Skip to main content

Sheng Thao Sworn in as New Oakland Mayor

Velena Jones, NBC Bay Area

Oakland officially has a new mayor after Sheng Thao was sworn into office Monday.

Through music and cultural dance, Mayor Thao was inaugurated as Oakland 51st mayor. 

The nature of Thao taking the oath of office has become a point of pride for many. 

“This is a monumental moment for the city and quite frankly the country, now Mayor Sheng Thao is now one of the first Hmong elected officials in the country,” said Mia Bonta. 

As Oakland's new leader Thao says her top priorities are tackling some of the city’s biggest and most stubborn issues -  crime and homelessness.  And many community leaders say they look forward to new solutions. 

“We want to see many, many positive changes, especially in the year 2023,” said Carl Chan of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. “We are so hopeful that she can bring much changes to our city, especially with safety.”

With 120 homicides in 2022, and three in just the first week of this year, Thao has her work cut out for her.

She says she's focused on reducing crime by hiring more police officers, and investing in prevention programs.

Local leaders say they understand it will take a village to solve the problem.  

“We need a leadership not only our mayor but the entire city council and everyone to be involved to make these positive changes,” said Chan.

Assemblymember Mia Bonta is hopeful the new city administration, with a progressive focus, will move Oakland forward. 

“I expect more of that positive energy and expect us to tackle some of the challenges that we still have,” said Bonta. “Together, united, and with the progressive mindset that is focused on making sure we have true equity at the center of all of our work.”

Monday’s inauguration doesn't come without controversy.   

The Oakland NAACP, and others, have called for a recount citing issues with how the city's ranked choice voting system was explained to voters.   

While the registrar has said the window to request a recount has closed, the county board of supervisors is expected to discuss the issue Tuesday.