Rex Richardson Pledges to Address ‘Racial Inequities’ as First Black Mayor of Long Beach

On Tuesday, Rex Richardson was officially sworn in as the first Black mayor of Long Beach and pledged “to address our housing crisis, our economic and racial inequities and our changing climate.”

Richardson, 39, defeated fellow City Council member Suzie Price to succeed Robert Garcia, who was elected to the House of Representatives after serving two terms.

CBS News reported Richardson’s ceremony was attended by some of the state’s top politicians, including new Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. During his speech, Richardson acknowledged Bass’ presence and pledged to work with her on the state’s homelessness crisis. Richardson also added that he would call the city manager to declare a state of emergency on homelessness in Long Beach after Bass declared a state of emergency on homelessness in L.A. last week.

“I accept your call to lock arms with you and confront our cities’ shared challenges,” Richardson said to Bass.

“Imagine a moment when two mayors from the two largest cities in the region are aligned on values and working together to get our unhoused neighbors off the street and chart an equitable recovery for the future of our region. We will turn this vision into reality, with Mayor Karen Bass as our neighbor.”

According to the state, more than 160,000 residents are currently homeless, which accounts for nearly one-third (28%) of the nation’s homeless population.

Richardson has been a mainstay in Long Beach politics ever since he became the youngest city council member when he was elected in 2014. The Cal State Dominguez Hills graduate served as student body president and a union organizer for SEIU Local 721.

The Long Beach Mayor was paramount in the construction of the city’s first municipal homeless shelter, which included supportive bridge housing that has helped unhoused individuals move off the streets.

In addition to Richardson, city prosecutor Doug Haubert, five city council members, as well as a city attorney and auditor were also sworn in on Tuesday.