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Following the death of Edwin M. Lee, the first Asian-American mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, became acting mayor of the city on Tuesday.
As family, friends, and colleagues mourn the sudden passing of Lee, all eyes are now on Breed. A native of San Francisco, Breed joined the board of supervisors after winning her first campaign in 2012. Three years later, she was chosen as board president. After a re-election campaign in 2016, she was unanimously selected as board president again.
Now that she has assumed the responsibilities of mayor, there are questions surrounding her future and what happens next for the city. Here are five things to know about Breed, who could become the permanent mayor of San Francisco.
1. Her role as acting mayor is temporary
According to City Charter, Breed will hold the position of acting mayor and board president for now, unless the San Francisco Board of Supervisors selects a successor before a special election that will be held June 5, 2018. At that time, voters will select an interim Mayor to serve out the remainder of Lee's term, that would have ended Jan. 8, 2020. It is not known if she will run for the position, but if she does and wins, she could serve two additional four-year terms.
2. She is the second woman and third person of color to be Mayor of San Francisco
Breed joins an exclusive club of African-American women to serve as chief executive of a major metropolitan city. In her current role, she is the first African-American female mayor of San Francisco. The city elected its first ever mayor in 1850. Since then, San Francisco has had only a few mayors of color including Willie Brown (1996-2004), Lee, and now Breed. She follows Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., as the second woman to hold the position, who became acting mayor after Harvey Milk was assassinated in 1978. Feinstein was board president at the time.
3. She is a community leader
Breed has been active in the San Francisco community through her work with the African American Art & Culture Complex, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, and as a San Francisco Fire Commissioner. She served as the chief executive of the AAACC for nearly a decade and has been credited with stabilizing the finances and operations of the organization.
4. She understands what it is like to live in public housing
Public Housing has been her top priority since becoming a supervisor. During the press conference on Tuesday, Breed commented that she and Lee both shared a commitment to public housing due to their experiences of living in public housing. In 2016, she wrote in an Op-Ed that she considered herself a “life-long renter” and shared details of her experiences with housing insecurity.
5. She is a graduate of the University of California, Davis
Breed graduated from the University of California, Davis with a major in public service and a minor in African-American studies. She also had a master’s in public administration from the University of San Francisco.