By Keith Dinh
Many of the politicians in San Jose have made a difference for everyone in the past and are still making differences as we speak. These people have been through the hard process of campaigning, and many of them have needed to get closer to the voters and make themselves seem as if they were average people, trying to make a difference. To do this, many of them share their own personal life stories as to how they have come to be here, and many of them also talk about their past careers and qualifications. This article will shed light and touch on how some of these city politicians have gotten to where they are now, what their beliefs are, how they aim to influence society, and will introduce some of their goals and accomplishments for society.
San Jose City Council: District 1
San Jose City Council member from District 1, Charles Jones, also known as “Chappie,” was elected for office in November 2014 with 60 percent of the vote. He spent his early years in the city of Sacramento, and, in 1990, moved with his family to San Jose. He was raised by his parents with the ideals that he should participate in helping out his city and community as much as he can. To this day, he still holds those values as he helps the people of his district in various ways to meet the needs of the community.
Mr. Jones, whose term in office expires at the end of this year, went on to win re-election earlier this year in June. In 2014, the race for his current term, Mr. Jones ran against six others in the primary elections, and, this year, he ran unopposed, winning all 12,440 votes of the 12,440 who voted. He holds many other titles in the City of San Jose such as the following: Vice Chair of the Public Safety, Finance, and Strategic Support Committee (PSFSS); Liaison of the Board of Fair Campaign & Political Practices (formerly Ethics Commission); and many more. He still lives up to his own standards and helps out his community in many ways besides just carrying his main title. By the end of this year, he will continue to be in office and serve the people of San Jose’s District 1 for another term of four years.
San Jose City Council: District 2
Sergio Jimenez, San Jose City Council member from District 2, has quite a story to tell. Born in Mexico, Mr. Jimenez came to the United States at the age of three and has been a San Jose resident for 37 years. Just in 2008, Mr. Jimenez gained citizenship and was able to participate in government positions. He has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Administration. Mr. Jimenez has worked hard, from being an immigrant to living the life of a community person and being a city councilman in the capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose.
Prior to his election as city councilman, Mr. Jimenez spent six years serving in the city of San Jose’s Parks & Recreation Commission, serving two years as a chairman. He has also previously worked as an investigator for the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office, serving the judicial system. He has worked and spoken to many people and has witnessed what crime can do to families. Mr. Jimenez won his first term as a San Jose City Council member from District 2 in 2016, and he put priorities such as safety, housing, and homelessness first for the people of San Jose. He has lived what we call the American Dream, and he is constantly working to making dreams become a reality for his district.
San Jose City Council: District 3
Raul Peralez is another council member whose term is ending this year. He serves San Jose’s District 3 and is going for his second term in office. He is currently unopposed as of the primary election in the summer, earlier this year, and he is going on to the general election this November, along with a handful of other council members who have served San Jose with him in City Hall.
After being the first to get a degree from college in his family, Mr. Peralez became an educator and stared substitute teaching after graduating from San Jose State University (SJSU). He later became a policeman and joined the San Jose Police Department in 2007. In 2014, Mr. Peralez ran for office and won. With his background in education and being a part of the San Jose police force, Mr. Peralez stressed safety and education the most in his campaign, and still does to this day, along with public vitality and addressing issues of the homeless, park associations and schools.
San Jose City Council: District 4
Hailing from District 4 of San Jose, City Councilman Lan Diep has made quite the impression of himself to the general public and City Hall. He was born in Houston, Texas to parents who fled Vietnam and the poverty of war at the time. After moving to San Jose and being raised by his mother, he attended Independence High School.
In his campaign in 2017, Mr. Diep won against incumbent Manh Nguyen: he won by 28 votes, which resulted in a called-for recount, and brought the win to 17 votes ahead. A second recount still resulted in a win for Mr. Diep. How he got his reputation: Mr. Diep brought the shield that was used in the filming of the film “Captain America” to his inauguration and wore it proudly, as he says that he wants to make politics and government fun. He takes this pride with him every day as he continues to serve the people of District 4.
San Jose City Council: District 5
Serving District 5 is the Vice Mayor of San Jose, Magdalena Carrasco. She recently won the election in June of this year, beating the incumbent with 69 percent of the overall vote. Growing up and being raised by immigrant parents, Ms. Carrasco has learned many life skills that have brought her to where she is now.
Graduating from Independence High School and later UC Santa Barbara, Ms. Carrasco worked for many years as someone who helped as many as she could in her community, from helping kids transition out of juvenile hall to teaching children to respect themselves and build their community. She stresses advocacy for all people in her district, including the youth, and she continues to do so as often as her time permits her.
San Jose City Council: District 6
Council Member Devora Davis serves San Jose’s District 6, and she focuses on the beautification of her district, working to make the community safer for public interactions for her people. Growing up in North Dakota, Ms. Davis worked on a farm as a child, delivered newspapers, and managed as a truck driver up until college. She has acquired a strong work ethic from her childhood experiences, and she continues to try to give people her best efforts in trying to build and better the community more than it already is.
Ms. Davis has spent 12 years as an education researcher and comes from Stanford University, with master’s degrees in Public Policy and Education Policy as well as Organization and Leadership. She holds many other titles, and she also represents San Jose in many other organizations for the area and California as well.
San Jose City Council: District 7
Tam Nguyen serves as the San Jose City Council member from District 7. He immigrated to the United States in 1975, at the age of 18, and settled in Missouri. He later came to San Jose and worked as an engineer while taking MBA courses in his free time. After working as an engineer for some time, Mr. Nguyen realized that the Vietnamese-American community had little representation in society and the public, so he decided to leave the field of engineering to attend Lincoln Law School after receiving his MBA. He gained his Juris Doctorate in Law, and became an attorney to multiple organizations and represented many prominent Vietnamese leaders in the area. He has a strong heart toward the Vietnamese community in San Jose, and he has been very active in advocating for the voice of the people for over 30 years.
Currently, Mr. Nguyen is on his first term as council member to District 7. He has won the primary election earlier this summer, and is currently in a runoff election. His priorities for his district are safety, homes and families. He is pushing for more police presence to keep crime under control, is working to clean the community by organizing weekly cleanup days which he attends, and is on call at any time, even outside work hours to help people in his district with whatever they need from cleaning up their streets, to fixing homes together, to coming to help children with their studies after his hours at a local community center.
San Jose City Council: District 8
San Jose City Council member for District 8, Sylvia Arenas, is on her first term in office. She has been serving her district since her election in 2016, and she still has two more years in office. She has worked with many organizations in education in the past, and she is still a fighter for education, children, and families. She was also elected onto the Evergreen Elementary School District Board of Trustees in California.
On top of working to better the education in her community, Ms. Arenas has stressed public safety, which was a main theme in her campaign. She is working to reduce burglary, better the traffic, and fix or replace street lights. She still, to this day, works hard to serve her people, as a local democratic leader to the people of her district.
San Jose City Council: District 9
Council Member Donald Rocha of District 9 has addressed many issues to San Jose as a whole, not just his own district. He has served on joint city/county task forces to stress public safety, and he has improved the number of developing projects for healthcare of the people in his community. This year will be his final year as a city council member, for he has served a total of two terms in office. The veteran councilman has spent many years in this position, and he feels that he can put himself to more use elsewhere.
Mr. Rocha is currently campaigning to be part of the County Board of Supervisors, which oversees the government in all cities within the County of Santa Clara. He will be able to facilitate the work of many other cities, not just San Jose, and he will be able to make a difference, still, as a member of our larger community. As of June this year, six politicians ran in primary elections for office, and two are to advance to the general elections this November in a runoff election. It is apparent that the election for this particular seat could, “significantly shift the balance of power on the 11-member council,” according to sanjoseinside.com.
San Jose City Council: District 10
Johnny Khamis is the Council Member for District 10. Mr. Khamis attended Oak Grove High School, and he later graduated from San Jose State University with degrees in Business Management and Communication. He started his own company, Western Benefit Solutions, and has been recognized by the Silicon Valley Organization as San Jose’s business advocate of the year. On top of that, “Johnny is also the former chair of the Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission and the San Jose Small Business Development Commission,” according to his website.
With his second term in office ending in 2020, he has a few more years to make a difference to our community. Though he would no longer be able to make a difference in his current office in a few years, he has considered running for mayor, as well. Like many of his co-workers at City Hall, Mr. Khamis stressed public safety, family values, and education in ins campaign, and he still adheres to his campaign as he is running through his final years as District 10’s council member.
As we have seen, many of San Jose’s City Council Members have worked hard at their campaigns in the past, and many of them are still running for future terms. All politicians must have their set of standards that they have to run and adhere by them to please the people they serve to be able to run for a second position. We put our faiths, futures and hopes in their hands, and many of them put their life into helping us and what they stand for.
As of earlier this summer, council members from Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7 all ran for re-election, while politicians from District 9 are campaigning for the empty seat. This fall on November 6, the San Jose City Council members will be elected for those districts at the same time as the Mayor of San Jose and the midterm elections. During this time, California’s governor will also be elected as well as our State Representatives for the House. With so many elections going on, there could be a possible shift in power of which political party has control over society, even on a city-community level.
PHOTO CREDITS: sanjoseca.gov