Richmond, California, June 27, 2017 –

Richmond city councilmember and former mayor Gayle McLaughlin announced today that she will step down from her seat on the council to fully focus on her organizing campaign for the office of Lieutenant Governor of California.

McLaughlin is running with the goals of “putting people first, organizing corporate-free local groups throughout the state, and giving voters the choice of a corporate-free candidate.”

McLaughlin, called the Bernie Sanders of the East Bay, made theannouncement at the end of the June 27 Richmond City Council meeting. McLaughlin said, “Our nation is in a catastrophic free-fall, and the Trump administration is dragging the world down with it. With the help of corporate-funded policy-makers, corporations are boldly grabbing all the resources they can, dismantling every small protection gained by the people of our nation over the years. While Wall Street controls our federal government and the planet burns with unprecedented heat, 28 million Americans are thrown out of health coverage. And the same law that takes away our healthcare gives another $30 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest 1%. Public education is being privatized, the EPA eliminated, millions of workers are threatened with deportation, racists are emboldened, and our police forces are militarized .Wall Street and the banks are set free from the limited restrictions imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act and continue their predation on the American people.”

“People are frustrated everywhere and at a loss. The times are ripe for organizing,” she added. McLaughlin has been visiting residents of cities throughout California, from San Diego to Redding, encouraging everyone to develop local political power. Many communities are beginning to form corporate-free, inclusive, multi-party, grassroots organizations that run corporate-free candidates for local office following the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) model. During her visits, McLaughlin shares the experiences that made Richmond’s transformation under her leadership a success.

“California is resisting a bit more, but nothing is guaranteed for people unless we organize. The insurance companies and big-pharma just killed this year’s effort for single payer universal health care. California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon demonstrated once again what happens when you elect a representative who is not corporate-free. Corporate money is both toxic and addictive, and our democracy needs to get clean and sober.”

McLaughlin said that her organizing campaign is being done with Richmond in mind and heart; many statewide policies affecting Richmond can only change with statewide pressure coming from many cities, communities, and coalitions of labor unions, community organizations and corporate-free organized activists.

McLaughlin has served nearly thirteen years on the Richmond City Council (2004-2017), eight years (2006-2014) as Richmond mayor. Her last day in office will be July 18th, 2017. “I’m leaving city government in good hands,” she said as she expressed her gratitude to the City Council and the residents. “Richmond is much better now.”

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