As a former journalist I love breaking news, it gets the adrenaline flowing. Usually when news is breaking it’s bad news. Today, however, I was fortunate to be present for breaking news that was, more than anything, a celebration.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee today appointed CIRM Board member, and Patient Advocate for HIV/AIDS, Jeff Sheehy, as the new Supervisor for District 8. In announcing his decision the Mayor said:
“This was a very important decision. I was looking for someone who is passionate, a lover of our City and our people, someone who is solution oriented. I found that person in Jeff Sheehy. He has passion and commitment. He has an intellect that is very deep and a spirit that is steeped in advocacy.”
Those of us at CIRM know that passion and advocacy very well. As CIRM Board Chair, Jonathan Thomas, and Vice Chair, Art Torres, said in a joint statement:
“We are delighted that Mayor Lee has chosen Jeff Sheehy to be the new Supervisor. Having worked with Jeff for many years we know that he brings intelligence, dedication and compassion to everything he does. While Jeff is the HIV/AIDS Patient Advocate member on our Board, he has always been a true champion for anyone suffering from an inadequately treated disease, making sure that their voices are heard and reflected in every decision we make. We are confident he will bring those same qualities, and that same passion to the Board of Supervisors. We are also delighted that while he takes on this new role he will still continue to be a member of the CIRM Board and help us fulfill our mission of accelerating stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs.”
As the first HIV-positive person to serve on the Board Jeff said he knows there are going to be tough challenges ahead, for the LGBTQ community and the City, but he said he has one very clear goal:
“This is about the kids, they are our future. If we don’t do well for our kids, we won’t do well for our City.”
He said he is both honored and humbled to be appointed to what he calls “a very challenging job.” But anyone who knows Jeff knows that he never backs away from a challenge.
Scott Weiner, who represented District 8 before being elected to the State Senate, called Jeff “an extraordinary leader, an extraordinary thinker. Some who is tenacious and committed to serving our community.”
Congratulations to Jeff, his husband Billy and their daughter Michelle. That’s a pretty cool way to start 2017.