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'We'll See' — SF Mayor Breed Wouldn't Rule Out Joining Biden-Harris Administration, if Asked

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Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (C) (D-CA) raises her arms with San Francisco Mayor London Breed (R) and San Francisco Sun Reporter publisher Amelia Ashley-Ward (L) during the San Francisco Black Newspaper’s Anniversary Celebration on May 09, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Kamala Harris spoke at the 75th anniversary gala celebration for the San Francisco Sun-Reporter newspaper.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' ascension to the White House is felt keenly in the Bay Area. Harris was born in Oakland, attended grade school in Berkeley and worked in San Francisco government, where she first met Mayor London Breed.

Both are Black women leaders who have inspired others into office, but who also developed a friendship despite the notoriously rough-and-tumble world of San Francisco politics. In light of their history and impact on the Bay Area, Mayor Breed sat down with KQED to share her perspective on Harris' historic rise.

In this Nov. 7 interview, the day news of President-elect Joe Biden's win emerged, Breed sheds light on how she met Harris, and if she would join Harris' administration should an invitation come her way.

There is a history of San Francisco elected officials being considered for presidential administrations: In 1993, now-City Attorney Dennis Herrera was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve in the U.S. Maritime Administration, and former-Mayor Ed Lee was a much-talked-of pick for Hillary Clinton's proposed administration. Breed is also rumored to be among Gov. Gavin Newsom's choices for Harris' Senate seat, which he will have the opportunity to appoint.


Kate Wolffe: Mayor, can you tell us a little bit about when you first met (Vice President-elect) Kamala Harris?

Mayor London Breed: Well, I met her many years ago when she actually worked for the city attorney's office in San Francisco before she even ran for office. And I had a tremendous amount of respect for her because she was a part of an organization called Partners Ending Domestic Abuse, and she was raising money to help support victims of domestic violence. And she instantly became not just a friend, but like an adviser and someone who encouraged and supported me. And we've just been friends ever since.

So it's really pretty remarkable what's happened here. And I couldn't think of a better person to serve in this capacity.

And you have before also referenced comments of Sen. Harris being a friend and mentor to you, a 'Bay Area sister.' How are you feeling in general today?

It's almost like it's not even real, but it's real. I am I'm feeling really good. I'm feeling optimistic about the future of our country, especially because Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are such amazing people. And I know they're going to do an extraordinary job. They have a huge responsibility.

But that means people like myself who are mayors all over the country and other leaders in respective cities throughout the country, we got to do our part too, to make sure that they are supported, because these last four years have been very challenging to live through. So we got a lot of change that we need.

I'm wondering, should the vice president-elect make it clear that you have a place in her administration — whether subcabinet or otherwise — would you consider moving up to a higher office there?

Well, I got to tell you, I love being mayor. I'm really focused on being mayor. And I'm also focused on enjoying this victory and the future.

I just, I'm not certain how I might feel about moving from this incredible opportunity as mayor. I think I am great here as mayor and I want to focus on that job.

So we'll see. I want to be supportive. I want to be helpful.

But I also want to make sure that I'm taking care of San Francisco.

You initially backed Mayor Mike Bloomberg for president. Are you concerned about a Joe Biden presidency in any way? Were there any policies of Biden's that gave you pause?

I wasn't concerned about Joe Biden's policies.

It's just I had been working with Michael Bloomberg very closely. He's been very supportive in helping us with resources around homelessness and other things that he had to address as mayor.

So he and I just had a very close relationship where we were working together. And he was very supportive of me from the very beginning.

It had nothing to do with Joe Biden and his policies and the kind of person he is, I think, an extraordinary person. I had a chance to get to know his son, Beau Biden, sadly, before he passed.

And, you know, just good people, a good family and good for this country.

People all over the Bay Area and San Francisco are celebrating today, but two weeks ago you paused the reopening of the city because of an increase in COVID-19 cases. What advice do you have for people out there celebrating today?

Well, I would love to run to the Castro and celebrate with them, with the music and the fun and the excitement.

But the fact is, we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. And what we don't want to see is a spike in our cases. So I want to ask people to wear their masks, keep their distance.

It's so hard because you can't help yourself after what we've been living through with Donald Trump. I don't blame people for wanting to celebrate, but we also have to be mindful that we've come a long way with COVID-19 and we don't want to go backwards. So we've got to be really careful.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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