Supervisor Shamann Walton was elected president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Friday, as the Board met to swear in its newest members and choose the person who will be second in line to the mayor's office.
Walton, who is aligned with the Board's progressive bloc, has served as supervisor of District 10 since 2019, representing the Bayview-Hunters Point, Potrero Hill and Dogpatch neighborhoods. Prior to that, as the Examiner reports, he spent eight years serving as the executive director of the Young Community Developers, a 47-year-old nonprofit that provides youth job training and support opportunities for residents of Bayview-Hunters Point.
The Board voted unanimously to elect Walton to the top job, as SF Weekly reports, after weeks in which he'd been discussed as the odds-on favorite. He is the first Black man ever to serve in the role, and he'll begin with a two-year term.
He replaces outgoing Board President Norman Yee, who is termed-out in the supe's chair. Apart from being next in line to the Mayor's Office, the board president is tasked with assigning his colleagues to committees, and gaveling weekly meetings.
Walton put out a statement ahead of the vote, saying, "I am truly humbled, elated and heartened, to serve as the San Francisco Board of Supervisors' first Black male president. I want to thank my colleagues for entrusting me with the opportunity to unify everyone during this major pandemic."
Also on Friday, as the Chronicle reports, the Board's two newest members were being sworn in. Myrna Melgar takes over as District 7 Supervisor from Yee, and Connie Chan takes over as Supervisor 1 Supervisor from Sandra Lee Fewer.
The Chronicle notes that despite being endorsed for supervisor by Mayor London Breed, Walton has frequently split from Breed on key votes, and mostly votes with the progressive wing.
And, with such divisions in mind, noted progressive leader Supervisor Aaron Peskin said before Friday's vote that everyone on the Board should put aside the “political divisions and camps," especially those that exist between progressives and the mayor.
"There will be time for those fights, but the work in this coming year in an economic recession and COVID and climate change ... is way too important,” Peskin said, per the Chronicle. "Now is the time for true, honest, intellectually honest collaboration."
Supervisor Asha Safai reportedly seconded that by saying, "I know that Supervisor Walton will come together with the mayor and work in this time of division."
Though others on the Board may have their eyes on the Mayor's Office in the coming years (ahem, Matt Haney), this role puts Walton in line for the job as well — just as Breed, and before her Dianne Feinstein, took over as mayor after being president of the board.