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San Diego County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Toni Atkins

Candidate for
Member of the State Assembly; District 76

This information is provided by the candidate

Toni Atkins served two terms on the San Diego City Council, from 2000 to 2008, representing the City's Third City Council District. She was chosen by her council colleagues to serve as Deputy Mayor of the City of San Diego from July 25 to December 5, 2005, during a vacancy in the Mayor's Office.

Toni moved to San Diego in 1985 and joined the staff of Womancare Health Center in San Diego, where she served as Director of Clinic Services. Before taking office herself, Toni worked on the staff of then-Councilmember Christine Kehoe. During her tenure on the San Diego City Council, Toni chaired the City Council's then-newly formed Committee on Budget and Finance for 3 years, the Public Safety & Neighborhood Services Committee for 2 years, and sat on the Audit, Land Use and Housing, Natural Resources and Culture, and Rules committees.

Toni represented the City of San Diego on the board and executive committee of the Metropolitan Transit System. She sat on the San Diego Association of Governments (SanDAG) Regional Housing Working Group and the Regional Planning Committee and served as an alternate to the Transportation Committee. Toni continues to serve on the San Diego River Conservancy as an appointee of former State Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson.

Councilmember Atkins was considered a leader in the areas of affordable housing, workers' rights, and neighborhood services and revitalization. She helped push through the City's first inclusionary housing policy; led the Council to approve a Living Wage Ordinance; and successfully lobbied the California Public Utilities Commission to approve a plan to dramatically speed up and increase the number of utility lines to be placed underground annually. Known for her "back to basics" approach to governing, Toni worked to pave streets in her district, complete three new parks and revitalize six older parks.

One of Councilmember Atkins' key accomplishments on behalf of the LGBT community was her work to persuade the City Council and the Mayor to add the City of San Diego to a friend-of-the-court brief in support of marriage equality in 2007.

Toni has received dozens of awards for her work both in and out of office, including the "Coastal Champion Award" by San Diego Coastkeeper; the Historic Preservation Award from the American Institute of Architects; and the San Diego Democratic Club's "Doug Scott Award for Political Action." She was recognized by the Non-Profit Federation for Housing and Community Development (now the San Diego Housing Federation) for "Outstanding Achievement in Affordable Housing and Community Development." In 2006, Toni received the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Award from the national Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund in honor of her leadership as San Diego's Deputy Mayor.

Since leaving office, Toni has joined LeSar Development as a Senior Policy Analyst, where her focus is affordable housing projects.

Toni is originally from Southwestern Virginia. She graduated from Emory & Henry College with a degree in political science with a focus on community organizing. In July 2004, she completed the Senior Executive Program at the prestigious John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

A 24-year resident of San Diego, Toni currently resides in South Park/Golden Hill with her spouse, Jennifer LeSar, and their standard poodle, Haley.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: August 20, 2010 17:04
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