About Matt Gonzalez
Matt Gonzalez was born in McAllen, Texas in 1965. He received a BA degree from Columbia College, Columbia University, 1987, and a JD from Stanford Law School in 1990. He worked as a deputy public defender in San Francisco from 1991-2000. In 2000 he was elected to the 11-member San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which supervises a city with a budget of $6 billion.
He is best known for having led the effort to implement Instant Run-off Voting, also known as Rank Choice Voting, in San Francisco, where it has been successfully implemented to obtain a majority outcome without the need for costly run-off elections. (It is often promoted as a solution to the "spoiler” claim.)
Additionally, Gonzalez fought to create a minimum wage in San Francisco which includes a mechanism for yearly cost of living adjustments. (Considered the highest in the country, currently the wage is $9.36 per hour)
He fought successfully to allow neighborhoods to ban chain stores through Formula Retail Legislation and supported local ethics reforms. He also led a successful ballot measure to ban the sale of naming rights to Candlestick Park (although the city sold the rights before the voters could weigh in).
In 2003 Gonzalez was elected president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. This was particularly noteworthy as he was the sole Green Party member.
In 2003, despite being outspent 8-to-1, Gonzalez came within a few per cent of being elected as Mayor of San Francisco in a close contest against Democrat Gavin Newsom, losing 53 to 47 per cent. (Only 3 per cent of San Francisco voters were registered with the Green Party at the time, and Gonzalez had to campaign against former President Bill Clinton and former vice-president Al Gore, who both made trips to San Francisco to assist Newsom.)
Gonzalez is an experienced politician who represented a district of 80,000. He was president of the Board of Supervisors during the last year of Mayor Willie Brown’s term, and served a year during Mayor Newsom’s term.
He was awarded the "Premio Bert Corona” by the California Mexican-American Political Association in 2004 and has given numerous public addresses including the Commencement Address at the San Francisco Law School in 2003; The Raven Lecture at Boalt Law School in 2004; and the Commencement Address at New College of California Law School in 2005.
Gonzalez has previously taught "Evidence” at New College of California and "Art and Politics” at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Since leaving office, Gonzalez has been practicing law in San Francisco focused mostly on defending civil rights.
Vice-Presidential Debate featuring Matt Gonzalez, held in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 2, 2008.