Hillary Ronen, chief of staff for District 9 Supervisor David Campos, announced that she will be running for Campos’ seat, which he will vacate in January 2017, and she pledges to focus on the district and fight for the community’s needs.
“If I am elected District 9 supervisor, I promise that I will always engage in long-term thinking together towards building a path towards an affordable future,” said Ronen on Jan. 14. “I will be the kind of supervisor that leads with community because frankly, I couldn’t do it without [the community] and I will be the kind of supervisor that will be the fiercest negotiator for the residents of District 9.”
Ronen said she decided to run for office because she is frustrated with San Francisco’s state of affairs. She loves the city that’s historically been a haven for people who didn’t feel accepted elsewhere. However, she’s aware of the city’s housing crisis, a homeless problem that has reached its peak and a struggling education system, which are all issues that she would like to address if she were supervisor.
Specifically regarding the housing crisis, Ronen has worked on acquiring $80 million to be used exclusively to build affordable housing in District 9. If elected, she plans to build 5,000 units in the next decade; there are 480 new units currently in the planning stages.
Ronen has worked closely with Campos since 2010.
“He’s a fighter, I’m a fighter,” Ronen said. “We do not give up. We do not take ‘no’ for an answer. We are willing to be courageous and fight for what the community deserves and needs.”
Campos voiced his support for Ronen, especially noting her involvement in the legislation he has passed.
“What I’ve seen is someone who understands how City Hall works, who knows what it takes to be effective, and who has a very thorough grasp of the issues,” Campos said of Ronen.
Ronen noted that the time she would come into office is different than when Campos first arrived; thus, the community’s needs are different. Campos focused on big pieces of legislation such as the expansion of Healthy San Francisco program. Now, however, Ronen wants to heavily focus her energy on gentrification and displacement in District 9, which also houses four of the city’s 10 lowest performing schools.
“We’re at a time where District 9 really needs a supervisor who is willing to stand up to the mayor and the mayor’s administration that really has led the city in the wrong direction,” said Ronen. “He [has] short-term thinking [by] not planning for the housing needs of the city and making decisions without thinking about the long-term implications.”
Guillermina Castellanos, the co-founder of La Colectiva de Mujeres, met Ronen more than 10 years ago when Ronen worked at La Raza Centro Legal as an employment law attorney in the worker’s rights unit.
“She showed us that one can create change despite limited resources. She is a good candidate because she has worked closely with the community,” said Castellanos. “Her mission and vision is very progressive and through the time that I have known her I have seen how she has created change, which shows a great trajectory for San Francisco, and specifically in District 9, which is important.”
At her candidacy announcement in front of St. Luke’s Hospital on Jan. 14, Ronen addressed a cheering crowd of supporters. Those supporting Ronen include supervisors Eric Mar and John Avalos, Chief Attorney of the Public Defender’s Office Matt Gonzalez, San Francisco School Board Commissioner Sandra Lee Fewer, Vice President of City College Board of Trustees Thea Selby and Former Supervisor Bevan Dufty.
Story by: Elizabeth Silva