Gayle McLaughlin was born in Chicago, Illinois into a working class union family. She is the middle child of five daughters. 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.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, graduating summa cum laude. Her graduate studies include psychology and education.
- In 2003 Gayle co-founded the Richmond Progressive Alliance.
- Gayle McLaughlin is the former Mayor (2007-2015) and City Councilmember (2005-2007; 2015-2017) of Richmond California
- Under her leadership, Richmond increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour, reduced homicides 75% in 8 years, forced Chevron to pay over $100 million in additional city taxes, limited its pollution and sued the oil giant for damage to the population.
- Gayle also promoted Community Choice Aggregation, resulting in more than 85% of homeowners and businesses now receiving greener and less expensive electricity.
- She stood for our public school system and opposed charter expansion.
- Gayle supported immigrant rights (Richmond is a Sanctuary City).
- She led the local fight against foreclosures advocating for the use of the City eminent domain powers to protect homeowners and to keep them in their homes, and spearheaded many other initiatives and programs.
- In November 2016 under her leadership Richmond passed the first new rent control law in California in 30 years.
In 2020, Gayle ran and won her corporate-free campaign for City Councilmember, District 5. Her priorities were and remain health, safety, justice and sustainability for our community. On January 12, 2021, Gayle was sworn into office and rejoined the Richmond City Council.