Richmond City Councilmember Jovanka Beckles Announces Run for State Assembly

Richmond City Councilmember Jovanka Beckles announced Thursday she will run for the District 15 seat in the California State Assembly. 

If elected in 2018, she would replace Rep. Tony Thurmond, who announced his campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction, the state's top education post, back in April. 

Beckles said she will work on universal healthcare, affordable housing, and closing corporate tax loopholes if elected. She has vowed not to accept any corporate campaign contributions.

"I am running because I share the frustration of my neighbors from Hercules to Oakland in the East Bay, who are tired of broken promises on important issues," she said in a statement to NBC Bay Area. 

Assembly District 15 stretches from Hercules in Contra Costa County to a swath of Oakland in Alameda County. Voters have steadfastly and overwhelmingly appointed Democrats to the position.

Beckles, who made history in 2010 as the city's first openly-lesbian councilwoman, is the first person to announce her candidacy. 

Throughout her two terms, Beckles has been a progressive voice on the Richmond City Council. She was a vocal supporter of Richmond's controversial new rent control law and ruffled feathers last year when she verbally sparred with some council members over the issue. She also has a track record of supporting unions.

Her outspoken nature has often made her a target, as chronicled in a San Francisco Chronicle profile piece in 2014. 

"She remained strong on environmental protections for Richmond communities against Chevron, and she will continue to work for the people if elected to the Assembly," said fellow Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin in an endorsement statement.

Her other endorsements include Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington and Ericka Huggins, an activist and former Black Panther leader.

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