San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón on Tuesday announced he will not seek re-election in 2019.
Gascón assumed the office after now Sen. Kamala Harris left eight years ago. He said his 90-year-old mother's weakening health was the determining factor to not running for a third term.
Before he became district attorney, Gascón served a year as San Francisco's chief of police.
Gascón provided the following statement:
The past eight years as your District Attorney have been some of the most professionally rewarding years of my life. You trusted me to lead our work on criminal justice reform and public safety, and I have been humbled to serve you. We have accomplished so much together.
I was fortunate to assume the office after Senator Kamala Harris. Her smart on crime approach resonated with me and mirrored my reasons for accepting the role. I have worked hard to bring meaningful improvements and reforms to the office. With your help, we cut the homicide rate in half. Violent crime is down across the city and we have made needed progress to reduce property crime. With the help of the men and women in my office, we created the Crime Strategies Unit – a unit focused on stopping the most prolific criminals using crime analysis tools and data, and the Independent Investigations Bureau – created to help investigate and prosecute illegal use of force by law enforcement. In addition to these important crime fighting efforts, we created the nation’s first Young Adult Court focused on helping eighteen to twenty-five-year-old offenders turn their lives around. Against the tide of nearly all prosecutors around the state, we also took the lead in proactively dismissing old marijuana convictions. This leadership encouraged many DAs to join our effort and resulted in state legislation that will help people erase their old convictions which will allow them to find employment and housing and improve their own lives and their community.
The job of District Attorney is an enormous responsibility. It requires doing the right thing, even when it is unpopular, perhaps especially when it is unpopular. To do it well requires a serious commitment of time and energy. I have been able to do that because of the support of my family. The women in my life have made countless sacrifices for my career. My amazing wife Fabiola, whose energy and support inspires my every move; my daughters - the pride of my life; and my mother, a true warrior who nourished my development and growth in every conceivable way, are the most important people in my world. I recognize that without these strong women in my life, and my late father, who gave up so much for me, I would not be a fraction of the man I am today. Every achievement, every accomplishment, I owe to their unwavering love and support.
I have asked so much of them over the years. After two successful elections, I began preparation for a third full term. Knowing full well what is involved in running a winning campaign, my mother’s weakened health weighed heavily on my mind. She is ninety years old and has much greater needs than when I took office. I am her only child and have the responsibility to be there for her. It became clear that launching a re-election campaign would not be compatible with taking care of her adequately in this moment of need. As her son, I must meet that obligation. There is no acceptable alternative.
At this time, I simply cannot be the son I want to be and seek a third term. My career means a great deal to me. But success in the world with a family in chaos is not a choice I am willing to make. It is difficult to step away, especially when we are experiencing so much success and progress. I am flattered by the robust and diverse support for my campaign and it will be hard to walk away from that. But, at this time in my life, it is the only choice I am certain I can live with.
I will fulfill the last year of my term and then allow the voters to choose my successor. I am honored to be your District Attorney. I look forward to completing my term and to a continued role in public service. I hope and expect whoever is the next District Attorney of San Francisco will continue these efforts and carry forward the legacy of the great work done in this office. Whoever it is will have my full support in the transition.
Thank you for your continued support as my family and I navigate this next phase.