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Roberta Achtenberg
(July 20, 1950 - living) U.S.A.




Born in Los Angeles, California, former San Francisco city supervisor. Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Clinton (first open les/bi/gay person ever confirmed for a sub-cabinet post by the Senate).

Achtenberg graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Berkeley. She received her law degree from the University of Utah Law School where she was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Achtenberg and her partner, former San Francisco Municipal Court Judge Mary C. Morgan, have one child, Benjamin.


Excerpts from her campaign for San Francisco's Mayor election

For more than two decades, Roberta Achtenberg has used the law and the court of public opinion to challenge the forces of bigotry and discrimination.

As one of America's leading civil rights attorneys, as a progressive elected official, and as a reformer in the Clinton Administration --Achtenberg has fought and won countless battles to protect the basic rights of women, the disabled, minorities, gays and lesbians.

The daughter of immigrant parents who owned a small grocery store, Roberta was raised to respect the values of family, hard work and community. Watching her brother struggle to live an independent life in a wheelchair, Roberta vowed to help those in need through public service. Inspired by the spirit of the '60s, Roberta never stopped believing in the importance of reforming government in order for it to meet the needs of everyday people.

Throughout her career, as a civil rights attorney, as a law school dean, as an elected San Francisco Supervisor, as an Assistant Secretary at HUD, and now, as a candidate for mayor of San Francisco, Roberta Achtenberg has successfully challenged the status quo. Fervently independent, Roberta has never let the naysayers, the power brokers, or the special interests intimidate her or prevent her from doing the right thing.

As a civil rights attorney and a community leader, Roberta fought the fundamentalist Christian right when they led the charge to write discrimination into the state constitution. She took on the political machine when they told her, "You people aren't ready to represent yourselves." And she stood up to the U.S. Senate's leading bigot, Jesse Helms, in a bruising, historic Senate confirmation.

Selected by President Clinton, Achtenberg stood firmly on her professional merits and won confirmation to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As Assistant Secretary, Achtenberg was the chief enforcement officer of the federal Fair Housing Act and of the civil rights laws governing HUD programs.

During her two years at HUD, Achtenberg fought successfully to overhaul a moribund federal bureaucracy. She was awarded the National Performance Review's Hammer Award by Vice President Gore for streamlining her office's grant-making program, saving the federal government millions of dollars and improving the quality of service to the public.


Before her election to the Board of Supervisors, Achtenberg worked for over 15 years as one of America's leading civil rights attorneys. She has distinguished herself in the legal profession as a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School, Director of the Lawyer Skills Training Programs at the New College of California School of Law, and later as Dean at the New College of California School of Law. She served on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation, served as Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and was the Directing Attorney of the Lesbian Rights Project of Equal Rights Advocates, Inc.

Achtenberg was honored as the 1989 Management Volunteer of the Year by the United Way of the Bay Area and as the California State Senate's Woman of the Year for the Third Senate District in 1993. She has been honored by the San Francisco chapter of the National Organization for Women for her efforts on behalf of women's rights. In 1990, Achtenberg was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the nation's first lesbian and gay legal organization.


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