This Up & Coming Politician Will Change San Francisco

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Schuyler Hudak
Schuyler Hudak

2018 is proving to be an exciting year for politics in San Francisco. First, there was the race for Mayor in June, which was so close it took eight days for officials to figure out the winner. Now all eyes are on the upcoming November election where the hottest race is for Supervisor of District Two. Three candidates—Nick Josefowitz, Catherine Stefani (the current supervisor), and Schuyler Hudak—are duking it out for a chance to control the Marina, Pacific Heights, Cow Hollow, Laurel Heights, part of Russian Hill, and the Presidio. It’s a position that was once filled by now-powerful politicians Dianne Feinstein, Gavin Newsom, and Mark Farrell—and one that Hudak is passionately poised to take on.

Hudak (right) and a supporter at a march earlier this year
Hudak (right) and a supporter at a march earlier this year

“We want a diverse range of perspectives represented at City Hall,” Hudak recently told Haute Living over drinks at Balboa Cafe. A Bay Area native and a 35-year-old female, Hudak represents a younger generation of San Franciscans eager to make drastic moves within the government. She has a range of experience: she worked for Gavin Newsom when he was mayor overseeing education partnerships between private and public sectors. She served on Governor Jerry Brown’s campaign team. She was head of development at a digital media company and she launched a video storytelling platform encouraging the public to seek the truth in journalism. It’s this diverse background that forces Hudak to think differently.

Hudak speaks at an event in 2016
Hudak speaks at an event in 2016

“Right now there’s not a single member of the Board of Supervisors who has real private sector experience. A lot of the people on that board of supervisors, if you look at their resumes, they have been in and around City Hall earning their paycheck from that building for over ten years,” Hudak says. “That doesn’t create a healthy thriving city. We see that when we look at our streets where there were twenty-four thousand calls for human waste pickup in the last year. We have a hundred and fifty-four thousand needles left on the street every month.”

Hudak with Mayor London Breed
With Mayor London Breed

Like many San Franciscans, Hudak is fed up and frustrated by the city’s seemingly endless supply of money, but lack of credible action. “We’re spending more per capita in San Francisco than any city in the country, and you would think our streets would be paved in gold, but they’re not paved at all,” she says. She believes there is a lack of transparency in the government—that it’s too hard for citizens to find out where their tax money is being spent. Hudak also points out that the current government rarely shares important details—statistics on programs and the like. “We can’t fix what we can’t measure, and right now we’re not measuring things. There are hundreds of non-profits that are working on homelessness, but who is tracking their efficacy?”

Campaigning in the Presidio
Campaigning in the Presidio

Hudak sees the homeless situation as the most important task the city must deal with. She recalls coming into the city as a five-year-old and being upset by the people who lived on the street. “I didn’t understand as a five-year-old what it was. How could this happen to someone? Thirty years later I feel the same way, and it hasn’t improved.” She hopes that more young people will join her in taking a stand and points out that the politicians who are in office today are making decisions for programs that may not go into effect until 10 or 15 years down the line. “The decisions that are made today about San Francisco will shape our city for the next century. So if you want San Francisco to continue to grow into its role as a global influence, you have to get involved. You have to vote.”

Walking in this year's Pride Parade
Walking in this year’s Pride Parade

With the support of her followers, Hudak envisions a future city that is an incubator for new policies and designs. Through strategic planning, she wants to drastically increase housing so hospital, education, and restaurant workers can afford to stay in SF. “Look, I love San Francisco. I want to make sure that it is livable and affordable, and that we all can stay here,” she says. “If you decide to raise a family, you can do that. I also want to make sure that we don’t drive businesses away because we’re imposing crazy regulations on them, and that we’re focused on the most important tasks at hand.” At a time when City Hall is in desperate need of fresh faces, new ideas, and youthful enthusiasm, Hudak is a beacon on the horizon foreseeing a better San Francisco.

All photos courtesy of Schuyler Hudak.

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