Gayle McLaughlin, a former Richmond mayor and candidate for California Lieutenant Governor, will be speaking Tuesday at the Progressive Democrats of Benicia’s (PDB) monthly meeting.
McLaughlin first became involved in politics in the ‘80s when she served as an activist with the Central American solidarity movement, and civil rights nonprofit groups People United to Save Humanity and the Rainbow Coalition. She moved to Richmond in 2001, where she was elected to the City Council in 2004 and as mayor in 2006, making the city the largest with a Green Party mayor in the country at the time. She served two terms as mayor through 2015, where she increased the minimum wage, was a proponent of Measure N– which aimed to impose a 1 cent tax on sugary drinks, voted to provide $3 million to the city’s public schools and sued the Chevron Corporation following a fire at the local refinery in 2012.
Following her mayoral tenure, McLaughlin returned to the Richmond City Council. She resigned this past July to run for the lieutenant gubernatorial seat being vacated by Democrat Gavin Newsom, who is being termed out and is running for governor. Other candidates in the race include Democrats Jeff Bleich, a former U.S. ambassador to Australia; Cameron Gharabiklou, a San Diego attorney; West Covina State Sen. Ed Hernandez; Eleni Kounalakis, a former U.S. ambassador to Hungary; Asif Mahmood, a Los Angeles physician; and Matthew Rizzie, a social advocate from Pleasant Hill. Republicans in the race include Silicon Valley venture capitalist David Fennell and Public Television Industry Corporation Vice President David Hernandez. Despite speaking at the Progressive Democrats meeting, McLaughlin is not a registered Democrat and is instead registered as “No Party Preference.” She is also seeking signatures to qualify for the ballot in lieu of filing fees to run and is not accepting donations from corporations. Although 7,000 signatures are needed to get on the ballot, McLaughlin is hoping for 20,000 signatures.
“We are excited to have Gayle share her progressive thoughts and ideas for California during our meeting and discuss with us her campaign and issues for the June 5, 2018 primary elections,” PDB Chair Ralph Dennis said in a statement. “We want to hear what her priorities would be if elected, what she feels distinguishes her from other candidates and why progressive Democrats should consider voting for her.”
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9 in the Dona Benicia Room at the Benicia Public Library, located at 150 East L St. For more information on McLaughlin, go to gayleforcalifornia.org.