John Avalos represents San Francisco’s District 11, including the neighborhoods of the Outer Mission, Excelsior, and OMI. He is a third generation Mexican-American, one of seven children of an ILWU longshoreman and an office manager. John earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from San Francisco State University. He and his wife, Karen Zapata, own a home in the Excelsior, and their two young children, Rene and Emiliano, attend San Francisco Community School, where Karen also teaches 4th grade.
John is among the first generation of his family to attend a four-year university, graduating with honors from UC Santa Barbara. He moved to San Francisco in 1989, and since then he has been dedicated to educating, organizing, counseling, and protecting the rights of his fellow San Franciscans. He worked as a counselor at both the San Francisco Conservation Corps and the Columbia Park Boys and Girls Club. He taught high school equivalency and college prep classes, connecting hundreds of San Francisco youth with employment, health care, and housing. John has served as a community organizer with Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, and as an organizer with the Justice for Janitors Campaign of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877, which won family-supporting wages and affordable health care for thousands of union members.
In early 2005, John began work in City Hall as a legislative aide to Supervisor Chris Daly. He ensured that the voices of San Francisco’s most vulnerable people were always heard. He helped craft the City’s budget as lead staff on the Budget and Finance Committee, streamlining government and finding greater efficiencies, and expanding funding for affordable housing, childcare, health and mental services, park restorations, and senior programs.
In 2008, John was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to represent District 11. In his first two years on the Board of Supervisors, John served as the Chair of of the most important committee — the Budget and Finance Committee. He led the City’s efforts to close a $1 billion shortfall while preserving City jobs and services, protecting essential senior and children’s services and saving vital health programs.
John has a strong and substantive legislative record. He passed the nation’s strongest local hiring legislation, which provides thousands of employment opportunities for San Francisco residents on city-funded construction projects. He has passed protections for tenants in foreclosed properties and need-based rental assistance to low-income families at risk of becoming homeless. He also crafted the real estate transfer tax increase on high-end commercial buildings which has brought in $50 million in new revenue this year alone.
In his two-and-a-half year tenure as a San Francisco Supervisor, John has developed a reputation as an effective legislator with firm principles and values, strong work ethic, and a collaborative and unifying approach to getting the City’s work done.