HomeChinese American1st Chinese American elected in SF city-wide election dies at 91

1st Chinese American elected in SF city-wide election dies at 91

Political pioneer Tom Hsieh died peacefully in his San Francisco home surrounded by family Sunday, reports the SF Standard.

He served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1986 to 1997 and is remembered as the first Chinese American in the city elected in a citywide election, according to Zennie Abraham on his YouTube channel.

Abraham reported that Hsieh served on several San Francisco and Bay Area commissions prior to his election.

Former colleagues on the Board fondly remembered him as a decent and classy man. He was also founding national Chair of the first Asian Pacific Caucus of the Democratic National Committee.

“He never held back from his moderate viewpoint, but worked effectively across political lines when it came to Chinatown’s well-being,” said former Supervisor Mabel Teng to the Standard. The two worked together during Hsieh’s second term. “He was ahead of his time when he ran for mayor in 1991. He was best known for his life-size cut-out posters challenging former Mayor Art Agnos.”

“He was an incredibly decent and honorable man,” former Supervisor Kevin Shelley said.

“Tom Hsieh was a class act,” added another former colleague, Angela Alioto.

Born on November 17, 1931 in Beijing, China, he immigrated to the United States 20 years later with just $400 in cash.

He was married to Jeannette for 63 years and is survived by her and their children, Jackson, Franklin, Tom and his grandchildren Nicholas, Cameron, Emma, Jack, and Ryder.

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