SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — In a landslide victory this week, San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney won a special election to represent a significant portion of San Francisco in the state assembly.

The Assembly District 17 seat was once held by David Chiu, who is now city attorney.

Haney joined KRON4 for a live interview to discuss his victory and plans looking forward.

District 17 covers the eastern half of San Francisco and includes neighborhoods like Chinatown and the Tenderloin. Both of these areas have very unique demographics and issues of their own. In the Tenderloin, homelessness and drug overdose problems continue to plague the region. How do you plan to specifically address these issues?

“These are issues that go much further than one neighborhood. It’s one of the big reasons I ran for the state assembly. We need state leadership, state resources, every city and county doing their part on this. You can’t expect to solve homelessness or the fentanyl crisis in one neighborhood, as hard as we’re trying. We need to have consequences – effective consequences – for people selling fentanyl.

We need to stop the flow of drugs into our state and communities. We need to make sure there’s treatment on demand so that when people need help they can get into it and are not stuck in these bottlenecks, and we need to make sure its not just San Francisco doing this. As long as there are people coming here to sell drugs and use drugs, San Francisco is going to be overwhelmed. I need to go to the state and say, we need a plan here, and we need every city and county to also do their part.”

Now to Chinatown. During the pandemic, many businesses in that area were effected detrimentally, with people feeling apprehensive because of the incorrect sentiment that Asian people are the cause of the spread of COVID. Also, we saw a rise of anti-Asian violence directed towards people in Chinatown and across the state. What kind of reassure can you offer?

“Chinatown is the oldest and largest Chinatown in the country. It’s in many ways the cultural and economic heart of the city. So many people come to San Francisco because of Chinatown. The Chinese community has been part of San Francisco for so long. I’m going to be a champion for Chinatown in the state legislature. That means bringing back resources so we can open up Chinatown, bring our visitors back, invest in small businesses, the arts, invest in bringing people back, but it also means safety.

We need police walking the beat. We need foot patrols. We need consequences to those who commit hate crimes. A lot of those are state laws and resources, and I’m going to make sure I champion not only Chinatown opening up and thriving, but also the safety of every Chinese resident in our city and state.”

This year’s budget surplus is reportedly going to be sizable. More than $23B more than previously projected. What issues can we expect you to be fighting for more funding for in Sacramento?

“We need real solutions on homelessness and housing and mental health. These are the big issues we’re facing every day, we are seeing it on our streets, people are seeing it on their checkbook when they pay rent. We need to build more housing, build more affordable housing, get people off the streets, expand services like mental health and also make sure the systems work better. We can’t just have people just abandoned on our streets, we have to bring them inside.

But also, people generally in SF around the state, even if the state is doing well with the surplus, a lot of people are not doing well themselves. They are in debt, struggling, lost their small businesses, so I’m also going to be looking at economic opportunity to lift everyone up, workers, put money back in people’s pockets.”

Mayor London Breed is expected to select your replacement on the Board of Supervisors. Any suggestions or ideas on who would be a good candidate for the job?

“Many years ago, San Francisco made history with Harvey Milk, the first openly LGBT elected official. I hope we can make history again. The Chair of our Democratic Party is a person named Honey Mahogany. She would be the first trans person elected in San Francisco and the first supervisor, and also just incredibly brilliant. So I hope the mayor appoints Honey. But ultimately, there will be an election in November, and the voters in District 6 will get to choose, and I’m very proud I’ll be able to continue representing District 6, but in Sacramento and bring back results for them there.”

What else should voters, and the people of San Francisco expect from you in the coming days?

“This is a tough time for our city and state, and we need elected officials grounded in reality, who are trying to solve problems with solutions, not governing based on ideology, or even in some cases as we’ve seen in San Francisco, elected officials who are actually dismissive of their own constituents and devaluing people, and dividing people. I won, I think, a large victory because I want to bring people together. I want to solve problems, I want to acknowledge this is a tough time for San Franciscans on housing, homelessness and safety. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work. I’m really thankful and grateful that the voters of Assembly District 17 are going to give me that opportunity.”