London Breed is the first black woman elected to the San Francisco mayor’s seat.
She won a little over half of the votes in a tight race. Breed won out over former state Senator Mark Leno and Supervisor Jane Kim, the second closest candidate in votes, conceded and congratulated the former acting mayor on her new job on Wednesday.
The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that the win was a historic one, not just for the city, but across the country as well.
“I grew up in some of the most challenging of circumstances,” Breed said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. “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.”
Breed’s political career began in 2012 when she joined the city’s Board of Supervisors. She became acting mayor when Mayor Ed Lee died in office last December. Winning this election ensures she will serve out the rest of Lee’s four-year term until 2020.
The election was a close one but is seen as a sign of progress for women in politics. When Breed takes office, she will become the only female mayor leading one of the top 15 largest U.S. cities. According to Vogue, she’s only the second woman to have held the mayorship in the city’s history. The other was current California Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Breed will have to take on many of America’s most pressing issues in the city that has been hit hard with the exorbitant cost of living and homelessness. Breed watched the effects of gentrification firsthand as a native San Francisco resident who grew up in public housing. The black population in the city has plummeted as property values have skyrocketed.