SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Mayor Ed Lee has appointed a longtime HIV and AIDS activist as District 8 supervisor, the mayor’s office announced Friday morning.
Jeff Sheehy will take on the position as a replacement for the district’s former Supervisor Scott Weiner, who was recently elected to State Senate.
District 8 covers several diverse neighborhoods in the center of the city, including the Castro, Glen Park, Noe Valley, Diamond Heights, Twin Peaks, Midtown Terrace, Duboce Triangle, Buena Vista, Corona Heights and parts of the Mission District.
According to Lee’s office, Sheehy has dedicated his life to public and community service, particularly working toward LGBT equality.
Sheehy is a former president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and also has worked as an advisor on HIV and AIDS to former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom as well as a victim advocate for the city’s District Attorney’s Office.
Recently, Sheehy worked as the director of communications at the University of California at San Francisco’s AIDS Research Institute for nearly 16 years, educating the public on the innovative work being done by the university’s HIV researchers, Lee’s office said.
Sheehy will be the first person openly living with HIV to serve as a city supervisor, according to Lee’s office.
Sheehy is a founding member of the Steering Committee of San Francisco’s Getting to Zero Consortium, which aimed to make the city the first municipality to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS related deaths and to reduce stigma toward people living with the virus.
Additionally, Sheehy helped create the 1996 Equal Benefits Ordinance, which made San Francisco the first city in the country to require employers with city contracts to offer equal benefits to their employee’s domestic partners. The ordinance led to similar measures being passed by the state as well as municipalities around the country and more than 4,000 companies have complied, Lee’s office said.
“As an activist, an advocate, a dad with a daughter in public school and as a Glen Park neighbor, Jeff brings a unique background and practical experience to the job to meet the challenges of the district’s diverse neighborhoods and communities,” Lee said in a statement.
“Jeff is tested, mature, passionate, and pragmatic. He will be a champion and a tireless advocate for better transportation, common sense housing policies and public safety for the district and for the rights and hopes of the LGBT community across the city at a time when our progress and values are under dire threat from Washington,” Lee said.
In a statement, Sheehy said, “It is a privilege to follow Senator Wiener, and I hope to build on his legacy and his outstanding leadership on housing, transportation, and public safety.”
“With our immigrant communities and expanded healthcare access under direct assault, I also will fight to ensure that the city’s efforts to address disparities are not undermined and I will defend our San Francisco values so that our great city remains a beacon of hope across the nation,” Sheehy said.
Sheehy spoke with KPIX 5 about his goals as supervisor.
“Everybody thinks I’m coming in here to fight with the rest of the city,” said Sheehy. “No. I want to bring us together so we fight with the people threatening our city, threatening our communities.”
Sheehy said the timing for him to be a supervisor is perfect.
“We have this unique set of challenges,” explained Sheehy. “What’s going on in Washington, it’s really…it’s startling. And it really is an existential threat to the fabric of our city.”
Sheehy is a gay married man who is HIV positive and has a daughter who attends public school in the city.
Sheehy’s husband Bill Berry said Mayor Lee added a family, not just a man, to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
“He will fight you tooth and nail. And if he really believes what he is saying and he’s right? You’ve lost,” said Berry.
Wiener, who has since started a new chapter in the state senate, said Friday was bittersweet.
“I’ve worked closely with Jeff. He has a similar approach of being very straightforward and working very hard, and often tackling those unsexy issues,” said Wiener
Sheehy will be officially sworn-in as District 8 supervisor on Sunday during a ceremony at City Hall. He will then participate in his fist Board of Supervisor’s meeting the following day on Monday.
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