• About Mark

    My wife and I were both born and raised in San Francisco, and after getting married over 34 years ago, we moved to Benicia, and have never looked back. While searching for a place to live, Michele and I looked for a city with good schools, low crime rate, good weather, and a family friendly environment. Benicia provided all of this and more. We couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.


    I am the seventh of nine children, and had to learn early on the fine art of teamwork, sharing, and compromising, which has served me well throughout my life.


    I attended the University of San Francisco, where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics, and then an MBA in Human Resource Management from Golden Gate University.

    I had a wonderful career at Pacific Gas & Electric Company, retiring just over 3 years ago. I started in the mailroom of the company headquarters in San Francisco, and delivered mail throughout the building for nearly 4 years while I was attending college full-time. After graduation, I was promoted to management, and held a variety of positions with the company, in just about every department. I retired after 36 years with PG&E, with my last two jobs being the Director of Safety, Health & Claims, and the Director of Human Resources.


    Michele and I raised our two children in Benicia. Kelly and Stephen attended Mary Farmar Elementary School, Benicia Middle School, and Benicia High School. Both of them went away to college, and both of them returned after graduation and purchased homes in Benicia. Kelly is a 5th grade teacher at Joe Henderson Elementary School. Stephen, recently married to his wife Mallory, is a Sr. Land Agent for PG&E.


    My first volunteer jobs were related to local sports. I coached my daughter in softball for 5 years, and my son in baseball, basketball and soccer for approximately 12 years. I was also on the Benicia Little League Board of Directors for 10 years.


    I was appointed to the Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Commission in 1994, and served on that commission for 12 years. I then ran for and was elected to the City Council in 2005, re-elected in 2009 and 2014, and have served as Vice Mayor for nearly 3 years. In addition to my duties and responsibilities on the City Council, I also serve on the following Boards, Commissions, and Committees:


    * Solano Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors

    * Association of Bay Area Governments Board of Directors

    * Benicia Finance Committee

    * Benicia School District Liaison Committee

    * Benicia Traffic, Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Committee

    * Solano Open Space Board of Directors

    * Benicia Youth Action Coalition

    * Sky Valley Open Space Committee

    * SolTrans Board of Directors (alternate)

    * League of California Cities (alternate)

    * Solano Water Policy Subcommittee (alternate)

    Mark Believes In and Will Continue to Focus on:



    • Low crime rates and timely response
    • Voted to deny the Valero Crude By Rail project


    • Top-notch schools and education for our children


    • Voted against the recent water and sewer rate increases


    • Effective and aggressive business retention and attraction


    • Led the effort to approve new bocce ball courts
    • Strong and consistent supporter of youth sports (coached in Little League and PAL Girls Softball) 


    • Balanced budgets; financial responsibility and accountability

    Mark's Position on Key Issues


    • My goal from the beginning was to gather and read as much information about the project as possible, so that I could make an informed decision when casting my vote.

    • I voted to delay a vote on the project in order for us to receive an opinion from the Surface Transportation Board (federal agency that regulates the railroads). It was important for me to have this information in order to determine if Federal Preemption applied to the project, and if so, to what extent. This information would allow me to more accurately assess legal exposure that might result from a City Council vote on the project.

    • We received the Surface Transportation Board’s response on the afternoon of September 20, 2016. During the City Council meeting later that evening, the City Council unanimously voted to deny the use permit that Valero requested for the Crude By Rail project.

    • At the end of the day, the level of uncertainty was too high, and the risks associated with the project were too great for me to accept for our community.



    • The City, with the assistance of an outside consultant, conducted an assessment of our water and sewer rates in 2016.

    • The study indicated that our existing rates were insufficient to address the ongoing operations of our processes and facilities, and didn’t address the needs related to our aging infrastructure.

    • The City Council was presented with three water and sewer rate increase scenarios – Optimal, Achievable, and Minimal.

    • The Optimal option would address most of our aging infrastructure issues, but would result in a significant increase in rates for many of our residential, commercial and industrial customers in town. The Achievable option would require a lower rate increase for water and sewer, and would address the higher priority infrastructure issues. The Minimal optionwould provide funding for water and sewer operations, but very little for the capital projects to address the aging infrastructure.

    • After extensive discussion with the City Council and City staff, and important testimony, input and feedback from the public, a motion was offered to approve the water and sewer rates at the Optimal level.

    The motion was passed on a 3-2 vote, with Mayor Patterson, Councilmember Schwartzman, and Councilmember Strawbridge voting to approve the rate increases, and Councilmember Campbell and I voting to deny the rate increase.

    • The reason for my vote to deny the rate increase was that I felt that the City was asking for too much, too quickly from our citizens and our businesses.



    • A developer by the name of Robert Schwartz, approached the City earlier this year to discuss a development concept on the 528 acre property in the industrial park, which is owned by the Seeno family. Mr. Schwartz indicated that he had an option to purchase the property, but didn’t want to spend too much money at the design and proposal stages, if the City was not interested in developing the land.

    • Mr. Schwartz’s proposal, to a great extent was an expansion of our existing industrial park. Part of this plan was to build new buildings/facilities that would allow existing businesses to expand if they desired, and to attract new businesses to Benicia. The proposed concept also included the development of the south-west corner of East 2nd St. and Lake Herman Road, with some commercial development. And finally, Mr. Schwartz indicated that he would also like to include some residential development on the property, both single family homes and multi-family dwellings; up to 900 total units.

    • During my initial meeting with Mr. Schwartz, I indicated to him that I was intrigued with the light industrial and commercial development plans, but that the residential development would be an uphill battle. When he asked why, my initial answer was, “because it’s an industrial park”. I recommended that he talk with others in the community about his proposed project, including the Benicia Industrial Park Association (BIPA). I also told him that he would need to be prepared to answer many questions, including:

    - Where would the water come from for this development?

    - Where would the children go to school?

    - How would the police department and fire department service the area?

    - How would you avoid major traffic issues on East 2nd Street?

    • Mr. Schwartz did meet with members of our community, including BIPA, and he then presented his proposal to the Planning Commission, and following that meeting, to the Benicia City Council. He acknowledged that many people had issues with including any residential in the industrial park, but asked us if we would at least be open to alternative proposals; would we be willing to at least consider them. Alan Schwartzman, Christina Strawbridge and I indicated that we would be open to considering alternative proposals, but that they would have to look very different than his original proposal. Elizabeth Patterson and Tom Campbell indicated that they would not be interested in reviewing and considering alternative proposals.

    • The reason I indicated my willingness to consider alternative proposals is because I thought it was important to keep the discussion alive with the developer. The property has sat vacant for decades, and if we have a developer who is interested in working with us to design a project, we shouldn’t slam the door on him. My hope was that he would listen to the input and feedback from the City, and work with us to develop a plan that would meet everyone’s needs.

    • I’ve indicated in public on numerous occasions that I’m not interested in residential development in the industrial park. I’m also on record as saying that we need to develop that property as part of our overall economic development strategy, which will greatly assist us in addressing our future financial/budget challenges.

    • I recently heard that Mr. Schwartz has decided not to pursue his option to purchase the Seeno property. I for one was disappointed to hear that news, because I was optimistic that we could have worked in partnership with him to design and develop a project that would result in a win-win proposal for the City of Benicia and Mr. Schwartz.








  • Campaign Reflection

    A Candidate’s Reflections

    By Mark Hughes

    Vice Mayor, City of Benicia

    With the November 8, 2016 election nearly upon us, I’d like to pause and reflect

    on this campaign and what it has meant to me. First and foremost, I want to

    express my sincere gratitude to the citizens of Benicia for the privilege of serving

    you on the City Council these past 11 years, and my hope is to continue my service to our community as your mayor.


    I am extremely proud that I have run a positive campaign, and that my supporters have followed my lead. I was determined from the onset to take the high road and earn votes based on my own merits. I made a promise to myself, and told my supporters that I did not want to criticize other candidates, in an effort to make me look better. My conscience simply would not allow me to seek votes by attacking others. And that’s why it has been very disappointing for me, and upsetting to my family, to read on a near daily basis negative comments about me, both in the newspaper and on social media. These comments have ranged from subtly misleading to downright false or mean-spirited. While I would like to be able to correct and/or address each and every one of these misrepresentations, it is simply not possible from a practical standpoint. My hope is that the reputation I have built and the credibility and respect I have earned over the years are a counter to these attacks. Also, I have stated my position on a number of key topics on my website, and I welcome everyone to visit my site (markhughesformayor.strikingly.com). And as always, I remain accessible to anyone who would like to talk to me about any issue.


    My time during this campaign has largely been spent walking neighborhoods and

    getting to know more of our neighbors. This time has been immensely

    rewarding. The conversations I have had along the way have reinforced why I

    ran for mayor in the first place. We are comprised of a diverse, proud, and

    passionate group of people; and without exception, the people I have talked to

    have been respectful and engaging, even when I knew they were not voting for

    me. To all of you I have spoken with, thank you for your graciousness.


    I am a pragmatist. I seek practical solutions to getting things done while working

    with all stakeholders for the common good. I believe this is why I have received

    endorsements from a wide and varied number of individuals and groups. While

    clearly every individual and every group will not agree with me on every issue,

    they know from experience that I am open minded, fair, and will always listen.

    I truly believe that what unites us in Benicia is far greater than what divides us.


    As neighbors in this wonderful community, we sometimes see things differently,

    but our common ground is that we love Benicia and we want to preserve its

    small town character and amenities for many future generations. My love of the

    history and character of our beautiful city and the people who live here will

    always be at the core of any position I take; you can count on that.


    I give you my word that if I am elected mayor, I will continue to listen to every voice. I will represent every citizen, not just those who have supported or endorsed me. We will work together to make the best decisions for this city that we love.

  • Register to Vote

    Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2016.



  • Endorsements

    Below is a partial list of those who have endorsed Mark for Mayor.

    Benicia City Council

    Christina Strawbridge

    Tom Campbell

    Alan Schwartzman


    Benicia Unified School District Trustees

    Gary Wing

    Peter Morgan

    Diane Ferrucci

    Stacy Holquin


    Benicia Teachers' Association


    Benicia Police Officer's Association


    Benicia Firefighter's Association


    Napa-Solano Central Labor Council


    Solano Association of Realtors LCRC Committee


    Benicia Chamber of Commerce


    Former Benicia Elected Officials

    Jerry Hayes - Mayor

    Steve Messina - Mayor

    John Silva - Solano County Supervisor & Benicia City Council

    Pierre Bidou - City Council

    Bill Whitney - City Council


    Solano County Supervisors

    Jim Spering

    Erin Hannigan

    John Vasquez


    Solano County Mayors

    Harry Price – Fairfield

    Jack Batchelor – Dixon


    Other Elected Officials

    Ken Paulk – Benicia City Treasurer

    Marc Tonneson – Solano County Assessor-Recorder

    Scott Haggerty – Alameda County Supervisor

    Jess Malgapo – Vallejo Vice Mayor


    Benicia Board & Commission Members

    Michael Clarke

    Josh Wilson

    Alan Nadritch

    Ken Paulk

    John McGuire

    Patty Gavin

    Mike Caplin

    Jerry Pollard

    Larry Fullington

    Bev Phelan

    Marty Jones

    Rich Payne

    Randy Ramos

    Julie Peterson


    Benicia Teachers (Partial List Only)

    Kelly Hughes

    Matthew O’Reilly

    Michael Hughes

    Mary Wheat

    Jim Bowles

    Kent Higginbotham

    Craig Holden

    Cliff Nelson

    Tom Horne

    Paula DaSilva

    Annette Fewins

    Julie Klug

    Ivania Martin

    Eliot Palmer

    Mandy Esteban

    Maureen McIntosh

    Kyle Henderson

    Kathryn Campbell

    Joan Miller

    Danielle Zook


    Benicia Business Owners (Partial List Only)

    John Laverty – Laverty Construction

    Jimmy Ponder – Ponder Environmental

    Randy Ramos – 907 Grill

    Deanne Sandoval – Sandoval’s Mexican Restaurant

    Richard Bortolazzo – Coldwell Banker

    Carl & Janice Webster – Star Sports

    Mike Reed – Reed’s Body & Fender Work

    Helen Estes – Metropolitan Moving & Storage

    Jeff Cromer – Pacifica Pizza

    Marco Santos – The Detail Shop

    Tom Gavin – Gavin & Schriener Insurance

    Tami Schreiner – Gavin & Schriener Insurance

    Christina Strawbridge – Christina S Fashion Destination

    John & J.D. Heckaman – Specified Process Equipment

    Alan Schwartzman – Advanced Mortgage Services

    Scott Strawbridge – Scott Strawbridge Association Management


    Benicia Citizens (Partial List Only)

    Elizabeth Hughes

    Tommy & Debbie Vogelpohl

    John Laverty

    Gary & Carole Arneson

    Jim & Chris Trimble

    Glenn & Jasmin Powell

    Kelly Hughes

    Jimmy & Deanne Ponder

    John & Jan Silva

    Steve & Karen Hughes

    Rose & Mike Hadaway

    Tim & Jean Hamann

    Jerry Hayes

    Fred & Mittie Railsback

    Larry Fullington

    Stephen & Mallory Hughes

    Maria Teresa Matthews

    Mike & Cindy Reed

    Richard and Sherri Bortolazzo

    Helen Estes

    Steve Messina

    Flora Reynolds

    Dan & Karen Dion

    Mary O’Reilly & Dennis English

    Dave DeLong

    Katherine & Scott Campbell

    John & Claire Bailey

    Tom and Patty Gavin

    Tami Schreiner

    Terry & Carolyn Wynn

    Charlie & Jane White

    Kathy Walsh

    Andy & Vera Siri

    Jerry Pollard

    Jim & Bev Phelan

    Kathleen Olson

    John & Roseann Nunes

    Mike and Becky Maggart

    Kent Higginbotham

    Frank & Peggie Hartig

    Norm & Mary Gonsalves

    Jim & Diane Ferrucci

    Terry & Kim McInerney

    Steve & Debbie Ridge

    Jenal Sproule

    Pat Donaghue

    Len Corbaley

    Craig & Heather Stein

    Scot & D’Ava Gray

    Jennifer & Bob Moore

    Melissa Montoya

    John McGuire

    Elizabeth and William Tageson

    Fred Everett

    Ron & Mary Wheat

    Amy Chin

    Jeff & Michelle Brown

    Kim Bachman

    Mike & Brenda Alvarez

    Kathy Stevens

    Ron & Nikki Askham

    Bonnie Silveria

    Bob & Donna Morgan

    Frank & Jan Misetich

    Phil & Dori Maggart

    Jack MacKinnon

    Wade MacAdam

    Dennis & Linda Lowry

    Austin & Greer Gray

    Sue Kleiman

    Tom & Nancy Gigliotti

    Dennis & Sue Gard

    John Egan

    Al & Sylvia Thompson

    Rich & Kathy Gigliotti

    Robin & John Tanner

    Dennis Chin

    Bill Darnell

    Lindsey & Jeff Daems

    Martha Core

    Bill & Cindy Bekkedahl

    Gene & Lisa Greenwald

    Greg Bosscawen

    Jack Maccoun

    Jenny Beaumont

    Tom Leslie




  • Make a Campaign contribution

    There are multiple ways to support Mark and his campaign, including posting a sign in your yard, walking precincts, making telephone calls, and contributing a monetary donation. All contributions of $100 or more must be accompanied by the donor's employer and occupation. If you are self-employed, retired or unemployed, please note that in the employer field and describe your former occupation. Contributions are not tax-deductible. Please click on the "Contribute Here" button below to view and print a Contribution Letter to mail to Mark.


    Please make checks payable to: Mark Hughes for Mayor


    Mail donations and forms to:


    Mark Hughes for Mayor

    881 Corcoran Court

    Benicia, CA 94510