Updated 10/25/2018: This story has been updated to reflect information from Harriet Steele, president of the Progressive Student Association.
UC Berkeley alumnus Rigel Robinson has been endorsed for Berkeley City Council District 7 by Our Revolution, a national progressive political action association.
According to his website, Robinson’s platform focuses on affordable housing, engaging the ASUC in local politics, keeping the community safe, decriminalizing homelessness, combating climate change and revitalizing Telegraph Avenue.
Our Revolution also endorsed two other candidates for Berkeley City Council — District 1 candidate Igor Tregub and District 4 candidate Kate Harrison. It also endorsed Jovanka Beckles for state Assembly and supported Proposition 10.
“Our Revolution endorsed Rigel Robinson because he supports many of our values including expanding affordable housing and investing in local infrastructure,” said Diane May, spokesperson for Our Revolution, in an email.
Our Revolution originated from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’, D-Vermont, 2016 presidential campaign. According to May, the organization is separate from Sen. Sanders, though he is the inspiration for many of the issues it supports, such as “Medicare-for-all” and tuition-free college.
As a campus sophomore, Robinson co-founded the UC Berkeley Students for Bernie — now called Progressive Student Association, or PSA — which became the largest and most active campus chapter of the Sanders campaign in the country, according to Robinson.
“I got to work with an incredible network of progressive organizers across the East Bay during that campaign, and I’m deeply honored to have the support of that same progressive network, which has become Our Revolution, today in my run for Berkeley City Council,” Robinson said in an email. “Berkeley needs bold, progressive leadership, and I’m excited that they’ve put their faith in me to bring it.”
According to a press release from PSA, the campus organization voted to endorse Robinson because of his progressive values and “impressive record as a leader in the student community.” The press release also stated that the organization had “concerns” about the other candidates, despite the fact that they “had important experiences they would bring to the position.”
“Robinson was the only candidate who voiced support for raising taxes in Berkeley in order to fund additional city services, especially for the creation and preservation of affordable housing,” the press release said. “As a result, the membership felt it could not select either candidate for a second-rank endorsement.”
Ces Rosales, one of Robinson’s opponents, said it was “good for him” that Robinson was endorsed by Our Revolution. Rosales said she believes the most important issues in District 7 include housing and affordability, safety from sexual violence and infrastructure conditions.
Aidan Hill, another one of Robinson’s opponents, said they did not believe Our Revolution is revolutionary. As a Black, nonbinary candidate, Hill said they came to Berkeley to try to advocate for their community. Hill’s key platforms include protecting People’s Park and providing public housing.
“(Our Revolution is) more of the same. I am very disillusioned by their process,” Hill said. “If you have the chance to save lives, you should change lives. … If you are going to be my representative, please represent me.”