Mark Leno has dedicated his life to serving the San Francisco community as a small business owner, Supervisor, Assemblymember, and State Senator. He brings a progressive vision for our city, grounded in a commitment to affordability and economic equity. Leno will fight on behalf of regular San Franciscans – the tenants, homeowners, small business owners, and immigrants.
As Mayor of San Francisco, he’ll give a voice to every resident - especially those who feel marginalized or left behind.
Mark Leno has a long track record of putting real people before special interests to improve lives in the communities he serves. Time and time again, he’s taken on the powerful and won – fighting for better schools and access to higher education, foster youth, a cleaner and sustainable environment, affordable housing, universal single-payer healthcare, improved transportation and renewable energy, safer streets, and equal rights for all Californians.
Leno is a leading champion of tenants’ rights. In addition to successfully working to exempt Single Room Occupancy units from the Ellis Act, Leno authored legislation extending “no-fault” eviction notices to give displaced tenants more time to find housing and fought to allow domestic violence survivors to terminate their leases and move away from their abusers without penalty.
In the wake of the financial crisis, Leno authored the “Survivors Bill of Rights” (SB 1150), which protected homeowners by extending foreclosure protections to widows and widowers. He also worked to address the shortage of affordable housing for K-12 teachers by allowing California school districts to build employee housing so that teachers can live in the communities where they teach.
In 2016, Leno made history when Governor Brown signed his $15 minimum wage bill into law, raising California’s nation-leading minimum wage and giving an estimated 5.6 million workers a raise.
Leno also authored groundbreaking legislation that prohibits state agencies from partnering with businesses that discriminate against transgender employees in their benefit plans.
A longtime civil rights champion, Mark has spent decades authoring historic legislation to protect and fight for equality. His landmark FAIR Education Act ensured that the contributions of LGBTQ Americans and those with disabilities are included in public school curricula.
In 2003, Governor Davis signed into law Mark’s historic legislation to protect transgendered Californians from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
After growing up in Wisconsin, Leno attended the University of Colorado, before going on to become valedictorian of his graduating class at the American College of Jerusalem. Leno also spent two years in Rabbinical Studies at The Hebrew Union College in New York.
Since 1978, he has owned Budget Signs, Inc., a small business he founded in 1978, which he grew 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. Rather than being deterred by this loss, Leno redoubled his efforts in community service.
From 2002-2008, Leno served in the California State Assembly, representing the eastern portion of San Francisco. From 2008-2016, he represented San Francisco in the California State Senate, chairing the Senate Budget Committee for six years. Prior to his public service in the legislature, he served for four and a half years on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
He’s now ready for the next chapter, announcing on May 4th, 2017 that he was a candidate for SF Mayor.
Leno has lived in Noe Valley for the past 36 years.