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LWV League of Women Voters of California
San Francisco County, CA November 4, 2003 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Susan Leal

Candidate for
Mayor; City of San Francisco

This information is provided by the candidate

Susan Leal is a native San Franciscan and first generation American born to working class parents who came to California from Mexico. Susan's father Raymond started as a day laborer and through hard work became a union boilermaker. Her mother Louise was a homemaker and bookkeeper.

Though neither of Susan's parents graduated from high school, they instilled in their children a love of learning and the values of education and work. Through weekly visits with her father to the Mission Branch Library, afternoons at the Eureka Valley Rec. Center and as a student at Presentation High School, Susan learned that San Francisco was a special place of openness and opportunity for all.

Susan received her undergraduate degree from the U.C Berkeley School of Economics and received a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. Upon graduating, Susan went to Washington, DC and served as a staff attorney to the U.S. House Oversight & Investigations Committee. She then served as General Counsel for the California Assembly Ways & Means Committee, where she received hands-on experience balancing state budgets and making government fiscal policies.

Susan left the State Assembly to become a successful businesswoman who created jobs and met a payroll, launching a health care startup with three colleagues. Susan managed the business and helped it grow into a publicly traded company that employs hundreds today.

In 1993, Susan became the first Latina to serve on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where she chaired the Finance Committee and balanced the City's $4 billion budget, co-authored San Francisco's landmark domestic partners bill, authored the "MUNI Riders' Bill of Rights," and passed innovative legislation to expand childcare for working parents. In 1997, Susan was elected City Treasurer for the first time with 58% of the vote.

As Treasurer, Susan Leal manages the City's nearly $3 billion investment portfolio and makes money for San Francisco. Since becoming Treasurer in 1998, her investment policies and decisions have produced a greater return on investment than any major county and the State. Susan became the first Treasurer in California to institute "socially-responsible" screens on the city's investments to make sure they're pro-worker, pro-consumer and pro-environment.

She has doubled collection of delinquent business taxes and cracked down on corporate and parking lot tax fraud. And Susan Leal has reformed and revitalized the Treasurer's Office, boosting customer satisfaction and increasing worker productivity and accountability. In 2001, an overwhelming 87% of city voters rewarded Susan Leal with a second term as City Treasurer.

As Mayor, Susan Leal will apply her financial skills, her business experience and investment savvy to close our budget gap, growing city revenues and reducing expenditures fairly. She'll restore confidence in City Government by extending the reforms she's brought to the Treasurer's Office and appointing only qualified, accountable department heads. And Susan will restore our economic health by retaining and attracting business, growing our tax base to fund city services and investing in a skilled workforce with access to good jobs, affordable housing for their families and quality public schools for their kids.

Susan serves on the Boards of numerous community organizations, including Emerge, Safehouse and the AIDS Emergency/Breast Cancer Emergency Funds. She lives with her partner Susan Hirsch in their Jordan Park home, where they have raised two children -- Jessica and Hayden.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: September 28, 2003 19:24
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