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In Recognition of John Avalos

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

In Recognition of John Avalos

Congresswoman Jackie Speier
4 January 2017

HON. JACKIE SPEIER of California in the House of Representatives
Wednesday, January 4, 2017

  Ms. SPEIER. Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor John Avalos for eight years 
of exemplary service on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. John 
has demonstrated remarkable leadership and collaboration in his efforts 
to improve the quality of life for all San Francisco residents and 
particularly those in District 11. He has been a tireless champion of 
affordable housing, social services, infrastructure and clean energy.
  Representing District 11, one of San Francisco's most vibrant and 
diverse districts, John began his work on the board in 2008 at the 
height of the Great Recession. He served as the Chair of the Budget and 
Finance Committee leading San Francisco through the daunting process of 
closing a billion dollar budget hole while saving jobs and essential 
services for seniors and children. His commitment to jobs didn't stop 
with those early years. One of his recent pieces of legislation 
provided thousands of living wage jobs to San Francisco residents, 
earning him the reputation as a protector of working-class families.
  John also introduced legislation protecting tenants of foreclosed 
properties and providing rental assistance for low-income families. His 
bill creating a real estate transfer tax has brought in $50 million in 
annual city revenue.
  In his current role as the Chair of the Transportation Authority, 
Supervisor Avalos oversees the analysis, design and funding for long-
term transportation planning for the city. In the City challenged by 
ever-increasing traffic congestion, John understands the impact on the 
quality of life and the necessity to create solutions. He is a staunch 
advocate of alternative modes of transportation and introduced the 
strongest employee bike access law in the country, the Bicycle Access 
and Safety Ordinance. It allows employees to bring their bikes into the 
office, creating an opportunity for thousands of people to ride their 
bicycles to work easing congestion, cutting emissions, improving air 
quality, and maximizing public transportation.
  It was at John's urging that the Employees' Retirement System 
divested almost $600 million in holdings from the top 200 fossil fuel 
companies. He authored Citizens United Measure Prop G, a policy 
opposing corporate personhood which was overwhelmingly approved by 
voters. He has taken on financial fraud, launching an investigation in 
2013 into the London InterBank Offered Rate fraud scandal and its 
impact on San Francisco.
  Supervisor Avalos has been a fighter for justice, equality and 
fairness. As a third generation Mexican-American, one of seven 
siblings, and one of the first generation in his family to attend 
college, you can trace John's drive and ambition back to his early 
years. He moved to San Francisco in 1989 and immersed himself in 
education, organizing and protecting the rights of others. He earned a 
Master's Degree in Social Work from San Francisco State University and 
began his career as a counselor through the San Francisco Conservation 
Corps and the Columbia Park Boys and Girls Club. He then worked for 
Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth and for the Justice for 
Janitors Campaign of the Service Employees International Union.
  During his time on the board of supervisors, John continued his work 
with many outstanding community groups in District 11 such as the OMI 
Community Collaborative, Excelsior Collaborative, Communities United 
for Health and Justice, and Coleman Advocates. He firmly believes that 
real change starts at a grassroots level.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask the House of Representatives to rise with me to 
recognize Supervisor John Avalos for his outstanding public service to 
the residents of San Francisco, in his district and beyond. This 
champion of the people may leave San Francisco City Hall, but he will 
no doubt continue to shape life in the City for years to come.

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