On the eve of his swearing-in to a second two-year term as Milpitas mayor, Rich Tran is now expanding the scope of his political ambition.
The 33-year-old homegrown elected tells Fly he’s eyeing a 2020 run to succeed Santa Clara County’s District 3 Supervisor Dave Cortese, who’s in turn gearing up to replace state Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose) when he terms out that year.
“I’m really thankful to have had the opportunity to be mayor of Milpitas and to have two terms to make a positive impact,” Tran says. “And I feel like my second term will be enough to put forth the work needed to help solve the challenges facing Milpitas.”
As a social worker for several years until leaving the job in January 2017, Tran said he has a deep appreciation for the safety-net role of the county, its public hospital system and its jails. He spent three years as a social worker at Valley Medical Center and served many of the county’s most vulnerable homeless residents. Now, he divides his time between city business and assignments for the Air National Guard.
“It’ll be a great challenge,” says Tran, who announced news of his run in a Facebook post earlier this week, “which is why I want to start this early.”
Although, if he doesn’t make it past the 2020 primary, Tran says, he could always try to run for a third mayoral term in his hometown. “We’ll see,” he muses, “we’ll see.”
It remains to be seen who Tran will go up against for Cortese’s seat. A few folks threw ex-San Jose vice mayor Rose Herrera’s name out there. Another former vice mayor—who’s now Silicon Valley Organization veep—Madison Nguyen, created campaign committees for both county supe and state Senate runs. (She recently told the Bay Area Reporter that she had no interest in Beall’s seat.)
Still, Beall’s departure is going to draw a pretty crowded field. In addition to Cortese, the list tentatively includes former Assemblywoman Nora Campos, Obama Federal Elections Commission appointee Ann Ravel, terming-out District 4 Supervisor Ken Yeager and San Jose Councilman Johnny Khamis, who reportedly has his sights set on both state Senate and on Supervisor Mike Wasserman’s South County seat.