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Meet Lee Charley “Rich”, running for City Council in Long Beach District one.

Not everyone knows this, but Long Beach is the 43rd largest city in the country and the 7th largest in California. The district Rich is running for includes the Port of Long Beach which is one the the biggest import centers for shipped goods on the West Coast. Rich is originally from Treefort, Louisiana and went to college at Tennessee Tech.

Rich is a Navy Veteran who was kicked out of the military during 1994 for being gay. He has faced discrimination due to his sexuality which is why he is such a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community in Long Beach and as a whole. Rich is someone who can truly understand how it feels to be in a position where people treat you unfairly based on sexuality. Rich also truly cares about improving the community that he loves and making it safer for all of its residents. Tackling the homeless and violence problems in Long Beach is at the top of Rich’s list of pressing topics.

Rich’s journey in the past 20 years hasn’t always been easy. His arrival in California came with a huge car crash that left him severely injured. He found himself in Long Beach, homeless, broken and in need of a way to get back on his feet. Transitional housing helped him get settled, gain employment and get his life back. One thing Rich touches on is the lack of action from Long Beach politicians in working to solve the homelessness issue. He told us that many programs that help homeless people require them to have extensive amounts of documents that would be difficult for anyone to gather. Birth certificates, social security cards, W2’s—all things that someone living on the street would have a difficult time finding. Even if they get all of these documents, long waiting lists make it even harder for people to get help. Rich wants to improve these programs and make them more accessible to people who are in the same position he found himself in many years ago.

Rich makes sure he’s in tune with the people by going out and speaking to his neighbors every day to listen to their needs. He knows that his community needs more local job opportunities and small businesses to be established. He also aims to improve the parking situation in Long Beach, help increase employment, and create a cleaner city with more green spaces. If elected, he will work to get people the programs they need to improve their lives and their communities and close the wealth gap in Long Beach.

Rich has 3 cats that he rescued named Buddy, Elsa, and Leo. He loves to travel and spend weekends in nature—relaxing and enjoying natural beauty!