London Breed has become the Acting Mayor of San Francisco after Mayor Ed Lee died suddenly early on Tuesday morning.
Breed is the President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and ascended to Acting Mayor upon Lee’s death according to the city charter. Here’s what we know about her.
Breed grew up in public housing in San Francisco’s Western Addition neighborhood. In an op-ed for the San Francisco Examiner in 2016, Breed talked about growing up in poverty, with her family of five living on $900 a month. She is a lifelong Californian: after graduating with honors from Galileo High School in San Francisco (now known as Galileo Academy of Science and Technology), she majored in political science with a focus on public service and minored in African American studies at the University of California, Davis. She later earned a master’s in public administration from the University of San Francisco.
In addition to her current role as supervisor, Breed has served San Francisco as Executive Director of the African American Art & Culture Complex in the Western Addition, Redevelopment Agency Commissioner, and Fire Commissioner.
In her public life, she has focused on policies to support housing, the environment, and emergency and health services. In 2012 she said her top priority was to make kids’ lives better. She has spoken publicly about watching people leave San Francisco because of the rising cost of living, which has been a hot-button issue in the past several years as demand for housing has increased.
The Mayor of San Francisco
San Francisco’s first and only previous female mayor was Dianne Feinstein—now a U.S. Senator representing the state—who also ascended after the death of a mayor. In 1978, Feinstein was the President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors when Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay public officials in America, was assassinated. She went on to win re-election in 1979 and 1983, serving a total of 10 years.
The city’s only previous African-American mayor was Willie Brown, who served from 1996 to 2004.
Breed will serve as Acting Mayor until the full Board of Supervisors chooses a new mayor, but the Board may select Breed to serve out the remainder of Lee’s term.
The next scheduled mayoral election in San Francisco isn’t until the 5th of November 2019, but according to the San Francisco Examiner, the race has already been heating up for a year. Likely candidates include Supervisor Jane Kim, former California State Senator Mark Leno, and California State Assemblymembers Phil Ting and David Chiu.