Jump to content

Malia Cohen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Malia Cohen
Official portrait as State Controller
33rd Controller of California
Assumed office
January 2, 2023
GovernorGavin Newsom
Preceded byBetty Yee
Member of the California State Board of Equalization
from the 2nd district
In office
January 7, 2019 – January 2, 2023
Preceded byFiona Ma
Succeeded bySally Lieber
President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
In office
June 26, 2018 – January 7, 2019
Preceded byLondon Breed
Succeeded byNorman Yee
Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
from the 10th district
In office
January 8, 2011 – January 7, 2019
Preceded bySophie Maxwell
Succeeded byShamann Walton
Personal details
Born (1977-12-16) December 16, 1977 (age 46)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseWarren Pulley (m. 2016)
EducationFisk University (BA)
Carnegie Mellon University (MA)

Malia M. Cohen (born December 16, 1977)[1] is an American politician serving as the 33rd Controller of California since 2023. A member of the Democratic Party, Cohen previously served as Chair of the California State Board of Equalization from the 2nd district from 2019 to 2023 and as President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from District 10 from 2011 to 2019.

Early life and education


Cohen was born in San Francisco on December 16, 1977. The eldest of five girls, she grew up in the Richmond District in San Francisco and graduated from Lowell High School.[2] Her mother was a social worker and her father a telecommunication worker.

Cohen earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Fisk University and a graduate degree in political science from Carnegie Mellon University.[2]



Cohen worked as a field organizer for Gavin Newsom in the 2003 San Francisco mayoral election and as his confidential secretary for two years when he was mayor.[2] After leaving Newsom's office, Cohen worked as a legislative aide for San Mateo County supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson.[3][2]

In the 2010 election for District 10 of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, she was third in receiving first place votes out of a field of 22, but eventually won the election based on ranked choice voting.[4][3]

In October 2013, Cohen introduced legislation that expanded an existing San Francisco law making it illegal to sell firearms with magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. The gun-control legislation passed unanimously.[5]

In 2013, Cohen and Jane Kim authored the Fair Chance ordinance, a "ban the box" legislation barring employers and landlords from asking applicants to state their criminal history on applications, which passed the Board of Supervisors unanimously.[6]

In 2014, Cohen was re-elected for a second term to represent District 10 after being challenged by Marlene Tran and Tony Kelly.[7]

In 2015, Cohen publicly defended San Francisco's sanctuary city laws, which drew the attention of Fox News Host Bill O'Reilly. After the shooting death of Kathryn Steinle by an illegal alien, O'Reilly had been critical of San Francisco and its elected officials. O'Reilly said that Cohen should be placed under arrest for her comments defending San Francisco's sanctuary city policy.[8]

In 2016, Cohen introduced legislation, in reaction to lobbying by sitting judges, that could result in pension boosts for some of those judges or for other individuals who become judges after working for the city government. The San Francisco Examiner reported that according to analysis by the San Francisco Employees Retirement System (SFERS), the proposal would increase the pensions of four current judges, with an average expected additional lifetime benefit of $147,000 per judge affected. The SFERS report did not name those judges, and SFERS spokesman Norm Nickens said the agency does not release the names of active members.[9]

Cohen succeeded London Breed as president of the Board of Supervisors on June 26, 2018, following Breed's election as mayor of San Francisco.[10] Later that year, she was elected to represent District 2 on the California State Board of Equalization.

According to the California Franchise Tax Board, Cohen's social media consulting firm, Power Forward, was suspended in March 2021 for failure to pay and file taxes.[3]

Cohen ran in the 2022 election for California State Controller against Republican Lanhee Chen winning the race with 55% of the vote, the lowest margin of victory for any statewide candidate that election cycle.[11][12][13]

After the death of Senator Dianne Feinstein in September 2023, Cohen was discussed as one of several possible people to serve the remainder of Feinstein’s term.[14][15]

Personal life


She married workers' compensation attorney Warren Pulley in May 2016.[16]

Electoral history



California State Board of Equalization 2nd District Election, 2018
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Malia Cohen 723,355 38.7
Republican Mark Burns 502,143 26.9
Democratic Cathleen Galgiani 480,887 25.7
Democratic Barry Chang 163,102 8.7
Total votes 1,869,467 100.0
General election
Democratic Malia Cohen 2,482,171 72.8
Republican Mark Burns 927,949 27.2
Total votes 3,410,120 100.0%


2022 California State Controller election[17]
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Lanhee Chen 2,533,305 37.22%
Democratic Malia Cohen 1,542,397 22.66%
Democratic Yvonne Yiu 1,024,707 15.06%
Democratic Steve Glazer 756,518 11.11%
Democratic Ron Galperin 690,484 10.15%
Green Laura Wells 258,053 3.79%
Total votes 6,805,874 100.0%
General election
Democratic Malia Cohen 5,936,852 55.35%
Republican Lanhee Chen 4,789,340 44.65%
Total votes 10,726,192 100.0%
Democratic hold


  1. ^ "Malia M Cohen, Born 12/16/1977 in California | CaliforniaBirthIndex.org". californiabirthindex.org. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Gordon, Rachel (December 28, 2010). "Malia Cohen among new San Francisco supervisors". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Luna, Taryn (October 5, 2022). "Candidate's financial history under scrutiny in California controller's race". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  4. ^ "District 10 – Ranked-choice voting". San Francisco Department of Elections. November 24, 2010. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
  5. ^ Ghaffary, Shirin (October 29, 2013) "S.F. supervisors pass tough limit on gun magazines." San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved October 31, 2013.)
  6. ^ Lagos, Marisa. "San Francisco supervisors pass 'ban the box' legislation". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  7. ^ "Cohen, other incumbents take commanding leads in S.F. supervisors race". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  8. ^ "Bill O'Reilly Slams San Francisco Official, Calls Her a Disgrace". KNTV. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  9. ^ Sabatini, Joshua (February 15, 2016). "Former City workers who turn judges could see pension bump". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  10. ^ Fracassa, Dominic (June 26, 2018). "SF supervisors elect Malia Cohen their president as Breed set to become mayor". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  11. ^ Austin, Sophie (November 15, 2022). "Democrat Malia Cohen wins California state controller race". Associated Press.
  12. ^ "California Republicans, buoyed by congressional wins, have no obvious Senate prospects". Los Angeles Times. March 10, 2023. Retrieved May 16, 2024.
  13. ^ Press, SOPHIE AUSTIN Associated (November 16, 2022). "Democrat Malia Cohen wins California state controller race". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 16, 2024.
  14. ^ Paz, Christian (September 29, 2023). "What Dianne Feinstein's death means for California's Senate elections". Vox. Retrieved September 29, 2023.
  15. ^ Hatch, Jenavieve (September 29, 2023). "Gavin Newsom vowed to appoint a Black woman to the Senate. Here's who could replace Dianne Feinstein". Sacramento Bee.
  16. ^ "What really happened in Greg Suhr's meeting with Ed Lee". San Francisco Chronicle. May 23, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  17. ^ "California June 7, 2022 Primary Statement of Vote" (PDF). Retrieved July 16, 2022.
Political offices
Preceded by Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
from the 10th district

Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Succeeded by
Preceded by Controller of California