Thursday November 5 8:04 pm
Gayle McLaughlin at one time had a fairly high profile as the two-term Green Party mayor of Richmond, from 2007 to 2015.
In 2012, The New York Times described Richmond, a bayside city of some 110,000 people, as an “unlikely vanguard for anticorporate, left-wing activism … having seized the mantle” from traditional progressive havens like Berkeley. McLaughlin lived up to her Green Party billing by becoming a major antagonist of Chevron, which operates a refinery in the city. McLaughlin, who is no longer a Green Party member, also did a stint in the City Council from 2015-17 and ran for California lieutenant governor in 2018, drawing over a quarter of a million votes.
Now, it looks like McLaughlin, 68, will be returning to the City Council, one that will have a strong progressive bent. At last count she had gained about 52% of the vote in the race for the District 5 seat, and McLaughlin told KQED’s Julie Chang on Thursday that Ahmad Anderson, who is in second place, had already called her to offer his congratulations.
Below are excerpts from Chang’s interview with McLaughlin, edited for length and clarity.
Why did you feel the need to run for City Council this election?
Gayle McLaughlin: I ran to get Richmond back on track. I mean, we saw that the current mayor and the current council majority were making things worse for regular working families in Richmond. So I really felt it was important that we got our progressive direction cemented in Richmond so we could help.
Our working families are struggling —the residents, who are a wonderful, diverse community with a lot of challenges given we have Chevron in our backyard, given we have a lot of low-income families.
What are some things that you