Nancy Tung hopes to be 1st Chinese-American DA in San Francisco

The Nov. 5 election is less than six weeks away. And there is a hotly contested race for district attorney in San Francisco.It's the first time no incumbent is running in more than a century.

KTVU is taking a look at the four candidates in a series of reports.

The first is on Nancy Tung, who is running on her experience as a prosecutor. 

She says her 18 years as a prosecutor sets her apart from the other candidates.  

On Wednesday, Tung was in Chinatown handing out flyers as she introduced herself to people at Portsmouth Square. 

She pounded the pavement and visited a number of businesses with her with her biggest supporter by her side, her father. Tung hopes to become the city's first Chinese American district attorney. 

"I'm a prosecutor first and foremost, not a politician," said Tung. 

The career prosecutor is currently on leave from the Alameda County district attorney's office. She spent 11 years with the San Francisco district attorney's office and also worked in the state attorney general's office. 

"I have an understanding from the inside that nobody else does," said Tung.  

She said  as district attorney, she would be strategic and tough on crime. 

"Start tackling those day-to-day crimes that affect most San Franciscans,  property crimes like auto burglaries, retail thefts,  open-air drug dealing," said Tung.  

The 44-year-old said often, those cases are opportunities for intervention that can lead to prevention.
Tung says she would put into place what she describes as community centered justice to improve the quality of life.     

She'd have representatives from the district attorney's office in each neighborhood to address concerns particular to that community, including bilingual services . 
"Take the Chinese community. There are issues around 911 operators not speaking Cantonese," said Tung, "When we start to address what's wrong in each neighborhood, we start to make sure that public safety is addressed in a way that is meaningful to communities." 

Tung lives in the South of Market district with her husband and toddler.  

She said of the four candidates, she has the most experience as a prosecutor. 

If she's elected district attorney, she said she can make a difference: "Having worked in the trenches in the district attorney's office, side by side with many of the prosecutors that are still in the district attorney's office, I really thought there are improvements that can be made that would enhance public safety."

Tung takes great pride in being independent and not part of the establishment. She said she's the candidate for voters who are not happy with the status quo.