Gayle McLaughlin is a former two-term Mayor of Richmond, Calif. who is running for Lieutenant Governor of California as a progressive Independent. McLaughlin was a Richmond City Council member for two terms (2005-07 and 2015-17), and served as Mayor from 2007-2014. She has a background as an educator, and professional experience in nonprofit leadership organizations promoting literacy, social justice, and environmental health. McLaughlin has also been involved in nonprofit research and data-driven projects addressing the needs of disadvantaged youth. She also co-founded Solar Richmond, a nationally-recognized local program promoting solar power and green jobs in Richmond, and Richmond Residents for a Responsible General Plan, a community organization committed to ensuring that the General Plan process be transparent and open to public participation.
As a young activist during the 1980’s, McLaughlin worked with the Central American solidarity movement, People United to Save Humanity (PUSH), and the Rainbow Coalition. She is a founding member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), a corporate-free grassroots political organization in Richmond, CA. RPA is an Our Revolution affiliated organization.
While McLaughlin was Mayor of Richmond, the city passed the first rent control law in California in 30 years, increased the minimum wage, reduced homicides 75% in 8 years, forced Chevron to pay on average an additional $7.5 million in taxes per year and sued Chevron for damage to the city’s population. In 2016, McLaughlin received a Millie Award for “Leadership in the fight to pass rent control and just cause for eviction” from the Tenant Lawyer Network- a project of Tenants Together. In 2015, she was awarded the “Phil Burton Badge of Courage for Protecting Democracy and the Environment from Corporate Pollution” from the Sierra Club as well as the “13th Annual Human Rights Award: Democracy”, from Human Agenda.
McLaughlin is a self-described independent and Bernie Sanders supporter. She switched from the Green Party to ‘No Party Preference’ so she could support Senator Sanders in the 2016 Presidential Primary. Senator Sanders also endorsed her City Council campaign in 2014, and wrote the foreword to a book about her Mayoral administration. McLaughlin has also been referred to as the ‘Bernie Sanders of the East Bay’ by California newspapers.