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  Leno, Mark
NameMark Leno
Address268 Bush St
San Francisco, California , United States
Website [Link]
Born September 24, 1951 (69 years)
ContributorSummer Intern
Last ModifedRBH
Jan 09, 2018 08:28pm
Tags Jewish - Judaism - Gay -
InfoElected to the Assembly in 2002, Assemblyman Mark Leno represents the 13th District, which encompasses the eastern portion of San Francisco. He is one of the first openly gay men ever elected to the Assembly. He currently chairs the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which oversees all bills with a fiscal impact on the state. He also serves on the Election & Redistricting and Labor Committees, as well as the Public Safety Committee, which he chaired through 2006. Prior to his election to the Assembly, Leno served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from April 1998 to November 2002.

In 2007, Leno continued his pioneering battle for equal rights for LGBT couples and their families by introducing AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. This historic civil rights legislation would allow same sex couples to marry in California. In 2005, Leno’s nearly identical AB 849 was the first marriage equality bill in United States history to be approved by both houses of a state legislature.

During his second term, Assemblyman Leno was successful in getting 21 bills passed by the legislature and signed into law, including laws that expand solar power generation, provide LGBT seniors with culturally competent services, encourage stores in low income neighborhoo ds to offer healthy foods, reform the initiative process, provide protection to women and men experiencing domestic violence, ensure the continuation of San Francisco’s mobile methadone treatment program and promote better educational outcomes for foster youth.

A native of Wisconsin, Leno attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, then went on to become valedictorian of his graduating class at the American College of Jerusalem, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree. Leno also spent two years in Rabbinical Studies at The Hebrew Union College in New York. He is the owner of Budget Signs, Inc., a small business he founded in 1978 and operated with his life partner, Douglas Jackson. Together the two entrepreneurs steadily grew their sign business until Jackson passed away from complications relating to HIV/AIDS in 1990. This deep loss would not deter Leno. Instead, he redoubled his efforts in community service.

Leno has been honored for his public service by many organizations. In 2006 he was honored by the Stonewall Democratic Club in Los Angeles with their Sheila Kuehl Trail Blazer Award, The Lazarus Project’s Lazarus Award for Marriage Equality, The California Young Democrat’s Mentor of the Year, Partners Ending Domestic Abuse’s Kamala Harris Leadership Award and Temple Beth Chayim Chadashim’s 2006 Herman Humanitarian Award.

In 2005, he was honored by the California Attorney’s for Criminal Justice with their “Scales of Justice Award” in recognition to his fair and balanced approach in chairing the Assembly Public Safety Committee. He also received the “Lifetime Friend and Champion” award from the Harvey Milk Democratic Club and was chosen by OUT Magazine as one of 2005’s “Most Intriguing Gay Men.”

In 2004, Leno received the Award of Courage from American Foundation for AIDS Research and he was honored by the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association of Los Angeles at their 25th Anniversary Gala for his commitment to marriage equality. He also served as Chair of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) Legislative Caucus.

In July of 2003, he was awarded the Housing Hero of the Year awarded by the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition. Additionally, Leno was proud to receive honors from the American Heart Association, the California Association of Food Banks and Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays.

During his first term, Assemblyman Leno was successful in getting 28 bills passed by the legislature and signed into law, including laws that protect Californians from gender based discrimination in housing and employment, amend the Ellis Act to preserve affordable housing for seniors and the disabled, streamline the administration of rapid HIV tests to at-risk populations, allow rehabilitated drug offenders to access food stamps and allow San Francisco to build large-scale solar systems on public buildings. He also served as chair of the Select Committees on LGBT Families and Childhood Obesity & Related Diabetes.

While on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Leno authored landmark legislation in the areas of affordable housing, universal health care for children, solar energy, late night entertainment, bond oversight, small business services, City CarShare, medical cannabis, equal access to services, and LGBT civil rights.

He has served on the boards of many local and national organizations including the LGBT Community Center Project, Haight Ashbury Community Services, the American Jewish Congress, Mobilization Against AIDS, and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. He is the recipient of the 1995 Small Business Owner of the Year Award from the Small Business Network, the 1995 Hormel Community Service Award from the Human Rights Campaign and the James R. Sylla Award from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

Outside of his capacity as an elected official, Leno has been a tireless supporter of nonprofit organizations in San Francisco, frequently appearing to show support at events and lending a hand wherever possible. He was a statewide spokesman for the No on Prop 22 Campaign (the Knight Initiative) and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in August 2000 and in Boston in August 2004.


Title Purchase Contributor

Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor
Jun 14, 2010 01:15pm Proposed Legislation Leno bill would limit PG&E political spending  Article Craverguy 
Sep 07, 2007 08:00pm Commentary Perata and Migden Join To Stop Leno Bills  Article Bob Sacamano 

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