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The Religious Affiliation of Los Angeles Mayor
James Hahn

Los Angeles mayor James Hahn is a life-long member of the Redondo Beach Church of Christ. Hahn graduated from Pepperdine University, a Church of Christ college.

From: "Pepperdine Alumnus James K. Hahn Elected Mayor of Los Angeles" (press release), June 2001 (http://www.pepperdine.edu/pr/releases/2001/june/hahn.htm; viewed 27 September 2005):

In one of the closest mayoral races in the history of Los Angeles, Pepperdine alumnus James Kenneth Hahn defeated Antonio Villaraigosa on Tuesday, June 5, to become Mayor of the nation's second largest city.

A magna cum laude graduate of Pepperdine's Seaver College in 1972, Hahn graduated from Pepperdine's School of Law in 1975. The newly elected mayor and former four-term Los Angeles city attorney was honored as the School of Law's Distinguished Alumnus in 1994. While at Seaver College, he assisted in the development of a paralegal program for the Family Law Center of the Legal Aid Society. During law school, he clerked for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

The son of long-time Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, the younger Hahn has continued a family tradition of public service. His uncle, Gordon Hahn, served as a Los Angeles City council member; his uncle, John Hahn, was assistant county clerk; and his cousin, Dale Hahn, is a superior court judge in San Mateo County. And Tuesday, his sister, Janice Hahn, was elected to the Los Angeles City Council District 15.

Hahn was appointed a deputy city attorney for Los Angeles in 1975, where he served as a city prosecutor for more than four years. He was in private practice from 1979 until elected as Los Angeles city controller in 1981. As the city's fifth controller, he was also the youngest ever elected to the office.

Hahn was sworn in as the Los Angeles city attorney in 1985. He was re-elected in 1997 to his fourth term. With 358 attorneys, and a support staff of 346, the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office is one of the largest municipal law offices in the nation and has branch offices in 21 locations citywide.

The new Mayor espouses certain themes that are interwoven into Pepperdine's approach to higher education -- especially the idea of servant leadership: "to lead, one must first learn to serve," he said.

In a Los Angeles Times interview during the recent campaign, Hahn was quoted as saying, "I think it's about making sure that you live your life, public or private, according to a set of values you believe in . . . that you don't lie, you don't cheat, that you understand that holding public office is a public trust."

A lifelong member of the Redondo Beach Church of Christ, he added, "(Service is) an opportunity to live out, I think, the principles of Christianity -- caring for your neighbor. That is central to my idea of Christianity, the idea of helping those who are less fortunate."

The late Kenny Hahn, the much beloved L.A. county supervisor who was baptized in the Church of Christ in 1942, taught his children how tangible social action translates into service to God. Stranded motorists on L.A.'s infamous freeways motivated Supervisor Hahn to spearhead freeway call boxes. Appalling conditions for incarcerated women led Hahn to create a commission that resulted in reforms and the opening of Sybil Brand Women's Prison. Kenny Hahn approached his public life as more than the people's work -- he viewed it as God's work.

As does Jim Hahn, who looks to one of his favorite verses, Romans 8:28, for comfort when things seem to be going all wrong: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose."

Though his faith infuses his consciousness, according to the Los Angeles Times, Hahn is clear in conveying that he does not want to impose his views on others. "I believe in the separation of church and state very strongly," he said. "I never want to be in the position of imposing my beliefs on others.

Of the Church of Christ, he told the Los Angeles Times, "The point about our church is that you find your own personal relationship with God. You study what the Scripture speaks to find your own beliefs. I've come to the realization that I do believe what I was taught. It's my tradition. It's my culture."

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Webpage created 27 September 2005. Last modified 27 September 2005.
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