My San Francisco Story

I am tremendously honored to be your Supervisor. I am asking for your vote so I can continue working hard for all of the residents of District 8 and San Francisco.

I’ve loved San Francisco ever since my arrival in 1988. I came to this great city after leaving my hometown in Texas where intolerance towards youth, particularly LGBT youth, was prevalent. I wanted to make my home in a place where diversity, opportunity, creativity, compassion, participation and solidarity are celebrated. What I’ve realized in my 34 years here is that this is a common San Francisco story.

When I first came to San Francisco I couch-surfed and worked as a bike messenger. I worked hard to make ends meet and eventually became involved in the community working with legendary activists to advance our movement. As a father and husband, a healthcare activist, communicator, and a pioneer for LGBT equality, I have spent all my life here successfully fighting to protect vulnerable communities, collectively working so we all rise and bringing multiple stakeholders to the table in consensus to find answers to solve hard problems.

As a father and husband, a healthcare activist, communicator, and a pioneer for LGBT equality, I have spent all my life here successfully fighting to protect vulnerable communities

A timeline of efforts I hope demonstrates my unwavering commitment to all in the city:

1994: Castro/Noe Valley field organizer for the Kathleen Brown for Governor campaign

1995: Elected vice-president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club

1996: Elected president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club for the first of two terms. Created San Francisco’s historic Equal Benefits Ordinance which requires any company doing business with the city to offer domestic partner benefits to their employees. This was the first law of its kind in the country and over 8,000 companies would go on to offer domestic partner benefits

1997: Started national boycott of United Airlines, which had sued to block implementation of the Equal Benefits Ordinance. Notable civil disobedience actions included the takeover of a United ticket office by Tinky-Winkys. After diagnosis with HIV, joined ACT-UP Golden Gate to fight for care and for the rights of all people impacted by HIV/AIDS, working to transform national and global healthcare responses to public health crises.

1998: Hired by District Attorney Terence Hallinan, trained to be a victim advocate, and assigned as the advocate for same-sex victims of domestic violence and hate crimes.

1999: United Airlines capitulates due to the boycott and strong legal work by the City Attorney and virtually the entire US airline industry offers domestic partner benefits

2000: Elected to the first of two terms on the SF Democratic Party County Central Committee. Began my 17-year career as Communications Director of the AIDS Research Institute working with global leaders and scientists to find medical innovations accessible and affordable to all.

2003: Appointed to the post of AIDS Czar, advising then Mayor Gavin Newsom on how to maintain and increase services when other funding sources were shrinking.

2004: Following the passage of Proposition 71 creating the $3 billion state stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), appointed to its governing board by Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, and reappointed in 2012 by Senate President Pro Tem Darryl Steinberg. CIRM leads the California’s and our own Bay area biotech community and is creating innovative cures for deadly diseases and conditions.

2013: With Dr. Diane Havlir, chief of the HIV/AIDS Division at SF General Hospital, formed San Francisco’s Getting to Zero Consortium, which seeks to make SF the first municipality to achieve UNAIDS goals of zero new HIV infections, zero HIV related deaths, and zero HIV stigma. This consortium is now internationally recognized as a model for care and prevention programs.

All of the last four very different individuals to lead the city as Mayor going back continuously to 2004 — either for full terms or in interim roles — support or picked me to take on the work I ask you to let me keep doing.

I am proud to be the only candidate in any San Francisco race this June to be endorsed by our former mayor and now Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom and the sole candidate in D8 to be endorsed by my predecessor, Senator Scott Wiener. I am honored to be endorsed by Mayor Mark Farrell and by Board President London Breed.

I am proud to be the only candidate in any San Francisco race this June to be endorsed by our former mayor and now Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom and the sole candidate in D8 to be endorsed by my predecessor, Senator Scott Wiener.

I also am grateful for the backing of both San Francisco Assembly members Phil Ting and David Chiu, Assessor Carmen Chu, our city’s first responders, the Firefighters and Police Officers, the Building Trades, Home Healthcare Workers, Plumbers, Electricians, Hotel and Restaurant Workers, Food and Commercial Workers, Stagehands and the state’s LGBT advocacy organization, Equality California, and to have received an endorsement from the SF Democratic Party, along with former State Party Chairs, Senators John Burton and Art Torres — all folks like me who go to work every day to enable, protect and grow the city we share.

I live in the Glen Park neighborhood with my husband, Billy, and my 13-year-old daughter, Michelle, who attends a public middle school. On June 5, I would be honored to receive your vote and thank you for working together with me to make this city we all love a City for All.