Local, state and federal elected leaders from the Bay Area reacted enthusiastically to news this weekend that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States and East Bay native Kamala Harris will be the first female vice president in the country’s history.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco where Harris served as the district attorney before being elected California attorney general and U.S. senator, posted a photo of the two of them. “My dear friend, and now Madame Vice President-elect, congratulations,” Newsom wrote. “California is so, so proud today.”
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, who just won her 12th term in Congress, released a statement saying “This is a historic day. It is clear that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are the right leaders for the right time, as they’ve earned the highest popular vote count in American history.”
The mayors of San Francisco and Oakland also sent congratulatory messages to Biden and Harris for their victory over President Donald Trump.
In Oakland, horns honked and cheers erupted on city streets when the major news outlets called the race for Biden and Harris on Saturday morning.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said, “Today, America said yes: Yes, to decency and compassion. Yes, to new leadership that elevates our values of diversity and inclusion. Yes, to a Black, Indian American woman from Oakland, California.”In fact, Schaaf was so excited, she was slated to take a victory lap with Oakland residents around Lake Merritt in a “snail car” and a “skunk car,” her office said. Which might have something to do with that lap beginning at Children’s Fairyland at 1:15 p.m.
“Joe Biden ran on the simple but powerful idea that we should strive to be a united country, not a divided one,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said. “As president, he has promised to represent everyone, not just those who voted for him, and he will put the needs of the American people first.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Castro Valley, who just won re-election, said “the healing starts now with a lawful and peaceful transfer of power.”
“Joe Biden has been elected President of the United States, a victory for decency and stabilizing democracy,” Swalwell said. “And my California colleague and friend Kamala Harris has made history as the first woman, first Black person, and first person of Asian descent to be elected Vice President.”
“We have work to do; shutting down the virus and opening schools and the economy will be the top priority. We must bring immediate relief to struggling Americans, ratchet up our fight against climate change, end gun violence, and much more.”
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco, one of the Bay Area members of Congress who will work with the new Biden administration, said, “We can focus on building back our infrastructure, economy, and health care by strengthening the Affordable Care Act.” Speier added, “A Trump campaign punctuated by racism and misogyny will end with a Black woman in the White House and a bold agenda for women’s equality and dignity.”
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt was optimistic.
“Obviously, I’m ecstatic,” said Butt, reached by telephone at his Point Richmond home. “As soon as they announced it on TV, we broke out the champagne and I posted on social media a photo of (wife) Shirley and me enjoying some champagne.”
Butt said “I look forward to seeing us get back on track with so many issues that needed cooperation from the federal government: Climate change, homelessness, wildfires. Trump was giving us the sharp stick. Hopefully California will go from the president’s least favored state to the president’s most favored state.”
State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, released a statement saying, “America has chosen unity over division and healing instead of more pain,” Dodd said. “The new administration will be a better partner to improve our pandemic response and build back our economy. I’ve worked with Kamala Harris for years and know she’s the right person for the job. She and Joe Biden will be a huge asset to our state and nation.”