San Francisco has officially made history as city Supervisor London Breed has become the first black woman to be elected city mayor, following a narrow defeat of a rival poised to be the first openly gay man to get the job.
In fact, things were so close, it took eight days of counting after Election Day for Breed to build a large enough lead to claim the city’s top job. With about 250,000 ballots tallied, she led former state Sen. Mark Leno by 2,177 votes with only about 6,700 left to count. Following Leno’s congratulations and concession, Breed appeared before supporters and reporters in front of city hall, expressing that she was humbled, honored, and looking forward to serving as mayor. One particular point that she was proud of was the message her win sent to the youth of San Francisco, especially those who grew up poor like her.
“No matter where you come from, no matter what you decide to do in life, you can do anything you want to do,” she said. “Never let your circumstances determine your outcome in life.” Breed takes office next month and will be the second woman to hold the office as well, following U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein. Breed has pledged to be a mayor to all San Francisco. USA Today notes that this is a “message she repeated throughout her bid to lead a city that is economically thriving but mired in homelessness, congestion and unaffordable homes. She has vowed to rid the sidewalks of homeless tent camps within a year of taking office.”
One thing that also deserves a mention is the fact that for a mayoral election, turnout was unusually high at 50%. The contest was initially put on the ballot following the death of Mayor Ed Lee in December. San Francisco is one of the most prominent and desirable cities in the country as far as living goes, but it is also one of the most expensive, hence the homelessness problem that we alluded to earlier. Breed will likely have her hands full trying to balance the wealth that is already there with the need of these different groups, so here’s hoping for the best of luck for her.