A Record of Progress for Richmond and Decades of Service to our City
AFTER 19 YEARS OF CITY COUNCIL SERVICE, Tom Butt was elected Mayor in November 2014. During his first term, Richmond has seen record low unemployment, the lowest homicide rate in decades, a boom in home building, rising home values, and a reduction in foreclosures. We’re renovating the Hilltop Mall, revitalizing downtown, and this year we’ll see ferry service from Richmond to San Francisco.
Mayor Butt’s strong progressive leadership is the culmination of decades of public service to the city he loves.
A Family History of Service to Community and Country
TOM GREW UP IN ARKANSAS in a family dedicated to public service. His dad was a judge and his mom was a librarian. During summers in college, Tom worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a firefighter and the National Park Service as a construction manager.
After earning a degree in Architecture from the University of Arkansas, Tom joined the U.S. Army and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers as a combat engineer officer. He served in Vietnam in 1969-70, where he built infrastructure—roads and bridges in preparation for the U.S. withdrawal. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal for his service.
45 Years of Service to Richmond
TOM MARRIED HIS WIFE SHIRLEY IN MUIR WOODS IN 1971, and after getting a Master’s Degree in Architecture and Urban Design from UCLA, Tom and Shirley moved to Richmond in 1973. They got involved in the community almost immediately, joining organizations dedicated to the environment, education, and historic preservation. Tom became President of the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council and Point Richmond Business Association. He chaired the Richmond Economic Development Commission and Beautification Committee and served as president of the Washington Elementary School PTA and Richmond Rotary Club. And he founded the non-profit, People Do!, to ensure our community would see real benefits from the Chevron Refinery expansion.
A Leading Local Architect and Pioneer in Sustainability
TOM FOUNDED HIS RICHMOND ARCHITECTURE-ENGINEERING FIRM, Interactive Resources, in 1973. From the beginning, the firm was committed to sustainability. Some of the first Bay Area homes to go solar were designed by Tom’s firm. In 1976, at his Richmond home, Tom built the largest wind generator in California and the first to feed power into the PG&E grid. Tom’s generator became a research project that paved the way for commercial wind power in California.
19 Years on the City Council Fighting for Our Neighborhoods and Progressive Values
TOM WAS ELECTED TO THE RICHMOND CITY COUNCIL IN 1995, where he served until he became mayor in 2015. During his nearly two decades on the Council, Tom was known for his leadership in improving public services in our neighborhoods, cleaning up blight, establishing a permanent City Hall, and fighting to clean up local elections. And he negotiated hundreds of millions of dollars in settlement fees from Chevron to support community benefits. As a councilmember, Tom also led the successful effort for Richmond to join MCE Clean Energy, which provides Richmond residents with energy twice as green as PG&E’s and saved Richmond ratepayers and businesses nearly $2 million during its first year. And he worked with former Mayor Irma Anderson to create the Office of Neighborhood Safety, which helped reduce the availability of guns and promoted peaceful conflict resolution in our neighborhoods.