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I am happy to hear that Rex Richardson was elected Vice Mayor of the City Council for a second time. I have followed Rex’s political career from when he was president of the Associated Students Inc., student government, at CSU Dominguez Hills.

I happened to be the campus liaison to ASI at that time. He learned and executed the duties of the president as a neophyte to the world of organizational politics. As with any student leader, Rex had some failures, but many more successes. After catching the political bug, he seemed to be intent on a career in community politics.

Although I live in the Fifth District of Long Beach, I have been aware of Rex’s work in the Ninth District and his work on the City Council. I have been impressed with the growth that Rex has exhibited since his days at Dominguez Hills. I have had a chance to attend several City Council meetings and have heard him speak on a number of policy issues and believed that Rex was always prepared and had done his homework on the pros and cons of an issue. His priority has also been focused on many of the current social issues that come into focus as our country becomes more aware of the social inequities that exist in many of our communities.

Strong leadership is as important as ever in today’s Long Beach politics.

Over his tenure on the council, he has had a profound positive impact on the Ninth Council District. New businesses have opened up in the area, the Michelle Obama Library Neighborhood Library has become a learning center for youth and a location for community interaction and involvement, and Houghton Park has had its community center remodeled as another hub for community activity. I believe Rex’s contributions have created an emerging pride in the community.

With his recent appointment to the AQMD, Rex will become an environmental advocate for not only Long Beach but for the Southern California region. He is also helping with the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as president of the Southern California Association of Governments.

As for the COVID-19 response, Rex went to work to ensure residents and businesses had the resources they needed to survive and led efforts to expand sick leave for frontline workers and ensured testing sites and basic needs were available citywide.

Rex spearheaded the recent Measure US effort that will generate funds from an oil production tax that will help implement our city’s climate adaption plan and establish a fund to support youth development.

Finally, Rex has led on issues for equity and justice. He has worked to change the culture of city hall to be more equitable and responsive to the needs of neighborhoods. He has championed equity and inclusion in every aspect of our city, from public health to our local economy.

I feel Rex Richardson is a proven leader for Long Beach and that’s why I am happy that he was chosen by his colleagues to serve as our Vice Mayor.

Randy Zarn is a Long Beach resident.

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