Eddie Dillard and Lynette Gibson McElhaney in conversation

by Eddie Dillard Recently, I sat with Lynette Gibson McElhaney, Oakland City Council member, District 3, for a candid conversation. Ed: Thanks, Council Member McElhaney, for the opportunity to share your vision for West Oakland residents as you campaign for a third term as District 3’s City Council representative. Lynette: It’s a funny thing – prior to running in 2012, I did not think about being an elected official. When my pastor and friends encouraged me to run, I was focused on economic growth, responsive and responsible policing, quality education and restoring government trust.

Essentially, I found that my neighbors and I shared a common set of concerns and I hoped that my 20+ years’ experience as an affordable housing leader would help improve our overall quality of life. My hope then, and now, is fueled by the fact that the vision for a vibrant, safe Oakland is strong and broadly shared across the city – regardless of race, age, gender or socioeconomic standing. 

My challenge is how to help Oakland live up to this vision while working within a government system that is fragmented and often floundering despite good people holding key positions. In this type of system, cultivating good relationships is essential. I’ve worked hard to build and sustain key relationships so that I am in a position to get a good response from the administration as well as from private sector partners.

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