Nathaniel Bates

During his distinguished and storied career, Nat has received several State and National appointments and recognition awards. He was elected:
  • Chairman of the Contra Costa Mayors Conference, 1971-1972
  • President East Bay Division League of Cities, 1972-1973
  • Member, League of California Cities, Board of Directors, 1973-1975
  • National League of Cities Board of Directors, 1976-1980
  • Lifetime appointment to National League of Cities Advisory Board, 1980 to Present
  • Don Bosco Award, 2004
  • Richmond Democratic Club "Man of the Year Award," 1999
  • Contra Costa College Hall of Fame (Athletics) 2011
  • El Cerrito High School Hall of Fame (Athletics) 2012
  • City of Richmond
  • BAPAC Judge Carroll Community Impact Award 2012
  • Local community organizations include: Founding member of (BMW) Black Men and Women Political organization; Past President of Richmond Democratic Club; Past President and member of East Bay Performing Arts; Past President, Judge Patricia McKinley Foundation; Past Director, Richmond Boys Club, Camp Fire Girls, Mt Diablo Boys Scouts, Richmond YMCA, El Sobrante Girls Club, Richmond Museum Endowment Fund, and Richmond Unified Education Fund among others
  • B.A. Degree, San Francisco State University
  • Teachers Credential, California State University, Hayward

  • B.A. Degree, San Francisco State University
  • Teachers Credential, California State University, Hayward


If the City of Richmond held a Golden Gloves tournament, the winner would almost surely be City Councilman Nat Bates.

Nat has been fighting on behalf of Richmond’s families for over 40 years.   He’s been a leader in bringing new jobs to Richmond and has been the strongest and loudest voice for our families and our neighborhoods.

Councilmember Bates is one of us.  He has been a resident of the City of Richmond since age four. He attended Stege Elementary, Harry Ells Junior High, El Cerrito High, and Contra Costa College where he starred in baseball and basketball.

He worked for the Alameda County Probation Department as a Group Counselor, counseling young offenders about achieving success in life, not on the streets. After several promotions, Nat retired as an Administrative Supervisor in 1989. Nat then served as Field Representative to California State Senator Dan Boatwright.

The list of community organizations that Councilman Bates has founded or led represents the true spirit of those of us living and working in Richmond.  The spirit of community.  The pride of ownership.  The joy of helping our neighbors. 

The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s spurred Nat Bates to public service.  He began his political career in 1967 when he was elected to a six-year term on the Richmond City Council. He was reelected in 1973 to another six-year term through 1979. After the voters reduced the council term from six to four years, Nat was again reelected in 1979 which represented a total of 16 consecutive years through 1983. As a Councilmember, Nat was appointed twice as Richmond City Mayor by his colleagues in 1971-1972 and 1976-1977.

After being out of political office for some 12 years, Nat again ran for the City Council in 1995 and was elected for yet another four-year term. He was reelected in 1999 and 2004, 2008 and 2012.

His election in 2012 gave him the highest number of votes in the history of the city council election and an unprecedented nine terms of elective office as a Richmond City Councilmember. Nat also holds the illustrious honor of having served as the longest Councilmember in the history of the City of Richmond. As the senior member and dean of the City Council, Nat is respected for his professional ability to get things done while working as a team member with the council and staff.

Nat was married to the late Shirley Christine Adams Bates. They together have four children, Michael (deceased), Gale, Larry, and Steven, seven grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.