After announcing two separate bids for higher office, Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran has decided to bring it all back home and instead run for re-election.
Tran, 34, revealed in December that he would be running for Dave Cortese’s open seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. But once Assemblyman Kansen Chu (D-San Jose) jumped into that race, Tran decided to make a run for his open spot.
“I drove around the block and [realized that Milpitas] is the most important place for me to be,” Tran said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.
The homegrown Milpitian handily won a second term last fall. The South Bay city sets its mayoral terms at two years and allows people to serve up to three consecutive terms.
Tran said he’s running for re-election to “ensure there is leadership for the residents.”
“It got to a point where the No. 1 and No. 2 leaders in Milpitas were looking to pursue a higher office,” Tran said, referring to Councilwoman Karina Dominguez, whom he appointed as vice mayor. “It’s a shame for the residents who put their faith into their leaders, and that was ultimately why I decided to remain in Milpitas.”
Dominguez announced last month that she would be running to replace Chu in the 25th Assembly District, which straddles the Tri-Valley and South Bay.
If re-elected, Tran said he’d be excited to finish a job that began when voters first elected him on a get-rid-of-the-riffraff platform in 2016. “We’re really at the midway point now and it’s exciting to take a quick look at our accomplishments and have even more excitement knowing that there’s more time to do even more in the community,” he said.
The Milpitas leader pointed to his deep love for the city, adding that he’s most likely the only mayor in Silicon Valley with his city tattooed on his body.
Tran wouldn’t speculate any other individuals that may throw their hat in the ring, but said he’s also staying put to ensure the city doesn’t, “go back to past politics.”
“There’s always the threat of former elected officials coming back and trying to bring Milpitas back to its past,” he said.
Like, perhaps, his predecessor Jose Esteves.
Another name being bandied about as a potential contender in the mayoral race is that of recently-elected Milpitas Unified School District Trustee Michael Tsai. While Tsai said Tuesday that he hasn’t made an official decision, he’s not ruling out a bid either.
“I certainly have ideas on what I want to happen in the city and how I want to see it if I run,” he said. “[But] officially there’s nothing. I only got elected last year and it feels like everyone is thinking about 2020.”