San Jose council member enters race for Santa Clara County supervisor

San Jose council member Sylvia Arenas is running for Santa Clara County District 1 supervisor, campaign documents show.

The newly-drawn District 1 expanded in a contentious redistribution process to include San Jose neighborhoods like Evergreen and Silver Creek – the region Arenas currently represents on city council – allowing it to throw its hat in the city. race. District 1 no longer encompasses the Almaden Valley or Los Gatos, but still maintains the towns of Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy.

“The families of San José and South County need a passionate advocate on the Oversight Board, a tireless fighter for the needs of our most vulnerable women and children, someone who is ready to go. from day one to fulfill this vital role, “said Arenas. . “This is why I am running and I have no doubts that voters will once again place their trust in my dedicated service to our community. “

Prior to the redistribution, Arenas would have fallen into District 3. The redesigned region gives Arenas and other potential South San Jose candidates an advantage, as now two out of three district residents are in San Jose. A quarter of the district’s likely voters are also in Arena city council district alone, according to his office.

The District 1 race is one of the most contested, as it has the most contenders, including former San Jose council member Johnny Khamis, Morgan Hill mayor Rich Constantine and council administrator for Santa Clara County Education Claudia Rossi.

The demographics of the districts have changed to create a more equal balance between White, Latino and Asian residents, giving union-leaning candidates a better chance of winning the seat, said Terry Christensen, retired political science professor at the SJSU.

“Arenas has a pretty solid base at Evergreen,” Christensen told the San José Spotlight. “Corn another Latina in the race could split that vote between (Arenas and Rossi), so I think it will be a close race.

However, he also said that conservative voices always have a good chance of representing the district, noting that parts of Silver Creek and The Villages, for example, vote more conservatively.

“These are relatively conservative districts, but the population of these areas is much smaller than the Almaden Valley or the town of Los Gatos,” he said, noting that there was still a base for Khamis. , who returns to the district to stay in the race. after being drawn into the redistribution process.

Los Gatos Mayor Rob Rennie, who was also running for District 1 Supervisor, ended his campaign after his town was removed and placed in District 5. He told the San José Spotlight that his biggest concern with the new District 1 was that it had a much larger share. of San José than before.

“A lot of people in South County told me they were concerned about being left behind with more San Jose in the district and having more people from San Jose running,” Rennie said.

Christensen, however, said that while the constituencies and interests of southern and southern San Jose County may differ, what will be more important is how the future supervisor is able to provide services to these residents. .

“(Current District 1 Supervisor) Mike Wasserman is from Los Gatos and he was a good South County Supervisor and gave Morgan Hill and Gilroy special attention so I wouldn’t worry too much about that,” Christensen said. “I understand why people could do it, but I wouldn’t.”

During his tenure on the board, Arenas championed a myriad of social services and policies, exemplified by his efforts to launch the San Jose Family Initiative, which aims to improve access to early childhood education, after-school programs , safe housing and paid family leave. In his board member biography, Arenas also highlights his work to reform the city’s response to increasing rates of sexual assault and improve public safety.

“She’s created a platform for herself on social service issues and that’s what the county is doing, so it’s a pretty logical decision for her,” Christensen said.

Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.

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