Former Mayor Gayle McLaughlin plans to continue Richmond’s progressive transformation
on October 27, 2020
For most people, a three-year hiatus from Richmond City Council might involve time away from politics.
Former two-time Mayor Gayle McLaughlin is not most people.
Instead, McLaughlin ran for lieutenant governor of California in 2018. That same year, she co-founded the California Progressive Alliance, a volunteer network of individuals and organizations that works to promotes progressive ideas throughout the state.
Now, McLaughlin is running for District 5 on the Richmond City Council to get back into local politics. Her opponents include Ahmad Anderson, Mike Vasilas and Najiri Smith.
McLaughlin, who has served on the council from 2005 to 2017, said her experience makes her the best candidate.
“I know City Hall,” McLaughlin said. “There’s no learning curve for me. Yes, there might be a few things that have changed, but for the most part, it’s going to be a real easy adaptation.”
If elected, McLaughlin hopes to bring more progressive values to the city’s forefront. She believes the council has drifted away from some progressive ideals over the last few years.
Her list of priorities is extensive, ranging from raising the minimum wage and building a community hospital to developing a Richmond Green Deal and reversing the controversial Point Molate decision.
McLaughlin emphasized taxing corporations to reach some of these goals.
“I want to make sure that we set up the kinds of policies and programs that don’t just follow the status quo and the establishment,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin also cited her support for Measure U, a Richmond gross receipts business tax intended to go toward youth and other community services.
Longtime adviser and friend Juan Reardon said McLaughlin has stayed committed to representing the people of Richmond, since their days co-founding the Richmond Progressive Alliance in 2003.
“She is an all-embracing woman,” Reardon said. “She’s a woman who is a leader and an indispensable activist in Richmond.” “She’s never gonna sell out or resign her principles in the process of advancing like everybody else.”
McLaughlin, who grew up in Chicago, credits her grandmother for teaching her the importance of activism and standing “shoulder to shoulder with the community.”
“I learned from her that when you speak your mind you can really make a difference,” McLaughlin said. “Since then, my philosophy and my energy have been stirred up to do something that can change things. I started this in Richmond and I’ll continue it in Richmond.”
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