This originally appeared as a guest column in the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
In the wake of our nation’s recent disastrous economic stumbles with Wall Street malfeasance, job outsourcing, and a decline in U.S. based manufacturing, the challenge for present and future local policymakers is to halt the erosion of public confidence in the vibrancy and resiliency of our own South Bay economic engine. My commitment is to support innovation and be ahead of the curve in workforce development, transit and infrastructure improvements, housing affordability, and fighting unwarranted red tape in moving Santa Clara County forward.
My education, professional experience, and community involvement make me uniquely prepared to be a leading voice for greater collaboration and a healthy business climate. As a trained environmental and civil engineer, I was proud to serve on the Envision San José 2040 General Plan Update Task Force, plotting a course for the planned growth of our city over the next three decades. I have continued to advocate for creative and sustainable development strategies as an advisory board member of SPUR San José and board member of the Greenbelt Alliance, regional nonprofits promoting good planning and good government in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Here are some key areas where I believe the county can and should engage in collaborative economic development solutions:
Small Business Technical Assistance
The County recently entered into a partnership with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Silicon Valley in providing programs and services through the Small Business Development Commission’s Entrepreneur Center. This successful collaboration could be replicated with other local business organizations.
County staff actively collaborate with economic development professionals and city managers throughout the Bay Area on business retention and attraction efforts. For example, the County recently signed on to a package of incentives offered by the City of San José for the Samsung campus expansion.
County staff serve on two regional Workforce Investment Boards to stay current on workforce development issues. It is critical to the success of local businesses — big and small — that Silicon Valley produces a well-trained, 21st-Century workforce.
Supervisorial District 2 has some major development opportunities that could spur economic growth, including the County Fairgrounds, Civic Center, and Downtown San José Medical Clinic site.
The County plays a major role in regional transit planning, and District 2 will be ground zero for future transit projects such as BART, High Speed Rail, and Bus Rapid Transit. I have consulted in the area of green technology and see the exciting potential this sector offers.
The Supervisor representing the core of the largest city in Silicon Valley needs to understand, champion, and foster opportunities to keep us at the forefront of the innovation economy. I look forward to taking on this mantle.