Dec 9, 2021 • 32M

Bonus: Interview with State Assembly candidate David Campos

"I have a commitment to be a champion for the underdog."

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Hey there, San Francisco. 

State Assembly candidate David Campos / Getty Images

On Thursday, I spoke with David Campos, who’s currently running for San Francisco’s vacant State Assembly seat. 

Campos is no stranger to the San Francisco political scene. Starting in 2008, he served two terms as a city supervisor, representing Bernal Heights, Portola, and part of the Mission District. In 2014, he ran for the District 17 State Assembly seat but lost to David Chiu. Most recently, he worked as chief-of-staff to District Attorney Chesa Boudin. 

You can read more about Campos here. Or, better yet, you can listen to my full conversation with him above. It’s around 30 minutes. 

As a reminder, the primary election for San Francisco’s State Assembly role is February 15. And in case you missed them, here are my recent talks with two of the other candidates Bilal Mahmood and Matt Haney.

For now though, here’s how to navigate my interview with Campos and quotes that stood out to me (some edits have been made for clarity purposes): 

1:50: What David thinks sets him apart from the other candidates. 

David Campos (DC) said: “I have a commitment to be a champion for the underdog, for those who have suffered the most. And so, that is always something that drives me—how are we as a society taking care of all of us, including those who have the least?” 

He added: “I think that as much as I am proud to be a progressive and have progressive credentials, I am someone who ultimately believes that you have to make things happen and get things done. And that's what I have done in every job that I've had.” 

6:20: One policy that David would push for in Sacramento that might be viewed as controversial. 

DC: “I want to have college be free for every Californian who wants it. I believe that we can do it…And I do think that having public college education be free to every Californian is something that, in the end, will strengthen the [state’s] economy.” 

13:30: David talks about why he considers his political experience to be an asset. 

DC: “If you look at my approach as a supervisor, if you look at my job as an administrator, in every one of those roles within government, I was an agent of change. I was someone who was trying to shake things up and make government more accountable, more transparent, and more efficient.”

He added: “What I have found with some folks in the private sector is that they believe that if a government agency is run like a company, that that's enough. But what they find is that, in fact, it's a lot more complicated. And they don't have the ability to make things happen because they don't understand that complexity...I think that what we need is someone who understands, who knows the lay of the land, but who also has a track record of reform.” 

18:10: David talks about his recent work in the DA’s office. 

DC: “I came to work for Chesa Boudin because I believe that we do need criminal justice reform, and I believe that San Franciscans want that. The other thing that San Franciscans want is to be safe...And I'm very proud of the work that we did with Chesa.”

He added: “I also hope people recognize that I have a long history of involvement in public safety. Before I was on the Board of Supervisors, I was a police commissioner...I am not for defunding the police. I have never been for defunding the police. I think we need the police, we need law enforcement, we just need to make sure that the police are more connected to the communities they serve.”

22:55: David on why he always wears a bow tie. 

DC: “When I was interning on Capitol Hill when I was in college...I got on an elevator and who steps in, but Illinois Senator Paul Simon...And the bow tie was his signature look. So he looked at me and said, ‘Young man, you look very sharp. But have you ever thought of wearing a bow tie? Because you’d look even sharper.’ And so that, I think, kind of planted the bug in my ear.” 

26:45: David talks about why he felt the need to run for State Assembly. 

DC: “I was not planning on running for assembly again...I ran in 2014 and lost a very close race…I think that the combination of having representation from the queer community, the LGBTQ community, the Latino community, I think that it created in me a sense of responsibility that I have to do it....At the same time, to be the person who has the most experience, who has the clearest record of effectiveness, and who has a broad coalition of support across the political spectrum, I think that that makes me the strongest candidate here.” 

Alright. Thanks for reading/listening! Talk soon. - Nick B.