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50 years in 50 weeks: 1999, Ammiano becomes board prez

by BAR staff

Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive
Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive  

Former San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano began his stint as board president in January 1999. He was the second openly gay man to assume the powerful position and was sworn in by Donna Hitchens, a lesbian who, at the time, was a Superior Court judge, as our January 14, 1999 issue reported. Later that year, of course, Ammiano wagered a last-minute write-in campaign for mayor and shocked the political establishment when he forced the incumbent, Willie Brown, into a runoff. Brown ended up winning, but Ammiano bolstered his career. After the Board of Supervisors reverted to district elections in 2000, Ammiano ran for the District 9 seat, representing the Mission and Bernal Heights, winning easily. After he was termed out, the Democrat won a state Assembly seat, where he sparred with Republicans and passed legislation benefiting the LGBTQ community. Last year, he published a memoir about his decades in politics, "Kiss My Gay Ass: My trip down the Yellow Brick Road through activism, stand-up, and politics." Since being termed out of the state Legislature, Ammiano has continued to be involved in progressive politics. To read the issue, click here.

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