By Post Staff
Former Assemblymember Sandré R. Swanson, officially appointed Monday to serve as deputy mayor for Mayor Jean Quan, was already deeply involved last week in problem solving for the city.
“For 16 months, the SEIU (labor union) and the Port of Oakland were involved in a protracted labor dispute. The mayor asked me to go in as mediator last week, ” said Swanson in an interview with the Post.
“We helped them reach an agreement in nine hours of straight negotiations,” he said.
As deputy mayor, “I suspect I will be out in the community some, and I will also be advising the mayor on major policy decisions,” Swanson said. “I will be working with department heads. I see myself backing her up in every major area.”
He said that he is “in tune with the mayor’s agenda,” which includes reducing crime and making Oakland a safer city, as well as economic developing and employing Oakland residents.
Quan and Swanson have a history that goes back for many years. He co-chaired her campaign for mayor, and “When I ran for Board of Supervisors 30 years ago. against Don Perata and lost that race, Jean Quan and her
husband backed me. They were first in line to support my candidacy when I ran for Assembly.”
“Swanson has deep roots in Oakland and is a veteran of East Bay politics,” said Quan. I trust Sandré’s values;
he is one of the nicest people in politics and will be a critical member of my administration as the momentum for innovation and development in Oakland continues.”
The deputy mayor’s position has been vacant since the resignation of former Deputy Mayor Lewis Cohen in January. Swanson’s salary will be $140,000.
A highly experienced East Bay political leader, Swanson served in the State Assembly from 2006 until being termed out this year. After taking office, his first bill in December 2012 was to require the State of California, which had given the Oakland schools an emergency loan, to return local control for Oakland schools to the elected school board.
“Education truly is our greatest example of democracy, and parents in Oakland should be able to hold a local school board accountable for the education of our children,” Swanson said a the time.
As an Assembly member, Swanson passed several landmark pieces of legislation to combat human trafficking of California youths. Several of these laws have won national acclaim.
Before his election to the Assembly, he served five years as Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Chief of Staff after working for 25 years as the District Director and Senior Policy Advisor to former Congressman Ron Dellums.
While still in his twenties, Swanson was campaign manager for Judge Lionel Wilson’s successful campaign to become Oakland’s first African-American Mayor in 1977.
Swanson is a native of Oakland, married to wife Anita. They have four children and five grandchildren.