Alternative History

Tom Ammiano (b. December 15, 1941) is an American politician who is the current mayor of San Francisco, California, the first openly gay person to hold that title in the city. Prior to his election, Mayor Ammiano served as a city supervisor and as chief of staff to Congressman Harvey Milk.

A New Jersey native, Ammiano moved to San Francisco as a young man and was a leader in the movement against the 1977 Briggs Initiative, which would have banned openly gay people from teaching in public schools (as Ammiano was doing at the time). He met Harvey Milk through the successful movement.

After serving on the Board of Education, Ammiano served as a city supervisor in the 1990s, focusing on civil rights issues and the expansion of health care coverage for city employees. He retired from the Board in 2000 to join Milk's staff in Washington.

In 2003 Ammiano resigned from Milk's staff to run for mayor. His opponents were Supervisor (and fellow progressive) Matt Gonzalez and former Supervisor Gavin Newsom. Ammiano succeeded in forcing a runoff against Newsom and was subsequently endorsed by Gonzalez. On December 9 Ammiano narrowly defeated Newsom to become mayor.

As mayor Ammiano succeeded in passing legislation which gave universal healthcare access to all San Franciscans, as well as decriminalizing marijuana in the city. He was also a major player in strengthening city antidiscrimination laws.

Ammiano won reelection handily in 2007 over Supervisor Janice Ma. He is ineligible to run again in 2011. It was rumored that he might run for governor in 2010 but he eventually dismissed this speculation.