On Wednesday, after a neck and neck race in which thousands of provisional ballots needed to be counted, London Breed officially became the first black woman elected mayor of San Francisco after her opponent, fellow Democrat Mark Leno, conceded the primary race. The election, held June 5, was so tight that the San Francisco Department of Elections had to count nearly 14,000 provisional ballots this week, according to CNN.
Breed briefly served as acting mayor after Mayor Ed Lee died in December, but she was replaced in January by a San Francisco Board of Supervisors member, who served as acting mayor until the election.
As Vogue reports, Breed, a San Francisco native, now takes the reins of a city that has seen its black population plummet as housing prices have surged over the last several decades. A 2016 New York Times article noted that San Francisco’s black middle class had all but disappeared; at the time the Times piece was published, San Francisco’s racial income disparity was twice the national average, with median incomes for black households sitting at just $27,000, compared with $89,000 for white ones.
Raised by her grandmother in public housing, Breed attended the city’s public schools and received her bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Davis. She returned to her hometown to get her master’s in public administration at the University of San Francisco.
The 43-year-old becomes just the second woman to become the city’s mayor—Dianne Feinstein was San Francisco’s first, taking over for George Moscone in 1978 after he was assassinated.
During a short news conference celebrating her historic victory, Breed thanked her supporters and the other candidates in the race, adding that she was hopeful about the future of San Francisco.
“I grew up in some of the most challenging of circumstances,” Breed said. “The message that this sends to the next generation of young people growing up in this city is that no matter where you come from, no matter what you decide to do in life, you can do anything you want to do. Never let your circumstances determine your outcome in life.” Anne Branigan