating in 1957.
She served as a young district attorney for Los Angeles County, earning accolades for her work as an appointed prosecutor. She also became involved in civil rights, supporting legislation to grant voting rights to felons.
Kuehl’s first husband was Paul Johnson, a civil rights attorney. They were married for 32 years and had two daughters together. They later divorced.
She and her first husband, Paul Johnson, were married for 32 years and have two daughters together.
“I am deeply ashamed for the pain he has caused us,” Kuehl said in an email. “I am deeply sorry for all the things I have caused my daughters.” (Courtesy of Kuehl)
After law school, Kuehl was elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (1978-1992), becoming the first African-American female Supervisor and one of the first