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    Oakland City Council Ushers In a New Era of Leadership

    By Rebecca Kaplan —

    This January, Oakland has the opportunity to welcome two new members to our City Council, and strengthen community-focused leadership, with the inauguration of Councilmember Janani Ramachandran, who represents District 4, and Councilmember Kevin Jenkins, who represents District 6. I offer my congratulations to both of these bright, dedicated leaders who are now part of Oakland’s leadership. Although our city, and many others, face challenges, these individuals, along with the existing Council and City staff, are prepared for the task.

    Councilmember Janani Ramachandran joins the Council bringing her history as a public interest attorney with progressive values who has dedicated her life to empowering communities and fighting for responsive, accountable governments. Born and raised in the East Bay, Janani is the daughter of immigrants from a small South Indian village. She identifies as LGBTQ. She attended Stanford University, where she studied political theory, systems of democratic governance, and economic development. She was driven to make a difference as a lawyer and attended Berkeley Law School. Janani’s fearlessness in fighting for Oakland starts with seven key policy principles: Responsive Leadership, Public Safety, Fire Safety, Clean Streets and Flourishing Parks, Homelessness, Affordable Housing, and Thriving Small Businesses. I look forward to working with Councilmember Ramanchandran as the Council makes important policy decisions in the coming months.

    Councilmember Kevin Jenkins comes to the Council with a history of dedication to meaningful solutions for public safety and education. Prior to the election, Jenkins served on the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees, which he was elected to in 2020. He’s also president of the California Association of Black School Educators and he previously was a member of the Alameda County Public Health Commission.  Born and raised in East Oakland, Jenkins graduated from Oakland High School and attended Laney College and College of Alameda. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s in urban studies and planning and later earned a master’s degree in public administration from California State University, East Bay. Councilmember Jenkins will turn his attention to working with Attorney General Bonta to reduce the number of illegal guns on Oakland streets. He will also work to increase the collaboration between Alameda County and the City of Oakland improve access to affordable housing and homelessness prevention resources.

    I congratulate these two new council members as the City of Oakland embarks upon this new era of leadership.  I look forward to working with them and the sitting council members, along with the City staff, as we tackle the issues facing Oakland with leadership, commitment and dedication.

    Councilmember At-Large and Council President Rebecca Kaplan, who is the
    Vice Mayor of Oakland, was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide
    Councilmember; she was re-elected in 2016 and 2020. She also serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC).
    Follow councilmember Kaplan on Twitter @Kaplan4Oakland ( and Facebook (

    Out of the Closet and Into City Hall
    Published on January 12, 2023