Nov 26 2012

 

 

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Dave Roberts life is a timeline of achievements both personal and professional. His latest one? He was just the first Democrat elected to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in over two decades. If that was not enough, he is married to Wally Oliver and they have five adopted children ranging in age from three to sixteen years old.

The Los Angeles Times has done an amazing profile of this newly elected official in Southern California. Here is an excerpt:

"He's (Roberts) also gay and married to a retired Air Force master sergeant. The two are adoptive parents to five former foster children, ages 4 to 17, who call them Daddy Dave and Daddy Wally.

With Roberts' election to a district representing a portion of San Diego and several seaside communities north of the city, diversity has arrived for the Board of Supervisors, long one of the region's most homogenous governing bodies.

"I'm going to bring some unique characteristics," Roberts, 51, said with a laugh during a family outing on the beach here.

Roberts hopes to concentrate on the same issues he focused on while serving on the Solana Beach City Council, where he is currently deputy mayor: regional fire protection, expansion of the San Dieguito River Park and "sensible" growth.

Roberts is a Democrat in the style of Republican-leaning northern San Diego County: fiscally conservative. He worked as a budget analyst for the Department of Defense and as a corporate vice president for the La Jolla-based defense contractor SAIC. He was a Republican until some in the GOP took exception to a gay man working in the Pentagon.

"The Republicans wanted me to be fired," Roberts said. "That's when I changed political parties."

Some of his first experience in government came from working as a staffer to Sen. Lowell Weicker, a Republican from Connecticut. "I learned from working for Sen. Weicker that you can make change if you're in the right place," Roberts said.

In 2009, Democratic party officials encouraged Roberts to seek the party's nomination to face incumbent Brian Bilbray (R-Carlsbad) in the 50th Congressional District.

On the verge of declaring his candidacy, Roberts was alerted by social workers about two children who needed a "forever" home. He decided that the adoption process took precedence over his political career.

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Now there are five children in the two-story home in Solana Beach once owned by singer Patti Page: Robert, 17; Alex, 12; Julian, 8; Joe, 5; and Natalee, 4. Three of the children have taken the last name Roberts, and two took his spouse's last name, Oliver.

"We don't like double names," Roberts said.

Roberts and Wally Oliver, 55, have been together for 14 years. They had a commitment ceremony in 1998 and married in July 2008 in the brief period when county clerks in California were allowed to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

The family may soon expand.

"Wally would like a baby," Roberts said. "We're not Jewish, but we believe in the Jewish proverb: 'If you can save one soul, you can save the world.'"