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Ada Recinos, 26, delivers her final comments to city council shortly before last night’s vote. Photo by Josh Slowiczek

In surprise move, Richmond City Council votes Ada Recinos, 26, to succeed Gayle McLaughlin

on September 13, 2017

Last night, during an unexpected turn of events, Richmond City Council unanimously voted to appoint Ada Recinos to fill a council seat left vacant by Gayle McLaughlin, who’s running for lieutenant governor.

Many shocked audience members let out gasps after officials delivered the final vote, which occurred shortly before midnight.

Recinos, 26, is currently serving as interim chairwoman of the Human Rights and Human Relations Commission of Richmond, and is a member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance. Recinos was the RPA’s second-choice candidate and beat out assumed shoe-in, Marilyn Langlois.

As a bilingual Latina and member of the Salvadoran community, she said she will bring a unique perspective to council. “For me, it’s mainly important making sure that people are going to be heard, and that they approach the city council more comfortable knowing there is someone who can listen to them,” Recinos said, still looking dazed, during an interview shortly after her appointment.

In her new position, Recinos said she will focus on issues such as “responsible development without displacement,” in addition to addressing homelessness, supporting small businesses and Dreamers, and ensuring earthquake preparedness.

The daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, Recinos attended community college in Torrance, Calif., for three years before graduating with a B.A. in global information and social-enterprise studies from UC Santa Cruz in 2014.

In addition to her role with HRHRC, Recinos also works with Prospera Co-ops, an Oakland-based nonprofit that helps low-income Latina immigrants establish collectives.

Even though she has been a figure in the Latino community of Richmond for several years, her supporters were surprised with the outcome of last night’s vote.

“We weren’t expecting it,” said friend and supporter Juan Carlos Sanchez, 26. “She had read her speech to me before, and hearing it out there in public almost brought me to tears because, in her eyes, I see the other Latinas in the community.”

Many, including Mayor Tom Butt and Richmond resident Bea Roberson, had assumed that long-time public figure and the RPA’s “preferred choice,” Langlois, would finally have her place on the council after unsuccessful bids in 2012 and 2015.

The possibility that the tide had turned seemed to come when Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles said she felt that more women were needed on the council, but she would abstain from a vote on Langlois due to her status as a “top donor.” On May 27, 2017, Langlois contributed $2500 to Beckles’ campaign for Assembly District 15.

Langlois was also the subject of some contention with Butt, who called her a “conspiracy theorist.”

In series of recent email dispatches, Butt shared excerpts from Langlois’ writings on North Korea and 9/11. His comments garnered criticism from Recinos’ predecessor, McLaughlin, who called Butt’s words a “horrendous attack” and “Chevron-like” tactics in her own recent email to her supporters.

During public comments at last night’s meeting, many Richmond residents voiced support for Recinos. Council members Ben Choi, Jovanka Beckles and Jael Myrick followed suit.

After the vote, Choi spoke of his appreciation for both the candidates and also the evening’s outcome.

“It does make me feel old,” he said, “but, other than that, I’m pretty excited about seeing young people on the council, especially young people of color.”

Another candidate with significant public support was Diego Garcia, a local business owner and the RPA’s third choice for the vacancy.

In an earlier interview, Garcia emphasized the need to support Richmond’s youth, and the importance of representing the city’s growing Latino population. During his final speech of the night, he announced his campaign for the 2018 city council elections.

For now, however, the seat belongs to Recinos. She said she will use the opportunity to represent and speak to Latina women and the young people of Richmond.

“I’m making sure that after this process I can share my wisdom about how I did all of this,” Recinos said, “so that other women can come out and say ‘I can do that, too, I’m going to do it tomorrow.’”


  1. Commenter on September 13, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    First off, Mayor Butt after first praising Langlois work she has done for the city stated that he was concerned about some of the fringe beliefs she has publically commented on, something he has every right to do and the public has every right to know about. Then he simply posted various articles PENNED BY LANGLOIS HERSELF for the public to see and make their own judgement about. The utter hypocrisy in Gayle McLaughlins hysterical response to this is repugnant and a red light to those who think she deserves higher office. Trust me, you will come to regret a vote for her as I and many other Richmond voters have come to.
    Ada Recinos seems like a nice young lady. But I have to wonder what difference it makes at all whether she or Marilyn Langlois sits at the council as they are both RPA steering committee members. Hardly a “surprise” turn of events. Let us hope Miss Recinos is strong enough to think for herself independently of the leftist “Politburo” of our time.

  2. Don Gosney on September 13, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    For those that might want to see individual film clips of the speeches and commentary, try these links on YouTube:

    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~Ada Recinos

    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~Al Green
    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~Carole Johnson
    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~David Shoenthal

    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~David Tucker

    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~Demnlus Johnson

    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~Diego Garcia

    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~Marilyn Langlois

    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~Maija Barretto

    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~Peter Thelin

    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~Soheila Bana

    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~Timothy Golden

    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~Public Comments

    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~The Council Comments

    ’17 Richmond City Council~Filling the Vacancy~The Vote

  3. Mario Jackson on September 25, 2017 at 2:38 am

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