Richmond Annex resident hopes to win a council seat in November

Richmond Annex resident hopes to win a council seat in November
Daniel Nathan-Heiss is running for Richmond City Council, District 5. Image/

Daniel Nathan-Heiss thinks the Richmond City Council should prioritize its residents and that the only path to “Pride” and “Purpose” is through hard work.

Nathan-Heiss, who recently pulled papers to get on the ballot this fall, said he hopes to be the next District 5 representative because he feels, "We need progress, not platitudes. We need cleaner water, cleaner streets, faster internet, and more jobs."

Daniel Nathan-Heiss says he is "For Richmond. For Real."

"I want people to know that I’m not an activist; I’m their neighbor. I consider myself to be progressive, but not at the expense of progress. If I earn the privilege to represent Richmond and District 5, I promise to serve and lead with empathy, levity, and authenticity," Nathan-Heiss said.

Originally from southern California, Nathan-Heiss moved to Richmond from Oakland amid the COVID pandemic, settling in the Annex with his wife, Maddy, and their dog, Socks, in 2020.

Immediately, Nathan-Heiss started looking for ways to get involved in his new city. "Everywhere I've lived, I've always volunteered, gotten involved, and done something," Nathan-Heiss said.

Nathan-Heiss said he was instantly taken with how welcoming his new neighbors in the Annex were and said the neighborhood has a real suburban feel in an urban setting.

"This is a really friendly neighborhood; people came to welcome us immediately. But it's not really walkable in the sense that you need a car to get coffee or go out for food or drinks," Nathan-Heiss said. "Richmond also doesn't really have grocery stores, not big ones with everything you need like at Safeway."

After settling in, Nathan-Heiss set his sights on joining the city's Economic Development Commission, which he says was "a difficult process." Nathan-Heiss was frustrated with how long the application process took and then felt many of the issues coming before the commission had already been decided, leaving commissioners with little to do. Also problematic for Nathan-Heiss was that the commission’s city council liaison regularly failed to attend the meetings, something Nathan-Heiss heavily questioned.

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Photo/ Linda Hemmila

"I was told they have a full-time job; you can’t expect them to be there in the middle of the day. But If we were showing up in the middle of the day, why couldn’t they?" Nathan-Heiss said. It was a defining moment that Nathan-Heiss said helped him decide to run for city council.

"I decided to show up for Richmond in a bigger way: To seek the opportunity to serve the residents as a city councilmember," Nathan-Heiss said.

As much as Nathan-Heiss loves his Richmond Annex neighborhood, one issue he has is that he's never had contact with the councilmember who represents his area of the city, and neither has many of his neighbors.

"When I lived in Oakland, I knew who the rep was, and they knew me and reached out," Nathan-Heiss said.

With a master's degree from Georgetown University, Nathan-Heiss's experience in city government began with work as a member of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Crisis Response Team, a role that required 12 weeks of extensive training in crisis care, intervention, and learning to work in collaboration with city departments.

Nathan-Heiss said his role was to provide support and resources to survivors of traumatic events and help put them on a path to recovery. Of that experience, Nathan-Heiss said, "It was about knowing how to help people who are literally having the worst day of their life."

Following his work on the CRT team, Nathan-Heiss spent the next 10 years working for non-profits, first, as a fundraiser for the University of California, and later as a senior consultant for an international fundraising firm.

Nathan-Heiss says he's not a politician and "doesn’t believe you need a shirt and tie to make a difference, you just need to work hard and have an opportunity," and promises he will "work tirelessly to modernize Richmond and offer a new perspective to a chamber in desperate need of change."

Heiss For Richmond

Nathan-Heiss says he wants to hear from Richmond voters so he can learn what issues are critical for them and what they'd like to see from their elected officials.

"I would love to hear from Richmond residents about what is important to them. They can connect with me on my website, via email:, or on Instagram @HeissForRichmond"

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