Ending weeks of speculation, Mayor Ed Lee has named gay AIDS advocate Jeff Sheehy to the vacant District 8 seat on the Board of Supervisors. His selection ensures there is LGBT representation at City Hall, as no LGBT candidates had won election to the board this fall.
He will also become the first person living with HIV to serve on the city’s Board of Supervisors.
“Jeff Sheehy has spent his entire life fighting for his community and for what he believes is right, and I know that as supervisor, Jeff will be a proven fighter for the residents of his district, and for our entire city, too,” Lee said in a statement released Friday morning.
The Bay Area Reporter had disclosed in early December that Sheehy had emerged as a strong candidate for the vacancy, which resulted from gay former Supervisor Scott Wiener’s election to the state Senate in November.
Sheehy, who had served as former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s adviser on AIDS issues, lives with his husband, Bill Berry, and their daughter Michelle in Glen Park. He is well known among LGBT Democratic Party activists, having served as a leader of the progressive Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club in the mid-1990s.
In his statement, the mayor pointed to Sheehy’s being and activist, advocate, and dad with a daughter in public school.
“Jeff is tested, mature, passionate, and pragmatic,” Lee stated.
Wiener praised the election.
“I fully support Mayor Lee’s decision to appoint Jeff Sheehy to represent District 8 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors,” he said in a statement Friday morning. “Jeff has my total support and confidence, and I will do whatever I can to support his work for the residents of District 8 and for San Francisco.
“Jeff is an extraordinary leader and exactly what we need right now – a strong, decisive, and passionate voice for our shared progressive values, and someone who deeply understands the needs of our neighborhoods,” Wiener added.
Sheehy currently serves on the governing board of the state’s stem cell research agency, known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and is director for communications at the UCSF AIDS Research Institute. Sheehy was also a founding member of the steering committee of San Francisco’s Getting to Zero Consortium.
He will be sworn in at 10 a.m. Monday, January 9 at City Hall with the winners of the odd-numbered supervisor races on the November ballot. Now considered a moderate, Sheehy is expected to side with the board’s six-member moderate majority on the 11-person board.
He won’t have to run for election to a full four-year term in the District 8 seat until 2018, as there are no municipal elections next year. And because of the timing of his swearing-in to serve out the remainder of Wiener’s term, Sheehy will be eligible to run for a second four-year term in 2022 should he be elected in two years.
Losing out for the supervisor seat covering the city’s gay Castro district, as well as the neighborhoods of Noe Valley, Diamond Heights and Glen Park, was gay City College of San Francisco Trustee Alex Randolph, who was another leading contender for the vacancy, as was James Loduca, who is also gay and in October resigned as the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s senior vice president.
Others whose names had been mentioned over the last two months for the seat included Conor Johnston, a gay man who is chief of staff to board President London Breed; and Rebecca Prozan, Google’s chief of public policy and government affairs who lives with her wife, Julia Adams, in the Castro and had lost to Wiener in the 2010 supervisor race.
The names of two gay mayoral aides, Francis Tsang and Paul Henderson, had also been floated. Early on Dan Bernal, a gay man who is HIV positive and chief of staff in Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco office, had withdrawn his name from consideration, as had lesbian library commissioner Zoe Dunning.
The Bay Area Reporter will have more on the new District 8 supervisor in its January 12 issue.