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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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San Francisco CountyCandidate for Supervisor, District 1

Photo of Marjan Philhour

Marjan Philhour

Business Owner/Mother
13,459 votes (47.2%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • We need to address housing affordability, building to address need while protecting tenants and neighborhoods.
  • We need to invest in transit infrastructure, in particular the crush-capacity 38-Geary, while supporting small businesses in these corridors.
  • We need to work for cleaner and safer streets, in particular addressing the uptick in smash & grab car break-ins we have seen.



Profession:Small Business Owner / Mom
Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee — Appointed position (2015–2016)


U.C. Berkeley A.B., Political Science (1996)


Marjan Philhour is an accomplished small-business owner and working mom with two decades of experience in public service at all levels: local, state, and national. Marjan’s parents immigrated to the United States from Iran and the Philippines; she was born in the Richmond District at the French Hospital on Geary at 5th Avenue and grew up in the Bay Area. She returned to the Richmond District a decade ago and is raising her three young children here. Her husband Byron, a former research astrophysicist and now high school physics teacher, was also born in San Francisco.

Marjan graduated from UC Berkeley. Her first job out of college was in the office of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever to be elected to the US House of Representatives. She learned from Rep. Lantos that the first responsibility of an elected official is to his or her constituents, and was primarily concerned with helping to solve the everyday problems of residents of his District. 

In Washington, D.C., Marjan moved on to work with Democratic women leaders including Rep. Nita Lowey (D-New York), Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-Michigan) and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Her work in D.C. revolved around the rights of women, the environment, labor, and education.

Marjan returned to California to work in the office of then-Governor Gray Davis as a Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff, former Congresswoman and pioneering feminist Lynn Schenk. Marjan served in the Governor’s office during the historic energy crisis.

Following this, Marjan moved into campaigns, working to elect Senator John Kerry as President as well as with the Alliance for a Better California, an organization that successfully defeated the anti-labor ballot propositions proposed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Marjan opened her own small-business in San Francisco about a decade ago, with the goal of supporting Democrats running for office and helping nonprofits with strategic communications, fundraising, and campaigns. She successfully grew her organization from a small staff of 2-3 to a larger staff of 12 during the worst of the Great Recession while at the same time pregnant with her first, second, and then third child. She continues to speak to student groups and political training organizations with the aim of making space for newcomers, particularly women and women of color like herself.

Marjan filed to run for Supervisor on January 1, 2015, the first possible date, because she knew that her background, skills, priorities and values would make an excellent fit to a Richmond District facing multiple challenges, from housing affordability to transportation infrastructure to crime and cleanliness, to struggling small businesses.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • Assemblymember David Chiu
  • Former Supervisor Angela Alioto

Elected Officials (2)

  • Board of Equalization Chairwoman Fiona Ma
  • San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I'm running for Supervisor in the Richmond District because it is time for a change. Decades of timid and ineffective leadership have left our neighborhood at a crossroads. This election offers a clear choice: a fresh direction, or more of the same.


I want the Richmond District to be a place where my three young children can grow up and raise their own kids. I want to develop lasting infrastructure and return reliability and stability to our civic institutions. I want us to think creatively and collaboratively about providing housing options that are more affordable to residents at all income levels.

I am not running as an activist or an ideologue, but as a leader who listens to her constituents and who has the experience and temperament necessary to seek out and deliver consensus-based solutions 

Over my twenty years of public service, I've seen government do good things when focused on serving constituents and not just shouting down the opposition. This election is an opportunity to create a better, stronger Richmond - my campaign is a campaign of Yes! 

   Yes! Our core values as a community can drive our politics. 

   Yes! We can have clean sidewalks, safe streets, thriving businesses.

   Yes! We can address the housing shortage that leads to rent hikes, evictions, displacement, and this growing sense of insecurity for us all.

   Yes! We can invest in our infrastructure, public transit, and public education without breaking the budget. 


The Richmond District needs a leader with experience in successfully managing multiple complex projects at once, who has run a small business and knows how hard it is to make payroll. We need a leader who thoughtfully plans for future generations of San Franciscans. My goal is to lead on the issues with my ears and heart wide open.

The issues we face include:

  • Neighborhood Integrity and Housing Affordability
  • Local Business and Engaged Government
  • Supportive Housing for the Homeless and Addressing Street Behavior
  • Public Safety and Police Accountability
  • Public Education and High Expectations
  • Traffic, Parking, and Pedestrian Safety
  • Our Responsibility to Future Generations 

Read more on my take on these issues here.


In my time as a small business owner, community advocate, Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff in the California Governor's Office, and as a Legislative Aide in the US Capitol, I have worked to defend and expand protections for working people, families, women, people of color, educators, and the environment. I have created dozens of jobs for San Francisco residents and worked to ensure women, particularly women of color, have a seat at the table in Bay Area politics.  

As an involved Richmond District neighbor and mom, I worked to support merchants in the creation of the Balboa Village Merchants Association, as well as organized the First Annual BalBOOa Fright Fest!, a Halloween festival and merchant walk that brings businesses and nearby families together to enjoy the holiday in our own neighborhood. I currently serve in a volunteer capacity as President of the Friends of the Commission on the Status of Women and with other nonprofits.  

The decisions we make and the plans we implement today here in the Richmond will have a direct impact on the lives of our children and grandchildren. With my candidacy, I aim to amplify the voices of working people, families, and all of us in the Richmond District who desire a brighter future for our neighborhoods.

Say YES to a Leader Who Listens 

I look forward to earning your support, and your vote. 

Please check out my YouTube channel to see more about my political philosophy and my take on the issues.

Videos (1)

— October 10, 2016 Vote Marjan Philhour for Supervisor 2016

As the only candidate endorsed by all three major public safety organizations in San Francisco: police, firefighters, and deputy sheriffs, I will work to end the rash of smash & grab car break-ins we have seen in recent months. 

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