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Ma was appointed to the Assessment Appeals Board of San Francisco by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1995.
That same year, she started her public service career as a part-time district representative for then-State Senator John Burton.
District 2 covers nearly 10 million people along California's coastline from Oregon to Santa Barbara.
On, February 24, 2016, at the Board of Equalization (BOE) meeting in Culver City, the Board selected Ma as its chair.
Her mother, Sophia (née Doo), was a high school art teacher for 20 years before moving the family to San Francisco to be closer to her parents.
Rev William Doo was posted as a minister at the San Francisco Swatow Christian Church in San Francisco's Sunset District.
The campaign was one of the more expensive legislative primary races in the state of California.
On November 7, 2006 Ma received 70 percent of the votes and defeated her two opponents for California Assembly, Republican Howard Epstein and Green Barry Hermanson.
She previously served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (2002–2006) and in the California State Assembly (2006–2012).
Following the passage of Proposition 209, which barred public institutions from considering sex, race or ethnicity, she led the effort to create the city's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program to enable small businesses to more easily participate in public works projects, aiming to broaden the scope of inclusion.
As a Supervisor, she also started her advocacy regarding banning toxins from children's toys - passing Ordinance Number 060107 to "prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution in commerce of any toy or child-care article…if it contains bisphenol-A or other specified chemicals." Fiona Ma was first elected to represent California’s 12th Assembly District from November 2006 to November 2012 (serving the maximum three terms).
Ma was appointed Assembly majority whip by the speaker of the assembly, Fabian Núñez, a position which she held for 3 years.
As Majority Whip, she marshaled votes to ensure the passage of legislation that affected public education, expanded healthcare access, and set in place environmental protections. Pérez appointed Ma to the leadership position of Speaker pro Tempore.
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As presiding officer and member of the leadership team, Ma guides assembly members through the daily business of the house, responds to parliamentary inquiries, issues rulings on points of order when necessary, and is responsible for guiding legislative priorities.