City Councilmember Rex Richardson Becomes First Black Mayor of Long Beach

City Councilmember Rex Richardson Becomes First Black Mayor of Long Beach

Long Beach Vice Mayor and City Councilmember Rex Richardson is set to become the California city’s first Black mayor after his opponent conceded.

The L.A. Times reports Richardson received 55% of the vote in the runoff election, while his opponent Suzie Price received 44% – a difference of more than 8,000 votes. Richardson will succeed Robert Garcia, the city’s first openly gay, Latino mayor who is now set to become the first gay immigrant in the House of Representatives.

Richardson made history on Tuesday after Price conceded in a statement and called him to offer congratulations.

“It appears that the people of Long Beach have spoken and selected Vice Mayor Richardson as our next mayor,” Price said in the statement. “I wish him nothing but success on the journey ahead.”

In her statement, Price, who is also on the Long Beach City Council, added that an unknown number of votes have yet to be counted, but the “trend is going in the wrong direction for our campaign.”

Richardson, 39, said he would announce his transition team Wednesday, saying he’s excited about the opportunity to improve Long Beach for its residents and visitors.

“I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to be in this position, but I also feel ready,” the mayor-elect said, according to The Times, adding that it is a “watershed moment” for the city.

“The city is special and … not often you hear stories like mine, where someone can come here as a young man, become the youngest City Council member, become the youngest vice mayor … and break barriers as the first African American mayor,” Richardson said Tuesday morning. “Long Beach is a special city like that.”

The mayor-elect was born at the Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, IL and was raised by his mother, who endured racism in the Jim Crow south in Alabama, where she integrated her school. When he was 11, Richardson and his mom moved to California, where he thrived. He attended Cal State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), where he became student body president.

After college, Richardson became a labor organizer in Southern Los Angeles, before getting his start in local politics as the chief of staff to council member Steven Neal. In 2014, at the age of 30, he became the youngest member of the Long Beach City Council. Two years later, Richardson became the city’s youngest Vice Mayor. He was reelected in 2018.