Ms. Jean Quan

United States

Focus Areas

Community & Civic Engagement
Community & Civic Engagement
Political Science
Public Sector / Government
Racial Equity & Healing
Asian-American & PI Communities


Jean Quan is the first woman and the first Asian American to be elected Mayor of Oakland. A woman of many firsts, she was the first Asian American woman elected to the Oakland School Board and to the Oakland City Council. She is the first Chinese American woman mayor of a major US City. And always first for Mayor Quan are the people she serves. A 34-year Oakland resident, she has dedicated her life to making government work for people. Mayor Quan is focused on elevating the profile of Oakland to the world, bringing in new investment and supporting the growth of local businesses for a stronger economy and to decrease unemployment and crime. Additionally, she has worked hard to develop a healthy city budget and reform City Hall, making it more efficient, transparent and an innovative model city. Since dipping a toe into Oakland politics in 1989—simply as a parent trying to save the schools’ music and arts programs—Jean has strived to make public institutions work for people. She served on the Oakland Board of Education for three terms, working with principals, parents, teachers and students to energize and improve public schools. She ran for City Council to bring this community-based, grassroots approach to marshal Oakland’s resources—and to improve the quality of life for all residents. In her two terms as a Councilmember, Jean took on a leadership role and worked diligently on a wide range of issues Throughout her career, Jean has built strong partnerships to develop solutions that work for Oakland. The Mayor is a member of the US Conference of Mayors, chairing their International Affairs Committee, and a member of the National League of Cities. Oakland is one of the few cities to have mayoral representation on both the state's Big 10 Cities and the California League of Cities. The Mayor also serves on the California League of Cities Board, chairs the California Local Government Commissions and is a member of the national Emerald Cities Collaborative, both cutting edge groups for urban green development. She continues to encourage investment and economic development in Oakland and the Port of Oakland: she co-hosted the 2011 and 2012 Mega Regional Conference with the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Oakland to encourage elected officials and business leaders from throughout Northern California to work together in supporting the export of California goods to China and other Asian countries. As an Oakland School Board member, Jean was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Title 1 Committee, representing large urban schools. She is Chair-Emeritus of the National School Boards Association’s Council of Urban Boards of Education and served on the Executive Committee of the Council of Great City Schools Executive Committee. As a National Kellogg Foundation Fellow, Jean traveled to cities throughout the United States and learned how cities partnered with their school districts to improve education. Mayor Quan's family roots in Oakland date back to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, when her great-grandfather, grandfather and his two brothers took the ferry across the Bay and became part of a new Oakland Chinatown. Her father died when she was five, and she was raised by a non-English-speaking mother. She received a scholarship to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where she helped found Asian American Studies and worked to recruit low-income and minority students. She has been married to Dr. Floyd Huen for more than 40 years. They have a son and a daughter who attended Oakland public schools and went on to graduate from Princeton and Columbia University.