Richmond City Council Member Steps Down to Run For Lt. Governor

Richmond City Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin announced this week she is stepping down from her post to campaign for lieutenant governor.

Her last day in office will be July 18. Per the city's charter, the council will have 60 days to fill the vacant position.

McLaughlin, who has been a leading progressive voice in Richmond politics, announced her resignation at the end of Tuesday's regularly scheduled council meeting. She followed that up with a lengthy Facebook post, in which she thanked the city and urged like-minded progressives to organize.

"Our nation is in a catastrophic free-fall, and the Trump Administration is dragging the world down with it," she wrote. "...People are frustrated everywhere and at a loss. The times are ripe for organizing."

McLaughlin's campaign is positioning her as the "Bernie Sanders of the East Bay." Like the Vermont senator, McLaughlin has supported increasing the minimum wage and protecting the environment against global warming, while also being a fierce critic of tax policies that favor the wealthy.

McLaughlin, who was initially elected to the council in 2004 on a Green Party ticket, also ran successful bids for mayor in 2006 and 2010. 

The state's current lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom, will have maxed out his term limits in 2018. McLaughlin will be running against a slew of electeds gunning for the position, including State Senator Ed Hernandez of Los Angeles County, and possibly California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, who is rumored to be launching a bid. 

McLaughlin is not the only Richmond council member who has announced plans to run for state office. Councilmember Jovanka Beckles is running for the open Assembly District 15 spot in the state legislature; Tony Thurmond, who currently holds that position, is campaigning for a state superintendent of public instruction. He, too, is from Richmond.

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