top of page
SH Big Smile CROP2.jpg



Sophie believes in the unique power of local government to create and protect the common good, and that success is always grounded in public investments in the economic, social, and physical worlds we live in. 


With a bold vision for Berkeley, unwavering dedication to our community, and an unmatched record of success, Sophie has the love, energy, skill and will to get great things done for our community.


For Sophie, Berkeley is more than just a great place to live – it's who she is and what she stands for. Sophie grew up in Berkeley and raised her own family just blocks from her childhood home.


A proud graduate of Berkeley High and UC Berkeley, she’s a hometown leader devoted to the City - and values - she was raised on.  

Sophie's parents moved to Berkeley to embrace Civil Rights. As a child she attended one of Berkeley’s first integrated schools, and from her father’s shoulders watched free speech and anti-war protests on Telegraph Avenue. Her family embraced recycling and “natural food” - new-fangled ideas - and celebrated Earth Day.  

Inspired by the sense of possibility that electrified the community, Sophie learned early on that freedom, equality, and justice are hard fought, and the things we do in Berkeley really matter.


As a high school student, Sophie launched efforts to integrate extracurricular activities at Berkeley High. At UC Berkeley she continued her passion for civil rights, focusing her studies on the history of slavery, racism, and worker’s rights.  She covered overnight crisis shifts for Bay Area Women Against Rape (BAWAR) and tabled on Sproul Plaza for Planned Parenthood and NARAL, sparking a lifelong commitment to reproductive freedom and LGBTQ+ rights. And as an intern at California Rural Legal Assistance, Sophie fought nativist English-only legislation and advocated for immigrant farm workers. 


After earning her law degree, Sophie did pro bono work for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project and later took a position at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, advancing women’s health throughout the Americas. To advance women’s and girls’ equality across the globe, she helped launch Equality NOW! - now a major human rights organization.

Sophie opened a small manufacturing and wholesale company after having her first child, learning first hand what it takes to run a small business. More recently, Sophie circled back to her “natural food” roots, converting her own backyard into an urban farm and founding The Berkeley Basket, and urban CSA providing zero-mile, organically grown produce to more than 20 local families.


From grade school to the City Council, Sophie’s been working to make Berkeley a stronger, safer, and more equitable place for all of us. Committed to producing housing to meet local needs, she served six years on Berkeley’s Zoning Board, where she approved more than 1000 new homes, always advocating for maximum affordability so more working families can live in Berkeley. Since joining the City Council in 2016, Sophie’s own Zoning Board appointee - who shares her commitment to housing - has approved thousands more.

On the Library Foundation Board, Sophie helped raise millions to renovate Berkeley’s beloved neighborhood branches. In recognition of her longtime stewardship, Sophie has been the Council’s appointee to the Board of Library Trustees for almost eight years, leading a successful effort to stabilize and energize our libraries after tumultuous years.


She supported our schools and students as King Middle School PTA President and co-founded the M3 Education Foundation to help Berkeley’s young men of color thrive. To ensure all families have equal access to school resources including tutoring, music, and sports, Sophie created the Welcome Fair, to this day a yearly event. As Chair of King’s School Governance Council she led development of a comprehensive plan centered on closing the school’s persistent opportunity gap.

Sophie also served as Chair of Berkeley’s Commission on the Status of Women, where she launched a successful campaign to shut down massage parlors fronting for human trafficking of immigrant women, and she has served on the boards of UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library and the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life.




In 2016, Sophie won a seat on the Berkeley City Council, where she also served as Vice Mayor - and continues to serve. She's been instrumental in turning visionary ideas into real solutions. Focused on affordable housing and homelessness, Sophie authored Berkeley’s Pathways Project, a blueprint for action that has resulted in hundreds of homeless neighbors being rehoused. 

This and other measures Sophie has taken the lead on are delivering real results. While homelessness increased by more than 20% in Alameda County, the number of people experiencing homelessness in Berkeley decreased by 5% - a 25 point difference in outcomes. 

To ensure Berkeley remains affordable for working families and continue re-housing our homeless, Sophie co-authored Measures O and P in 2018, and co-chaired the successful campaign to pass them, resulting in Berkeley’s largest-ever commitment to creating, preserving, and protecting affordable homes. Dedicated to increasing affordability across all neighborhoods, she worked closely with non-profit developers to create North Berkeley’s first two affordable projects in decades - Jordan Court and 1685 Solano Avenue.    

Sophie knows that local businesses, restaurants and arts organizations are key to Berkeley’s unique character.  She has authored important policies and programs to support small businesses and the arts, and is committed to enhancing the vibrancy of our neighborhood commercial districts and downtown. 

As Vice Mayor during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sophie held listening sessions with hundreds of struggling business, arts organizations and childcare providers, authored legislation to allow outdoor dining and commerce, and developed Berkeley’s SOS Small Business Loan program with professors at UC Berkeley. This innovative policy was quickly taken up by the State of California, which launched a statewide SOS effort of its own, assisting over 1,400 small businesses, primarily women and minority-owned.

Berkeley Panorama 1 cropped 2.jpg

Photo by Daniel Parks

Save Alta Bates Press Conference


Sophie thrives on passing legislation that makes a real difference for Berkeley, and serves as a model for others. A leader on the environment, Sophie authored groundbreaking legislation to end the use of throw-away plastics in Berkeley, offering the first real hope of reducing the city’s landfill waste in decades. 

An LA Times Editorial highlighted Sophie’s legislation and the City won an award from the SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. Programs based on her legislation have been introduced in 30 towns and cities across the United States, and Paris, France reached out for help developing a plastic-free 2024 Summer Olympics. 

This level of excellence and impact - making a real difference for Berkeley while inspiring other communities - is what makes Sophie such a uniquely powerful leader for our community.

In addition to her work to reduce plastics, Sophie’s extensive record promoting urban agriculture, green buildings, and clean energy resulted in Berkeley’s Ecology Center presenting her with an award for “Outstanding Service to People and Planet.” After years of advocacy to establish East Bay Community Energy, our local clean energy district, she was excited to bring 100% renewable energy to every Berkeley household and business - resulting in the greatest decline in GHG emissions in Berkeley’s history.


Always focused on public safety, Sophie has expertise on wildfire and earthquake preparedness and has worked closely with Berkeley’s Fire department to improve safety in the City’s most vulnerable areas. She supports full staffing of Berkeley’s police department and has advocated for the responsible use of technology, while fiercely protecting civil liberties. 

To improve the City’s ability to respond to emergencies, Sophie has been a leader in efforts to diversify the City’s response capabilities, including the deployment of mental health professionals to respond to mental health crises and improving the City’s 9-1-1 dispatch system.

Always fighting for a more transparent, accountable, and efficient City, Sophie was instrumental in creating Berkeley’s first-ever financial reserves, resulting in the City’s highest bond rating ever and allowing us to weather the pandemic without layoffs or reductions in service. She introduced the City Council’s Committee structure and wrote Guidelines for legislative items that have enhanced the quality of new programs and policies.

Learn more about Sophie’s key initiatives on behalf of Berkeley >

Learn more about Sophie's past work and volunteerism >

Vote Sophie Hahn for Berkeley Mayor - Tuesday November 5!

Berkeley Panorama 1 cropped 2.jpg

Photo by Daniel Parks

bottom of page