OAKLAND -- Mayor Jean Quan has tapped termed-out Assemblymember Sandré Swanson to become her deputy mayor, a move that adds political clout to her staff and could help her 2014 re-election prospects.
Swanson, a longtime friend of Quan's with strong ties to the city's African-American political leaders, said he will take a leading role on major projects, such as redevelopment of the Oakland Army Base.
"With my 40 years of experience, I think I can add to the administration and help get some things done," Swanson said.
At Quan's request, Swanson said that he helped broker a tentative contract this week between SEIU and the Port of Oakland.
Swanson, 64, will be paid $140,000 per year -- about $45,000 more than he made in the Assembly. He'll officially begin work Monday, the same day that Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta succeeds him in Sacramento.
Swanson said he still intends to run for state Senate in 2016 -- a race in which he already has secured the endorsement of incumbent Loni Hancock.
Quan praised Swanson in a prepared statement, saying he would make "an invaluable member of our team."
This is the second major restructuring of Quan's administration. She started her term with two deputy mayors, both of whom resigned within the first year. Quan replaced them by hiring Jerry Brown's former top aide, Anne Campbell Washington, as her chief of staff. Campbell Washington will continue with the administration. Another Quan aide, Richard Cowan, is slated to retire next year.
Swanson has been a fixture in Oakland politics for several decades, holding top posts in the congressional offices of Ron Dellums and Barbara Lee. He also served as campaign chair for Quan's 2010 mayoral bid and employed Quan's daughter, Lailan Huen, in his Assembly office.
Council President Larry Reid, who has had frosty relations with Quan and publicly noted that she polled poorly in his East Oakland council district, praised the appointment.
"I think SandrÃ¨ will help her, particularly in the African-American community and particularly with other elected officials," Reid said.
Since deputy mayor in Oakland is an appointed position, Swanson, an Alameda resident, would not be eligible to serve as acting mayor and is not required to live in the city.
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.