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    Fighting Bullies and Standing Up for Our Rights

    1-PHOTO-David Campos-USE THIS ONE-_mg_5338_highres_copyWhen my partner Phil and I drove to Sacramento in August to sign paperwork declaring my candidacy for State Assembly, we were acutely aware of just how personal politics can be. Just a few days before, we were granted the right to marry one another. The hateful and bigoted efforts of Proposition 8 and DOMA had been defeated, and we were over the moon.

    Now, just a few months after this sweet victory, the extreme right-wing bullies are at it again. They are threatening to fight a law allowing transgender youth on school sports teams by placing it on the statewide ballot and making transgender youth the target of a hateful, statewide bullying campaign.

    As upsetting as this is, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. California has long been the battleground for LGBT rights. While we once had Anita Bryant and John Briggs, we now have their successors, like Proposition 8 mastermind Frank Schubert. And as Bryant and Briggs once tried to prevent gay teachers from having equal rights in our schools, Schubert is now trying to prevent our transgender students from having the same rights as their peers. Our opponents in California remain dedicated, calculated and well funded.

    And the worse part is, the bullying is not just confined to LGBT rights. The Republicans in Washington tried to bully Americans by holding our government hostage. The big banks are bullying homeowners with unfair foreclosures. And here in San Francisco, greedy realtors are bullying tenants with harassment and illegal evictions.

    Our Assembly District has a proud tradition of electing leaders who don’t cave in or negotiate with bullies, but fight them. Since 1996, we have elected LGBT pioneers such as Carole Migden, Mark Leno and Tom Ammiano. All leaders who have blazed new trails, not just for our LGBT rights, but for all Californians who are being picked on and bullied, such as school kids, the working poor and immigrant families. I would be proud to carry on this tradition in the State Assembly of standing up to these bullies, and legislating to level the playing field. My campaign is about fighting for fairness, equal treatment, and dignity.

    As Supervisor, this has always been my priority. When anti-choice protestors were bullying women outside of Planned Parenthood- yelling at them, video-taping them, and following them to their cars – I passed legislation to keep them 25 feet away from the clinic. When I learned that hundreds of restaurant owners in San Francisco were pocketing the Healthy San Francisco surcharge instead of providing healthcare for their employees, I led the fight to close this loophole and restore the money to the employees for whom it was intended. And when the problem of wage theft in our City reached a pitch, I legislated to ensure that minimum wage laws were properly enforced, and that workers received their due back pay where the law had been broken.

    My patience for bullies is short, and these are the types of fights you can expect me to lead in Sacramento. I will stand up for the rights of transgender youth to be treated equally in our schools. I will stand up for our undocumented families, who – like mine – are struggling against persecution and fear of deportation, just to live their lives and contribute to society. I will stand up for tenants facing evictions and homeowners facing foreclosures. The District 17 seat has always been the seat that stands up for our community. And as Tom’s tenure reaches its end, I hope to continue its legacy, which began nearly two decades ago, and remains just as critical as ever today.

    My recommendations for the November 2013 Ballot:

    Yes on Proposition A: Help our seniors retire with dignity and stability.

    No on Propositions B & C: They would exacerbate the housing crisis in San Francisco, creating more luxury condos that are out of reach of most San Franciscans.

    Yes on Proposition D: It is an important step towards making lifesaving HIV medications more affordable.

    David Campos is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He is running for the California State Assembly seat of Tom Ammiano.