Eight years ago I made the decision to run for San Jose City Council in a crowded field of eight candidates. With the help and support of thousands of people, the voters of District 7 placed their trust in me then elected me to serve as their Councilmember through an effective grassroots campaign. Nearly three years ago, all of my colleagues on the council supported Mayor Reed’s nomination and voted me as Vice Mayor. They reappointed me last year to represent all of the residents of San Jose. Almost a year ago, after consultation with my family, friends, and members of the community, I made the decision to run for Mayor of San Jose. I am about to embark on a journey that will immensely change my life and perhaps the lives of those who will be impacted by this election. Therefore, I want to take a few minutes to tell you why I am running for Mayor.
As I met and talked with thousands of residents, many have often asked, “Madison, what makes you different from the other candidates who want to be Mayor?” My answer to that question is rooted in my life experiences. I am the child of a refugee family who fled a Communist country and, after an arduous voyage, arrived in the United States. My parents are extraordinary people. They instilled in their nine children the determination to succeed and always strive to give back to a nation that has given us more than we had ever imagined when we left Vietnam.
The journey from an overcrowded fishing boat drifting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to spending my childhood summers picking crops in the fields of the Central Valley, graduating from UC Santa Cruz then University of Chicago, then becoming your Vice Mayor has given me an invaluable perspective of what courage and leadership can accomplish against any odds. This history reminds me every day to be grateful for what I have and to give back by serving the residents of San Jose the best that I can.
Our city has reached a critical crossroads. For the first time in 10 years, we are able to focus our priorities on restoring services instead of cutting programs. Where other cities are still struggling with retirement costs, bankruptcy and withering cuts to public service, San Jose is now positioned for growth. The crucial work that we have done collectively to reform the pension system now enables us to re-invest in our city’s infrastructure and create a bright, sustainable future. If elected as your Mayor, I will work diligently to deliver five goals:
1. Make San Jose the safest big city in America;
2. Boost economic development and create high paying jobs;
3. Fix our roadway infrastructure including potholes, street repairs, and sidewalk improvements for better mobility;
4. Partner with business and private foundations to invest in quality education for our children; and
5. Improve and increase core city services such as open and accessible libraries, senior programs, youth programs and invest in recreational amenities.
The truth is there will always be a San Jose. The decision before you is what kind of San Jose do you want? The San Jose I want for my daughter is a city that aspires to be the best of all places, not just for a select few, but for everyone who chooses to live here. It is a city where people from all walks of life can say, “my opinion counts,” and where our shared values take center stage. As a Councilmember and Vice Mayor, I have strived to be accessible at all levels. That is the kind of Mayor I will be. Most importantly, I will be a Mayor who always puts people above politics and creates positive opportunities for everyone who calls San Jose their home. I would be deeply honored to have your support and endorsement of my candidacy. I am truly excited about our campaign. Will you help me create a CITY OF OPPORTUNITY for all residents? Our work starts today!