San Francisco

Assemblyman David Chiu Becomes SF's First Asian American City Attorney

David Chiu speaks in San Francisco.
NBC Bay Area

California Assemblyman David Chiu on Monday became the first Asian American city attorney of San Francisco, replacing Dennis Herrera, who served two decades in the position.

Chiu, 51, a former civil rights attorney and criminal prosecutor with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, had represented the 17th District since 2014 up until his swearing in by Mayor London Breed.

Herrera now serves as general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

During his time in the Assembly, Chiu authored a wide range of bills on issues related to housing, homelessness, transportation, education, environment, health, public safety and civil rights.

"I am excited and inspired to lead such a reputable office with an impressive group of legal minds," Chiu said in a statement. "Together, we will use the power of the law to stand up for San Franciscans and confront our city’s greatest challenges."

Chiu has been a longtime advocate for the civil rights of women, immigrants and LGBTQ+ Californians. As chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, he worked to protect tenants from evictions during the pandemic and passed the largest expansion of tenants’ rights in California in decades.

"David’s experience fighting for San Francisco’s most vulnerable communities and advocating for equitable and just policies makes him the right person for this position," Breed said in a statement.

Chiu received his undergraduate, master’s and law degrees from Harvard University. The son of immigrant parents, he grew up in Boston and moved to San Francisco in 1996.

The Governor will now call for a special election to be held within the next 140 days for the Assembly District 17 seat.

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