London Breed has been sworn in as the first black female mayor of San Francisco.
Breed, 43, succeeds Mayor Ed Lee, whose unexpected death in December prompted a special June election to serve the remainder of his term.
Breed, a San Francisco native, has pledged to address the city’s most pressing problems, including homeless tent camps, open drug use and unbearably high housing prices.
She says she is committed to building more housing and to addressing the mental health issues of those living on city streets.
She also says she is committed to ensuring that impoverished African American and other minority children receive the opportunities they need to advance.
Breed grew up in public housing a few blocks from City Hall, where on Wednesday, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco, administered the oath of office.
Breed frequently talks about the tough love and support she had growing up, especially from her grandmother who raised her.
She also learned from mentors and neighbors who early on spotted potential and encouraged her to study hard. Now she will earn an annual salary of $335,996.
Breed was most recently president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for more than three years. Colleagues toasted her and outgoing Supervisor Jeff Sheehy at their final meeting Tuesday.
Breed thanked her colleagues for their dedication and promised to work with them no matter their disagreements.
“You can’t please everyone. Not everyone is going to like you, not everyone is going to do what you want them to do,” she said.
“And what I noticed about this board, and what made me so proud to be a part of it is, we stand our ground, we do what we think is best and we try to fight for the people we represent.”
Breed is a Democrat, as is just about everybody else in public office in San Francisco. She is considered part of the more business-friendly faction of the party.
San Francisco, with a population of 870,000, is about 6% black — one of the smallest percentages among major U.S. cities — and those numbers are dwindling.
The Rev. Amos C. Brown, president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP, said Breed has the character, compassion and courage to lead the city. Her inauguration, he said, will show “a quintessential picture of how America can become a more perfect union.”
The tradition of an inauguration day reception queue started in 1916 with Mayor James “Sunny Jim” Rolph Jr. inside a newly completed City Hall, said Bill Barnes, spokesman for the city administrator’s office. The old building had been destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire.
Breed must run again in November 2019 if she wants a full four-year term.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s in public administration from the University of San Francisco.
Breed is the second woman to become mayor of San Francisco. The first was current U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who welcomed Breed to the exclusive club in a video message.
Breed is the 45th mayor of the city.