Green Festival Speakers
Elected to the Senate in 2008, Senator Mark Leno represents the 3rd District, which includes Marin, portions of San Francisco and Sonoma Counties. He is the first openly gay man elected to the State Senate, and one of the first two openly gay men ever elected to the Assembly. Prior to his election to the Senate, he served six years in the State Assembly and four and a half years on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. While in the Assembly, Leno fought for better schools and access to higher education, a cleaner and sustainable environment, single-payer universal affordable and quality health care, improved transportation, renewable energy, safer streets and equal rights for all Californians. His AB 849 in 2005 and AB 43 in 2007 were the first two marriage equality bills passed by both houses of any state legislature in the United States allowing LGBT couples to marry. A native of Wisconsin, Leno attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, then went on to become valedictorian of his graduating class at the American College of Jerusalem, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree. Leno also spent two years in Rabbinical Studies at The Hebrew Union College in New York. He is the owner of Budget Signs, Inc., a small business he founded in 1978 and operated with his life partner, Douglas Jackson. Together, the two entrepreneurs steadily grew their sign business until Jackson passed away from complications relating to HIV/AIDS in 1990. This deep loss would not deter Leno. Instead, he redoubled his efforts in community service.