Tom Ammiano is a long-time San Francisco Democratic leader who has served the city nearly four decades as a teacher, civil rights leader, educator, Supervisor and now State Assemblymember. A native of New Jersey, Tom earned his B.A. from Seton Hall and his Master's Degree in special education from San Francisco State University. He taught English to children in South Vietnam as part of a Quaker program until 1968, when he returned to San Francisco to become a public school teacher shortly after the Tet Offensive.
In 1975, he became the first public school teacher in San Francisco to make his sexual orientation a matter of public knowledge. In 1977, Ammiano founded the movement (No on 6) against the Briggs Initiative, an effort to ban all gay people from teaching in California, with activists Hank Wilson and Harvey Milk. The anti-Briggs movement was successful in defeating the initiative in 1978.
Tom was elected to the San Francisco School Board in 1990, where he served until 1994 and was elected President of the School Board. In 1994, Tom won citywide election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. In 2000, after the institution of district elections, Tom was elected District 9 Supervisor, and he represented the Mission District, Bernal Heights and Portola neighborhoods until his election as the Assemblymember for AD-13 in the fall of 2008.
Among his accomplishments on the Board of Supervisors is the creation of the San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance, which made San Francisco the first city in the nation to provide universal healthcare access. Ammiano is also the main architect of the city's Domestic Partners Ordinance, which provides equal benefits to employees and their unmarried domestic partners. It also requires companies that do business with the City and County of San Francisco to provide the same benefits.
He served as President of the Board of Supervisors from 1998 to 2002. In addition to serving on the Board, Tom served on the Golden Gate Bridge Board and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
Since arriving in Sacramento, his work in the Assembly has been driven by the same belief in reform and good government as his time on the Board of Supervisors. His legislative priorities have included protections and rights for workers, the homeless, immigrants, youth and the LGBT community. He has continued to promote thoughtful legislation for the reform of medical marijuana laws. As the Chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, he has been a key figure speaking out for research-based reform of California's corrections system and criminal sentencing.
In addition to the Public Safety Committee, Assemblymember Ammiano is a member of the Assembly Health Committee, Human Services Committee, Transportation Committee and Joint Committee on the Arts. Additionally, he is a member of the State Legislature's LGBT Caucus and a member of the Environmental Caucus and the Assembly Coastal Caucus.