‘We Have to Come Together': Oakland Mayor-elect Sheng Thao Outlines Priorities

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Oakland Mayor-elect Sheng Thao made her first public appearance on Wednesday since formally declaring victory.

Thao used the appearance outside city hall to offer new insight into what she is focused on heading into next year.

"We have to come together," Thao said.

The councilmember turned mayor is a self-described progressive and said the top of her to-do list is clear: doubling down on violence prevention programs, efforts to get guns off the streets, and tackle the city's housing and homelessness crisis.

"We are going to have an aggressive housing policy that protects renters, fights displacement and treats the unhoused with the dignity that they deserve," Thao said. "I'm going to make sure we support our small businesses as we know they are our backbone."

The change in leadership comes as the city grapples with major safety concerns and an increase in homelessness. Thao on Wednesday said she is focused on creating a more responsive city government.

"I really believe that a safe Oakland is possible, that a more affordable Oakland is possible, that a more just Oakland is possible and more than ever a more unified Oakland is possible," Thao said.

A number of councilmembers who endorsed Thao believe she will bring a new sense of unity to Oakland's political landscape.

"This is the first time in a long time for as long as I can remember when there are so many councilmembers that are working directly hand and hand with the mayor," said Carroll Fife, District 3 councilmember.

Oakland Mayor-elect Sheng Thao holds her first news briefing outside city hall.

Oakland District 1 City Councilmember Dan Kalb added "I think she will truly be able to bring stakeholders, interest, neighborhoods together and have near consensus when it comes to policies and big budget actions."

Outgoing Mayor Libby Schaaf endorsed Councilmember Loren Taylor, who lost to Thao by less than 700 votes. Schaaf on Wednesday said she is hopeful Thao will continue cease fire strategies to reduce crime.

"Build big partnerships sometimes with people that don't agree to really develop comprehensive solutions to problems that have tremendous buy-ins," Schaaf said about advice for the incoming new mayor.

Thao is now in a complicated position in a city looking for progress and believes she can achieve.

"I will deliver to make sure Oakland comes first all the time," Thao said.

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