Greens hold elected office all over the United States, in cities large and small, suburban and rural areas, working with the people they represent and other elected officials to make Green ideas into real policies on the ground. Greens’ independence from the two parties and their corporate sponsors allows our elected officials to take strong stands for the people they serve.
While, to date, most elected Greens are working at the municipal and county level and don’t get a lot of publicity, the changes they are making are very real. And with the help of people around the country who are ready for real change – whether they volunteer, donate, run for office, or simply vote Green – we’ll be electing more and more people to higher and higher offices in the future.
See a list of all officeholders here.
Gayle McLaughlin, City Council, Richmond, CA
Gayle served two terms as mayor of Richmond, CA, about 12 miles north of Oakland in the Bay Area. She was the first Green Party official to represent a city of more than 100,000. After terming out as Mayor, she ran for City Council (all seats are at large) and was elected in 2014.
Gayle is perhaps best known for taking on oil company Chevron. In 2012, after a fire at a local Chevron refinery sent 15,000 residents to the hospital, the city sued the company for damages. Despite Chevron spending $3 million in this small community to defeat Gayle in 2014, she and her progressive allies in city government were all elected.
She is also well known for taking on big banks to help people facing foreclosure. She led an effort by the city to buy 624 underwater mortgages, pay the investor-owners [banks and mortgage holders] some of what they’re owed, and set the homeowner up with a new mortgage closer to the home’s current value. If investors won’t sell, the city says it may use its eminent domain powers (to take private land for public use) to seize the mortgages at fair market value.
Gayle’s focus on environmental justice led the city to move forward as a leader on many environmental initiatives, including community gardens, bike paths, and park renovations in neighborhoods throughout the city. In 2010, Gayle successfully led community opposition to a proposed mega-casino at Point Molate. The opening and dedication by Gayle of the Point Molate Beach in 2014 was the first step in the realization of the community’s vision to keep this shoreline open and sustainably developed.
She was born in Chicago, into a working class union family. Her father was a carpenter and member of the Carpenter’s Union and her mother was a factory worker and housewife. As a young activist during the 1980’s, Gayle worked with the Central American solidarity movement, People United to Save Humanity (PUSH), and the Rainbow Coalition. Gayle is married to Paul Kilkenny, also a Richmond activist for social and environmental justice.
Article about Gayle in The Nation, December 2013: click here
Interview with Gayle on Bill Moyers & Company, October 2014: click here
Article about 2014 elections and Chevron in the Contra Costa Times, Nov 2014: click here
Story in USA Today about Gayle and foreclosures: click here
Cam Gordon, City Council, Minneapolis, MN
Cam was first elected to the City Council Ward 2 in 2005 and has been re-elected twice, in 2009 and 2013. The Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) are America’s fourteenth largest metro area, with nearly 4 million people.
Cam has led on the environment, helping to negotiate a first-in-the-nation Clean Energy Partnership with electric and natural gas providers. And Greens moved the city towards grassroots democracy when Minneapolis adopted Ranked Choice Voting for city elections.
Cam recognizes that we all benefit when our society grants equal justice to all.
He led the fight to:
Empower City staff to revoke rental licenses when landlords don’t pay judgments against them
Protect free speech during the Republican National Convention
Tighten regulations on landlords providing adequate heat to tenants
Pass a resolution calling for a foreclosure freeze
Cam has been involved in a host of concrete improvements to Minneapolis’ environmental policy, leading to the Twin Cities’ reputation as one of the greenest cities in America. A few examples:
- The City’s first Environmental Purchasing Policy
- Putting a next-generation green roof on the Target Center
- Adopting a green building policy that requires new City buildings to meet LEED standards
- Require that taxis dramatically increase fuel efficiency
- Allow wind turbines where appropriate
- Install the midwest’s largest solar project on the Convention Center
- Fund 2,000 rainbarrels and 1,500 trees per year
He has been endorsed by SEIU’s Minnesota State Council and the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation.
Cam’s web page: click here
Brian Cummins, City Council, Cleveland, OH
Ward 14 Councilman Brian Cummins was re-elected to Cleveland City Council for a third term in 2013. Cummins was previously Ward 15 Councilman from 2006-2009.
Cummins advocates for a mixed-use urban community, by supporting economic development opportunities as well as trail, green space and watershed-related projects.
Cummins strongly supports immigration reform and serves the most dense (more than 40%) Latino community in Ohio.
He received the Miguel Prieto Service Award in 2011 from Cleveland’s Hispanic Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program.
Cummins led a $4 million initiative to demolish vacant and blighted homes, as well as attract responsible investors to buy and rehabilitate properties and to place them back in productive use. He also initiated a new 50/50 small business matching grant program to incentivize business investment in storefronts and exterior property improvements.
The Ward 14 council office, along with the local development corporations and City’s Department of Economic Development, has helped more than a dozen local small businesses, reflecting a $6.2 million investment since 2010.
Cummins is also a founding member of Local Progress, a national municipal policy network – a group of local elected officials and partners who want to create more just and equitable cities.
Leland Pan, Dane County Bd of Supervisors, Dist. 5, Madison, WI
Pan, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was re-elected to the Dane County Board in spring 2014. He was first elected in 2012.
He plans to continue his work on progressive causes, including increased funding for homeless and student services, continuing to protect Madison and Dane County’s lakes, and tackling the issues of racial disparities in the criminal justice system, which he calls his main concern.
Pan noted in a newspaper interview that he found it “shocking that Dane County is 6 percent African-American, but our jail is 40 percent African-American.”
An early advocate for social justice issues, Pan began his political career by working with the Middleton High School Gay-Straight Alliance.
As a Student Labor Action Coalition (SLAC) organizer, Leland worked to mobilize students against Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill and against the proposed privatization of UW affiliated institutions. Leland also worked with the UW to cut their contract with Adidas, over a pattern of labor violations at Adidas’s affiliated production shops, while also working to promote labor-friendly college apparel from Alta Garcia.
Alvin Clay, Quorum Court Justice, Mississippi County, AR
Alvin Clay was elected to this post in 2012.
The Quorum Court is a thirteen-member board that is responsible for approving the County Budget, approving the number of personnel and their salaries, filling vacancies of elected County offices, and levying taxes.
Located in the northeast corner of the state, the county was named for the mighty river that flows along its eastern border. It has two county seats, Blytheville in the north and Osceola in the south.
Clay’s goals are to promote education and training,and invest in the unemployed workforce.
Clay holds a bachelor’s degree from Lane College and a master’s degree from Arkansas State University. He has worked in the local school system as a teacher, coach and principal. He is also a licensed and ordained Baptist minister. He has worked with New Life Prison ministries for 20 years, and in June of 2012, he retired as Associate Pastor at Progressive Missionary Baptist Church.
Samba Baldeh, City Council, Madison, WI, Dist. 17
Baldeh was elected to this office in spring 2015. He was born in a small village in rural Gambia, in Africa. He immigrated to the United States in 2000. He became a U.S. citizen in 2005.
He has experience working in youth development at the international level, and with his cultural heritage and knowing the challenges of immigration, he is dedicated to making sure all of our voices are heard.
His key issues include:
As the president of the Senegambia Association he helped organize educational forums on community policing that brought together community members and Madison Police. He will promote respectful relationships and trust between police and neighborhoods and encourage use of neighborhood officers.
Strong and safe neighborhoods
We will support strong schools, and help youths get a good start in life. Madison needs affordable housing for individuals at all stages of life and families. He will work with the city and Dane County to address the shortage of affordable housing.
Our resources have to be invested in an equitable way, so that our investments match our values. He will advocate for the district in city decision-making processes, and support private projects with public money only if the project helps the community.
There are currently at least 100 Greens holding elected office in the United States. While the list is always changing, the most recent information available is listed below:
Justice of the Peace
Mississippi County, District 6
Craighead County, Arkansas
Craighead County, District 5
County Supervisor (1)
Dan Hamburg, Board of Supervisors, District 5, Mendocino County
Bruce Delgado, Mayor, Marina (Monterey County)
City Council (7)
Larry Bragman, Town Council, Fairfax (Marin County)
Renée Goddard, Town Council, Fairfax (Marin County)
John Reed, Town Council, Fairfax (Marin County)
Gayle Mclaughlin, City Council, Richmond (Contra Costa)
Deborah Heathersone, Town Council, Point Arena (Mendocino County)
Paul Pitino, Town Council, Arcata (Humboldt County)
John Keener, City Council, Pacifica (San Mateo County)
Community College Districts (3)
Vahe Peroomian, Board of Trustees, Glendale Community College District, Glendale (Los Angeles County)
Amy Martenson, Board of Trustees, District 2, Napa Valley College, Napa (Napa County)
April Clary, Board of Trustees, Student Representative, Napa Valley College, Napa (Napa County)
School Districts (20)
Heather Bass, Board of Directors, Gilroy Unified School District, Gilroy, Santa Clara County
Dave Clark, Board of Directors, Cardiff School District (San Diego County)
Phyllis Greenleaf, Board of Trustees, Live Oak Elementary School District (Santa Cruz County)
Adriana Griffin, Red Bluff Union School District, Red Bluff (Tehama County)
Jim C. Keller, Board of Trustees, Bonny Doon Union Elementary School District, Santa Cruz County
Brigitte Kubacki, Governing Boardmember, Green Point School, Blue Lake (Humboldt County)
Jose Lara, Vice President and Governing Board Member, El Rancho Unified School District, Pico Rivera (Los Angeles)
Kimberly Ann Peterson, Board of Trustees, Geyserville Unified School District (Sonoma County)
Karen Pickett, Board Member, Canyon Canyon Elementary School District (Contra Costa County)
Kathy Rallings, Board of Trustees, Carlsbad Unified School District, Carlsbad, San Diego County
Sean Reagan, Governing Boardmember, Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District, Norwalk (Los Angeles County)
Curtis Robinson, Board of Trustees, Area 6, Marin County Board of Education (Marin County)
Christopher Sabec, Governing Boardmember, Lagunitas School District (Marin County)
Katherine Salinas, Governing Boardmember, Arcata School District, Arcata (Humboldt County)
Jeffrey Dean Schwartz, Governing Boardmember, Arcata School District, Arcata (Humboldt County)
Alex Shantz, Board of Trustees, St. Helena Unified School District, Napa County
Dana Silvernale, Governing Boardmember, North Humboldt Union High School (Humboldt County)
Jim Smith, President, Canyon School Board, Canyon Township (Contra Costa County)
Logan Blair Smith, Little Shasta Elementary School District, Montague (Shasta County)
Rama Zarcufsky, Governing Boardmember, Maple Creek School District (Humboldt County)
Transit Districts (1)
Jeff Davis, Board of Directors, Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (Alameda and Contra Costa Counties)
Fire Districts (5)
Karen Anderson, Board of Directors, Coastside Fire Protection District (San Mateo County)
Robert L. Campbell, Scotts Valley Fire District (Santa Cruz County)
William Lemos, Fire Protection District, Mendocino (Mendocino County
Russell Pace, Board of Directors, Willow Creek Fire District (Humboldt County)
John Abraham Powell, Board of Directors, Montecito Fire District, Montecito (Santa Barbara County)
Water Districts (5)
Larry Bragman, Board of Directors, Division 3, Marin Municipal Water District Board (Marin County)
James Harvey, Board of Directors, Montara Water and Sanitary District (San Mateo County)
Randy Marx, Board of Directors, Fair Oaks Water District, Division 4 (Sacramento County)
Jan Shriner, Board of Directors, Marina Coast Water District (Monterey County)
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Board of Directors, Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, Division 1 (Humboldt County)
Parks and Recreation Districts (2)
James Barone, Boardmember, Rollingwood-Wilart Recreation and Parks District (Contra Costa County)
William Hayes, Board of Directors, Mendocino Coast Park and Recreation District (Mendocino County)
Community Service Districts (5)
Illijana Asara, Board of Directors, Community Service District, Big Lagoon (Humboldt County)
Gerald Epperson, Board of Directors, Crocket Community Services Distrct, Contra Costa County
Joseph Gauder, Boardmember, Covelo Community Services District, Covelo (Mendocino County)
Crispin Littlehales, Boardmember, Covelo Community Services District, Covelo (Mendocino County)
George A. Wheeler, Board of Directors, Community Service District, McKinleyville (Humboldt County)
Neighborhood Councils (7) Planning Groups (2) and Advisory Town Councils (1)
Sylvia Aroth, Outreach Officer, Venice Neighborhood Council, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)
Robin Doyno, At-Large Community Officer, Mar Vista Neighborhood Council, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)
Janine Jordan, District 4 Business Representative, Mid-Town North Hollywood Neighborhood Council, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)
Jack Lindblad, At Large Community Stakeholder, North Hollywood Northeast Neighborhood Council, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)
Johanna A. Sanchez, Secretary, Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)
Johanna A. Sanchez, At-Large Director, Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)
Marisol Sanchez , Area 1 Seat, Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)
William Bretz, Crest/Dehesa/Harrison Canyon/Granite Hill Plannning Group (San Diego County)
Claudia White, Member, Descanso Community Planning Group (San Diego County)
Annette Keenberg, Town Council, Lake Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)
Rama Zarcufsky, Governing Boardmember, Maple Creek School District (Humboldt County)