Alameda County lost a true public servant and community stalwart last week with the untimely passing of County Supervisor Wilma Chan.
Described by friends and associates as a guiding light, champion of truth and an advocate for the vulnerable, Chan spent three decades in Bay Area politics, serving four years on the Oakland Board of Education before becoming the first Asian American elected to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 1995. She served five years prior to her election to the California State Assembly. During her six years, she became the first woman and Asian American to be elected Majority Leader.
She was later was re-elected to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 2010.
Chan authored bills that included requiring a no-lead standard in drinking water pipes and fixtures; banning toxic flame retardants; and ending the practice of hospitals overcharging uninsured and underinsured patients. She also won approval of $100 million to expand state preschool.
As news of her death spread, public officials and leaders throughout the state sent an outpouring of support to her family and friends. The community is deeply grateful to Supervisor Chan for her unwavering service. She will be greatly missed.