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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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Local

City of SacramentoCandidate for City Council, Council District 8

Photo of Les Simmons

Les Simmons

Community Center Director
3,309 votes (33.39%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Prioritizing Our Youth
  • Addressing Housing and Homelessness
  • Creating Economic Opportunity

Experience

Biography

 

For the past twenty years, Les Simmons has been a grass roots community leader, advocate and pastor who has been on the front lines of the battle for equality, justice and inclusion. He is committed to ensuring that the South Sacramento community benefits from the economic renaissance currently underway in Sacramento, and that all residents are offered the City services and opportunities they deserve.

 

 

Les Simmons currently serves as Senior Pastor at the South Sacramento Christian Center (SSCC). In addition to being a faith home for many, SSCC has established itself as an organization committed to the well-being and healthy development of all South Sacramento residents, especially our youth.

 

 

Under Les’ leadership, SSCC has served as the hub for efforts to improve the community. At SSCC, Les has worked tirelessly in spearheading programs to reduce child mortality, prevent gang violence, provide our youth with educational, recreational, mentorship and employment programs, parenting classes, and events such as family fun nights and skate nights through the Simmons Community Center (formerly Cal Skate). The Simmons Community Center, founded in 2016 and named for Les’ parents, serves more than 1,000 youth and adults every month and reflects the full racial and ethnic diversity of South Sacramento.

 

 

Les is also a well-respected leader in the fight for racial, social and economic justice in Sacramento, throughout California and nationally. He is a former board member for Sacramento ACT, a multi-racial and multi-faith organization advocating for the transformation of Sacramento based on shared values of justice and equity. He currently serves on the board for the Mack Road Partnership.

 

 

Les grew up in South Sacramento, graduated from Valley High School and returned home after college. Les and Katrina Simmons (also a native of Valley Hi) have been married for 18 years and have three children, Lesley, Jr., 17, Ania, 14, and Cadence, 10.

 

 

Questions & Answers

Questions from The Sacramento Bee (3)

Sacramento County has an estimated 5,570 homeless people on any given night, mostly unsheltered and mostly in the city. What are three things you would do to address this growing crisis? Where would you get the funding?
Answer from Les Simmons:

The lack of housing people can afford is one of the biggest factors driving homelessness. I believe local government needs to work collaboratively with our regional, statewide and federal leaders and organizations in delivering the resources necessary and making it easier to build more housing. We need to identify ways to incentivize housing construction, and ensure it meets the scale necessary to make an impact in the housing and homelessness crisis. We also need to identify federal and state funding mechanisms to help us combat homelessness while connecting homeless Sacramentans with the supportive services they need to get on their feet and out of homelessness for good.

Sacramento has a serious shortage of affordable housing. What are three things you would do to help create more affordable housing in the city? Where would you get the funding? 
Answer from Les Simmons:

The City Council’s recent approval of a $100 million trust fund to build affordable housing in Sacramento is an important start.  There has been a significant demand for housing along with an increase in housing insecurity, and I am pleased that the Housing Trust fund includes housing that will help low income residents.  In addition, we need to continue to work with state and federal partners as well as public and private non-profit organizations to build more housing in Sacramento.  Finally, our new housing stock needs to be diverse with micro-units, multi-family units and housing that youth, families and seniors can afford.  Our work on this issue needs to continue in earnest and with urgency.

The city is now receiving roughly $50 million in new revenue a year from the Measure U sales tax increase voters approved in November 2018. What are three projects/areas you'd like to see the money spent on?
Answer from Les Simmons:

Youth programs – we need to expand opportunities to make sure our youth succeed. This is vitally important in District 8 and is something I have been involved with for many years.

Economic opportunity.  We need to utilize Measure U funding to promote job growth and revitalize our local business corridors.  We must ensure that economic prosperity reaches all neighborhoods, especially our most economically disadvantaged areas.

Addressing Homelessness – homelessness is a crisis, and we need to dedicate resources to ensuring homeless Sacramentans can get housing along with the supportive mental, physical and substance abuse treatment services they need.

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