Teen marketing director takes on Yee for Senate

The David-versus-Goliath nature of the race for Jackie Speier's state Senate seat is depicted in the numbers: $99,102.19 against $51.04.

Those are the current fundraising amount totals for Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/Daly City, and Republican nominee and marketing director Michael Skipakevich, the two major party candidates vying to take over Speier's District 8 seat.

Skipakevich — pronounced skip-ah-KAY-vich — is campaigning in a heavily Democratic district. He faces an additional barrier, however: He is 18 years old.

This particular 18-year-old, a San Francisco native who lives in South San Francisco, is deadly serious about the responsibilities of running for and holding public office.

Through the same man-on-the-street campaign style that saw him defeat Coastside activist and Republican Party-backed Oscar Braun — for whom he now works —in the primary with 12,200 votes to Braun’s 9,000, Skipakevich hopes to take a seat in Sacramento.

Currently, he’s visiting various city councils, community organizations and high school principals to increase his name recognition in the district on top of the community service work he already does.

He’s also developing a 90-second advertisement that he’ll post on his MySpace and YouTube pages. In the coming months, he’ll try and produce such an ad every week.

“I work with what I have and I use that to my utmost,” said Skipakevich, dressed in a blue pinstripe suit and sporting French cuffs.

Born Jan. 10, 1988 — roughly around the time Yee’s political career began — he is the younger of two brothers. Fluent in Ukrainian, Polish and Japanese, he has not graduated high school but took the California High School Proficiency Exam early because “I knew what I wanted to do,” he said.

He has taken classes with a focus on political science at the City College of San Francisco, but his main concern right now is defeating Yee.

“My responsibility is to represent the people who nominated me in the June primary,” said the current director of marketing for the online media company, Oscar Knows, Inc. “Politicians have forgotten what their job is and their job is to listen to the people and represent them.”

He stands for the traditional values of the Grand Old Party, such as not raising taxes, believing that the more money people keep in their own pockets the better. He also trumpeted childhood education, specifically that of educating youngsters about sexual predators and what to do when harassed.

But when a candidate’s resume includes his election as student body vice president in the fourth grade, the question of “Why run for state Senate?” has to be asked. Skipakevich answers by saying matter-of-factly that he’s a concerned citizen and there’s an open seat.

“I’m not here to advance my political career. I’m here to represent these people,” he said.

dsmith@examiner.com

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