Fifteen years after being trounced by Chuck Reed in her 2006 run for mayor of San Jose, county supervisor Cindy Chavez has decided to give it another shot. She joins a growing field that includes three current city councilpersons: Willow Glen’s Dev Davis, Almaden Valley representative Matt Mahan and fellow labor-aligned D3 successor Raul Peralez.
The consummate political insider unveiled her campaign theme—“a city of equals”—Thursday in front of her home in the Naglee Park neighborhood.
“I want to live in a city of equals. A city where birthplace and birthright and birth color and birth gender don't make a difference,” Chavez said.
The Sept. 30 event was emceed by Carl Guardino, former CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group industry lobbying coalition and a resident of the valley’s most exclusive community, Monte Sereno.
In addition to Guardino, Chavez was flanked by Assemblyman and former Campbell Mayor Evan Low, Gilroy Councilwoman Rebecca Almendarez, council aide Helen Chapman and jewelry and pawn shop owner Jan Schneider, a former downtown association president. Chavez spoke for six minutes at the end of the 45-minute event, which included endorsement speeches punctuated by claps and woohoos.
“She is one tough cookie,” Low said and described her frequent phone calls to request state money for Santa Clara County during the pandemic.
Chavez entered the 2006 mayoral race as frontrunner but ended the runoff with 39.74% amidst voter anger over the scandals that plagued the administration of Ron Gonzales, in which she served as vice mayor. They included a $4 million subsidy to the San Jose Grand Prix, which Chavez sprung on her colleagues at the last moment and sparked the effort to institute a sunshine ordinance that now requires council members to propose matters before agendas are circulated.
After Chavez lost the election, she established a short-lived political consulting firm that was paid $84,500 to establish a foundation for the East Side Union High School District. In 2009 she returned to her former employer, the South Bay Labor Council, where she worked for the next four years as its CEO, as well as of its sister organization, Working Partnerships USA.
After her political ally, County Supervisor George Shirakawa, resigned and was jailed as part of a felony guilty plea for political corruption, Chavez sought and won a special election in 2013. She has been re-elected twice as supervisor and has been a champion of tax measures for transportation, health care and homelessness reduction.
“We have housed 5,000 homeless people,” Chavez said on Thursday.
Chavez’s term on the Board of Supervisors runs through 2024.