Oakland Mayor-elect Libby Schaaf is celebrating an overwhelming victory in a hot campaign with 14 other candidates, including a handful that were well funded.
Though ballots are still being counted, Mayor Jean Quan and Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan have conceded defeat. As of Thursday, the vote council shows Schaaf with 63.05 percent of votes, Kaplan coming in second with 36.95 percent and Quan third, followed by Joe Tuman and Dan Siegel.
Surrounded by her supporters, Schaaf expressed her gratitude to the people of Oakland for their support and shared her vision for a “new direction for this city” at a press conference Wednesday at the amphitheater at Lake Merritt.
“To all the people that worked on campaigns across this city, thank you for having political passion, thank you for caring about your city. I am going to need you to support the work that now has to be done in this city,” she said.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do starting right now,” she added.
Her first priority as mayor is ensuring safety in the city.
“We need more police, but we also need better policing,” she said. “We need to invest in successful intervention and prevention programs and also go after those root causes of crime, and that’s jobs and better wages.”
“Government is not broken; government can be better, it can deliver better services, it can be more responsive to the people it serves, but no it is not broken,” said Schaaf, who was endorsed by former mayor Governor Brown.
Schaaf was enthusiastic about the passing of Measure FF, which will give minimum wage workers a raise to $12.25 an hour, a measure she supported during her campaign.
She has not yet decided on her leadership staff as mayor but says she will hire a city administrator that is both professional and inspirational. She also attributed her success in the race to her background as an Oakland native and the work she’s done over the years.
Quan called Schaaf to offer her support and issued a public statement:
“I pledge to help carry that work forward and collaborate with the Mayor-elect,” she said. “We will do everything we can to ensure a seamless transition as we rededicate ourselves to making Oakland a safer, more prosperous home for residents of every neighborhood. Oakland is a city where every child can reach her dreams, and we all rise together.”
“I have been proud to be Oakland’s first woman and Asian-American mayor and I thank Oaklanders for the opportunity to bring the city through these tough times,” she said.
Kaplan also issued a concession statement:
“I’m proud to congratulate Mayor-elect Libby Schaaf on her incredibly well-fought campaign to move Oakland forward. Mayor-elect Schaaf and I share a deep and profound commitment to making Oakland stronger, safer and more prosperous. We’ll together represent the entire city, and I’m excited to partner with her on a wide variety of ways to improve the city that she and I both love.”
Oakland artist Bruce Beasley said, “Libby’s overwhelming mandate will provide her with the support to fulfill her commitments on police, jobs and community development.”