The David Campos for Assembly campaign formally kicked off Saturday with an event that featured remarkable LGBT solidarity, a diverse crowd, and strong union representation.
Four current or former District 8 supes—everyone who has represented the district since the return of district elections except State Sen. Scott Wiener—was on hand to support Campos. Incumbent Rafael Mandelman told the crowd that “it matters to have queer people in Sacramento.” He said that LGBT community community leaders don’t always agree on issues and candidates—“but today we have a united queer community.”
Former Sups. Bevan Dufty and Jeff Sheehy (who lost to Mandelman) were both in the crowd.
Former Assemblymember Tom Ammiano spoke, as did former state Sen. Mark Leno, who once represented District 8.
Tina Chen, representing UNITE HERE Local 2, one of the city’s biggest unions, spoke of the importance of Campos’ history as a Guatemalan immigrant. “Most of our members are people of color and first-generation immigrants,” she said.
Debra Grabelle, executive director of IFPTE Local 21, which represents some 6,000 city workers, said that “David Campos was with us for many years…there are a lot of white people in Sacramento, and as a white person, I would say there are too many.”
Leno and Ammiano, who have plenty of disagreements over the years, both agreed that powerful corporate interests have way to much influence in the state Legislature—and that Campos is the best candidate to stand up to them.
“David Campos has never backed down from a fight with a powerful corporation,” Leno said. “We couldn’t create a better candidate for state Assembly.”
Ammiano noted that “these corporations just come up to you and say we can help you raise money if you just go along with us. … I wouldn’t want to embarrass any corporation so I will just use their initials, PG&E.”
Campos gave a rousing speech in which he talked about universal health care, a green new deal for California, and housing as a human right. “Housing should not just be built for the wealthiest,” he said, raising what will be a big issue in the campaign.
“I know what it’s like to be hungry, to not know if your parents can pay the rent, to be targeted because of the color of your skin,” he said. “I went through a jungle and a desert just to cross the border.”
The special election has been set for Feb. 15. That’s just 93 days away.