DA Chesa Boudin appoints David Campos chief of staff

Bernie-Sanders-David-Campos-campaigning-2016-1400x1050, DA Chesa Boudin appoints David Campos chief of staff, Local News & Views
In 2016, Bernie Sanders campaigned with David Campos, knowing he was a trusted leader in San Francisco. The following year, Campos was elected to chair the San Francisco Democratic Party, promising a progressive agenda.

by Rachel Marshall

San Francisco – Today, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced that longtime San Francisco public servant David Campos will serve as the District Attorney’s Office’s new chief of staff. Mr. Campos’s public service includes three years on the San Francisco Police Commission as well as eight years on the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Campos offers a deep understanding of the San Francisco community’s needs and an ability to form unlikely coalitions. Mr. Campos, who is Latino, gay and a formerly undocumented immigrant, also brings a personal connection to the struggles that many San Franciscans face in achieving access to justice. 

“It is a great honor to welcome David to the District Attorney’s Office, where he will play a pivotal role in implementing our vision of a decarceral, data-driven approach to public safety,” said District Attorney Boudin. “David’s lengthy record of successful advocacy for the most vulnerable, his ability to unite others around common goals, and his extensive legal experience make him perfectly suited for our office and for this important position. I am thrilled he is joining our team and am excited for all that we will accomplish as we push for a more just criminal legal system.”

Mr. Campos shares District Attorney Boudin’s enthusiasm for his new position. “District Attorney Boudin has been at the forefront of criminal justice reforms that dramatically improve our legal system by addressing the root causes of crime while also working to keep the public safe,” said Mr. Campos. “I have been impressed by the pace and breadth of the reforms already implemented. I am excited to be joining an office that is thinking big and is serving as a model to the rest of the nation.”

Since March 2017, Mr. Campos has been serving as deputy county executive for the County of Santa Clara. In this role, Mr. Campos helped establish the Division of Equity and Social Justice, and has approached the county’s operations through an equity lens.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Campos has been serving as lead public information officer for the county’s Emergency Operations Center, which is responsible for the county’s COVID-19 response. Mr. Campos has been overseeing all communications and community outreach, including in the hardest hit communities. Under his leadership, the county developed a Community Health Worker program that conducts door-to-door outreach to prevent transmission in the Latinx community and other communities. 

Mr. Campos overcame tremendous obstacles from a young age – which inspired his commitment to public service. He was born in Guatemala and came to the United States at the age of 14 as his family fled war. He and his family had previously attempted to seek refuge in the United States three years earlier but were deported back to Guatemala after being jailed in a detention camp by immigration authorities. 

Despite speaking no English initially, Mr. Campos excelled in the public schools he attended in South Central Los Angeles and graduated from Jefferson High School at the top of his class. He earned scholarships to both Stanford University and Harvard Law School. 

Mr. Campos began his career in public service in 1999, working as a deputy city attorney for the City and County of San Francisco. He also served as general counsel for San Francisco Unified School District, where he oversaw the city’s school desegregation program and managed day-to-day operations for the district’s legal offices. 

Mr. Campos also brings experience working on public safety issues. In 2005, he was appointed to the San Francisco Police Commission, where he served for three years. During that time, he worked to reduce violence in the Mission and to promote community policing approaches.

“For too long the cries and demands for justice have gone unheard. Who better to listen than a true champion of justice reform? David Campos is grounded in community and understands firsthand as a person of color the implicit bias that exists within our systems.”

Mr. Campos continued his public interest work as a member of the Board of Supervisors beginning in 2008. He was reelected in 2012 and remained on the Board of Supervisors representing District 9 until 2016. During his time on the Board of Supervisors, Mr. Campos championed groundbreaking policies on issues ranging from immigration to transportation, health care, gender equity and the environment. 

Mr. Campos was elected the chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party after being unanimously voted in by the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee in 2017. One of his first acts upon assuming the position was to introduce a resolution condemning President Trump’s exclusion of transgender persons from the military. He has continued to unite the party and advance issues of social justice.

San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton praised the appointment. “I am looking forward to continued work on justice reform with David Campos as chief of staff at the DA’s Office,” he explained. “David is a visionary of reform and an advocate for equitable voice in government. 

“For too long the cries and demands for justice have gone unheard. Who better to listen than a true champion of justice reform? David Campos is grounded in community and understands firsthand as a person of color the implicit bias that exists within our systems.”

San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen previously worked as chief of staff to Mr. Campos when he was on the Board of Supervisors. “Many of us know from watching David’s career what an inspiring and effective leader he is – but what I am lucky enough to also know is how wonderful it is to work with him,” she said. 

“It is hard to overstate how much I have learned from him: He brings vision, determination and a sense of purpose to every role. His commitment to justice for the most vulnerable has inspired my approach to my role as a supervisor. He will be a real asset to DA Boudin’s District Attorney’s Office and I am looking forward to seeing all that the office continues to accomplish.”

Community leaders echoed these sentiments, and emphasized Mr. Campos’s leadership in the Latinx community. “In my current role and for more than 10 years now, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with and learn from David Campos. His track record as the first Central American member of the SF Board of Supervisors is not only a source of community pride, but also clear evidence of his commitment to and success in engaging those most impacted in the process of informing, advocating and achieving ground-up policies that are responsive, timely and measurably improve the lives of ALL San Franciscans,” said Lariza Dugan Cuadra, Executive Director of CARECEN SF. 

“We congratulate District Attorney Boudin for his wise choice and are confident about the critical role David Campos will play in achieving systemic reform in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.”

As chief of staff at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Mr. Campos will assume the role recently vacated by Cristine DeBerry, who left the District Attorney’s Office recently to form the Prosecutors’ Alliance, an advocacy group designed to advance criminal justice reform. District Attorney Boudin was one of the founding prosecutors in the Prosecutors’ Alliance. Mr. Campos is scheduled to start his new position on Oct. 19, 2020.

Rachel Marshall is director of communications and policy advisor and an assistant district attorney in the office of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. She can be reached at Rachel.Marshall@sfgov.org. The DA’s Office can also be reached by mail to San Francisco District Attorney, 350 Rhode Island St., North Building, Suite 400N, San Francisco, CA 94103, by calling 628-652-4000 or by tweeting @SFDAOffice.