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From progressive to police spokesperson: Matt Dorsey fills D6 supervisor seat

San Francisco Mayor London Breed has tapped police spokesperson Matt Dorsey to represent District 6, whose seat was vacated by former supervisor and now state Assemblymember Matt Haney.

Dorsey, 57, has been a longtime city public servant. Prior to joining the San Francisco Police Department in 2020 and ultimately taking on the role of strategic communications director, Dorsey served for 14 years as former City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s communications director and press secretary.

In the time between his work for Herrera and the Police Department, Dorsey was a partner at Lighthouse Public Affairs, a strategic consultancy that represents many powerful clients, notably including San Francisco’s largest landlord Veritas Investments. 

While some residents immediately applauded Breed’s pick on social media, citing his stance on public safety, others have been quite vocal in their criticism of the mayor’s decision. Now fellow supervisors recently grilled Dorsey’s SFPD unit over purported message slanting, or “copaganda.”    

The swearing-in ceremony was held Monday at the Delancey Street Foundation, which provides rehabilitation and training programs for people struggling with substance abuse, homelessness and prior incarceration. The mayor said Dorsey, who publicly identifies as a recovering addict, represents “what recovery can be when we provide the right opportunities for people who are struggling,” adding:

“In knowing Matt for so many years, what I appreciate is his willingness to build bridges, to work together, to make the hard decisions and to focus on the work that’s important to San Franciscans.”

Both Herrera and SFPD Chief Bill Scott spoke highly of the new supervisor. Herrera said Dorsey played key roles in big city fights, including same sex marriage and sanctuary city issues, adding:

“Matt Dorsey was there. He was a strategist, a confidante, a colleague understanding how to focus on issues and to hear what was in the minds of the public that we all represent.”

In remarks after he was sworn in, Dorsey said he feels “personally invested” in reversing The City’s overdose crisis, mentioning that he participated in and graduated from drug rehabilitation programs on three separate occasions. He said:

“I believe in the full promise of recovery. I believe the local government has an essential role in helping fulfill that promise. I want every San Franciscan who struggles with addiction or alcoholism, to have the same access to care I had and to know that they have the support of a city that won’t give up on them either.”

He said he plans to run in November to fill the remainder of Haney’s term. Other candidates vying for the District 6 supervisor spot include Honey Mahogany, Haney’s former chief of staff, and Bilal Mahmood, who lost his race against Haney for the District 17 Assembly seat.

Dorsey will join Supervisor Rafael Mandelman on the board as the second LGBTQ supervisor.

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