Tom Butt

Last updated
(m. 1971)
Tom Butt
Tom Butt, mayor of Richmond CA.gif
6th Mayor of Richmond, California
Assumed office
January 13, 2015
Education University of Arkansas (BA, BArch)
University of California, Los Angeles (MArch)
Military service
Branch/serviceFlag of the United States Army.svg  United States Army
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Thomas King Butt is an American politician and architect and the former mayor of Richmond, California. He was vice-mayor in 2002 and 2012 and a member of the Richmond City Council for over 20 years before being elected mayor. [1] He is the longest continuously serving council member in Richmond's history. [2]


Early life and education

Butt was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and raised in Fayetteville, Arkansas. His father, Thomas F. Butt, served in the United States Army during World War II and later became a judge in Arkansas. Butt's mother was a librarian in the Fayetteville Public Library. Butt earned a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arkansas, followed by a Master of Architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles. [3]


As an undergraduate, Butt spent summers working for the United States Forest Service in Montana, Hawaii, and San Francisco. Butt joined the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1966 and was deployed to Vietnam shortly after. He served until 1970. After leaving the Army, Butt married his wife, Shirley, in 1971. They lived in Marin County, California before moving to Richmond in 1973. [3]

Butt is the president of Interactive Resources, a local architectural firm. He is also a contractor and former real estate broker. Butt founded and is the president of the East Brother Light Station, Inc., a non-profit organization focused on maintaining the historic East Brother Island Lighthouse on East Brother Island, a Bay Area landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. Butt founded and remains a board member of Rosie the Riveter Trust (named for Rosie the Riveter), the non-profit partner of Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park located in Richmond. [4]


He won the Richmond mayoral election of 2014 [5] and succeeded Gayle McLaughlin as mayor. He was sworn in by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday, January 13, 2015. [6] His relationships with other city leaders deteriorated over time, and in 2021, he said "I’m pretty much a lame duck" and indicated that he would exit political life. [2]

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  1. Duboscq, Geneviève (March 27, 2007). "Chevron Access Needed for Richmond Bay Trail Link". The Berkeley Daily Planet . Retrieved March 5, 2009.
  2. 1 2 "Mayor Butt says he's leaving public life after term ends". Richmond Confidential. 2021-09-17. Retrieved 2022-07-01.
  3. 1 2 "Tom Butt, Mayor | About". Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  4. "Rosie the Riveter website" . Retrieved August 1, 2007.
  5. Rachel Maddow Show, November 5, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-08.
  6. Jane Tyska. "Photos: Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and council members sworn in by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom". Bay Area News Group. Contra Costa Times.