Hon. Herb J. Wesson, Jr.Co-Chair
Hon. Herb J. Wesson, Jr. Co-Chair of Mercury’s California office, is the former Speaker of the California State Assembly and Council President of the Los Angeles City Council. He was the chief architect of historical policies such as raising the minimum wage to $15 hour in 2015, and securing the City of Los Angeles bid for the 2028 Olympic & Paralympic Games.
Elected to California State Assembly (CA-47) in 1998 and was unanimously elected as Speaker in 2002 where he served in that role until 2004.
Second Black Speaker of the California Legislature after Willie Brown.
Elected to Los Angeles City 10th Council District in 2005 and in 2012, changed history by becoming the first Black Council President.
Passed the first bill in the United States that reduced greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles that set the precedent across the country.
Created and funded the first API and LGBTQ Caucuses in the California Legislature.Read Full Bio
As the son of two working-class parents, Herb Wesson learned at an early age the power of a good education, the dignity of hard work and the importance of giving back to the community. Herb took these lessons to heart and has since dedicated his life to advocating for and lifting up financially struggling families, veterans, people experiencing homelessness, and other disadvantaged communities.
In 2005, Wesson joined the LA City Council and proudly served as its President – the first Black man to lead the City Council since its incorporation in 1850 – from 2011 until 2020. In his capacity as Council President, Wesson led the efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Los Angeles, protect our environment, reduce traffic congestion, build affordable housing, keep neighborhoods safe, and reduce recidivism.
Prior to his work on the LA City Council, Herb served in the historic role as the second Black Speaker of the California State Assembly in history from 2002 to 2004. During his time as Speaker, he was widely recognized as an outspoken, progressive leader who challenged the status quo and tackled some of California’s most pressing issues.
Some of Mr. Wesson’s greatest accomplishments include:
- Leading the coalition to raise the Los Angeles minimum wage to $15 an hour, setting the bar for cities across the country.
- Securing the City of Los Angeles bid for the 2028 Olympic & Paralympic Games.
- Helping secure the passage of local Measures H and HHH that provide hundreds of millions of dollars a year to build new affordable housing and combat our homelessness crisis.
- Creating LA’s Green Building Retrofit and Workforce Program to generate jobs, train workers, and conserve water and energy in government-owned buildings.
- Providing Safe Passage to School-age youth so that they are able to get to and from school safely.
- Sponsoring an annual summer camp for low-income and inner-city youth to provide them access to open space, outdoor activities and cultural opportunities.
- Allocating millions of dollars to housing our nation’s veterans.