Gayle McLaughlin

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Gayle McLaughlin
Gayle McLaughlin.png
Garyn DeRosa pictured above
Mayor of Richmond, California
In office
January 9, 2007 – January 13, 2015
Preceded by Irma A. Anderson
Succeeded by Tom Butt
City Council member of Richmond, California
Assumed office
January 13, 2015
In office
January 2005 – January 9, 2007
Personal details
Born 1952
Chicago, Illinois
Political party Green Party
Profession educator and activist

Gayle McLaughlin (born 1952 in Chicago, Illinois) is a California politician. She is a member of the Green Party and, from 2007 to 2015, served as the mayor of Richmond, California. McLaughlin was elected on November 7, 2006 by a 242-vote[1] margin over incumbent mayor Irma A. Anderson.[2] Richmond was, as of 2014, the largest city in the country with a Green Party mayor.[3] In 2014, she was elected to a city council seat after being termed out of the mayor's office.

McLaughlin is a social activist who has participated in the peace, social justice, civil rights, and environmental movements. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, with graduate study in psychology and education.

She was first elected to the City Council in 2004, winning one of five open seats, with 11,191 votes or 10% in 2004.[4] She has lived in Richmond since 2001.[5]

Background and experience[edit]

McLaughlin was born into a working class union family. She is the middle child of five daughters born to a unionized carpenter and a housewife.

During the 1980s, McLaughlin was an activist with the Central American solidarity movement and a steering committee member of CISPES (Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador). She also played an active role in the North Star Network, a national networking effort to unite progressives, and in coalition-building efforts with Rainbow/PUSH.

McLaughlin graduated summa cum laude from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts. She continued her education with two years of graduate study in psychology at Rhode Island College, with additional graduate study in education at U.C. Berkeley Extension.

McLaughlin has worked as a postal clerk, teacher, caregiver for the elderly, and tutor/clinician for children with learning disabilities. She has also worked in the capacity of support staff for various not-for-profit health and educational organizations.[6]

Richmond City Council and Richmond Progressive Alliance[edit]

On November 2, 2004, McLaughlin was elected to the city council of Richmond, California, in a non partisan race. She is a founder of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), a non-partisan progressive group in western Contra Costa County, composed of members of the Green Party, Democratic Party, Peace and Freedom Party and Independents.

In Richmond, McLaughlin's activism has found her involved in many local struggles in support of both social and environmental justice. She opposed the Patriot Act, the criminalization of the homeless, and Chevron's Richmond Refinery tax perks. She has also been involved in an ongoing effort to stop development on the North Richmond shoreline and supports the battle against job or salary cutbacks against Service Employees International Union

Mayor of Richmond[edit]

Gayle McLaughlin election poster.jpg

First term[edit]

In the 2004 election McLaughlin was the first Green Party candidate ever to win a seat on Richmond California's City Council. In 2006, she decided to challenge incumbent mayor Irma Anderson, whom she defeated by 242 votes.

Mayor McLaughlin is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition,[7] an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino.

Second term[edit]

McLaughlin won a second term in office in the 2010 municipal election.[8] She overcame a well funded offensive by local police and firefighter unions to unseat her during the election campaign. She was sworn into office on January 11, 2011 to her second term.

McLaughlin was criticized for attending an Occupy rally on Veterans Day of 2011 instead of a symbolic ship-launching portrayal at the former Richmond Shipyards.[9] McLaughlin stated she was a supporter of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War.[10]

McLaughlin is a strong proponent of a plan being pioneered by the city of Richmond to use eminent domain to purchase "underwater" properties whose values have fallen below the amount of the mortgage owed. According to the plan, the city, in partnership with a private company, would purchase or use eminent domain to seize loans on properties in danger of being foreclosed at amounts reflecting current prices. The mortgage payable by the owner of the property would then be reduced. A number of banks have filed lawsuits against the proposal, arguing that it is an illegal use of eminent domain. Critics states that this plan would severely damage the mortgage industry. Cities such as Newark, New Jersey, North Las Vegas, and Seattle are considering adopting similar plans.[11]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Palm Springs, Coachella Valley - Weather, News, Sports: Our Apologies Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Green Party likely to win in Richmond mayor's race Archived September 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Hall, Carl. T. (November 22, 2006). "RICHMOND / Mayor concedes race -- city largest in nation with Green leadership". SFGate. 
  4. ^ She was elected to her first term as mayor in November of 2006 and was reelected in November of 2010. Election Results
  5. ^ City of Richmond website, Gayle McLaughlin profile, retrieved May 27, 2006
  6. ^ Mayor Gayle McLaughlin website, Gayle McLaughlin's official site, retrieved October 9, 2012
  7. ^ "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members". Archived from the original on March 6, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Results of 2010 midterm elections are mixed bag for Mayor Bloomberg". New York Daily News. 2010-11-07. Retrieved 2013-03-27. 
  9. ^ "California Mayor Snubs Veterans to Attend Occupy Rally". Fox News Channel. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  10. ^ Dreier, Hannah. "Richmond Mayor to skip Veterans Day events for Occupy rally". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  11. ^ Paul Elias (August 25, 2013). "Desperate Calif. city looks to use 'eminent domain' to seize loans to ease homeowners burden". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on August 25, 2013. 

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