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Saturday, September 23, 2023
ElectionsKarina Dominguez "fired up" as she launches her campaign for Mayor

Karina Dominguez “fired up” as she launches her campaign for Mayor

Karina Dominguez has spent the last four years listening. 

Ever since she got elected as a Milpitas City Councilmember in 2018, she has been making an effort to have intentional conversations with residents about their issues and concerns. 

One of the things she has heard recently from others was that they wanted to see her step up

And so, on the 4th of July, Dominguez announced her candidacy for Mayor of Milpitas. 

“I have to do it now,” said Dominguez in an interview with The Beat. “I need to do it now because my community needs me.” 

At the end of this year, Dominguez’s term on the Council will come to an end. Rather than run a re-election campaign for “her” seat, she is choosing to aim higher. 

“One of the things I believe in very strongly is that these seats don’t belong to us,” said Dominguez. “We run for four years, we make a commitment, we take an oath of office—but we don’t own the seat.” 

Dominguez feels that her time on Council has truly shaped her into being the best version of herself. Although the pandemic has brought forth unexpected challenges, she has found ways to meet them head-on. 

There was the time, early on in the pandemic, when she got a phone call from a local dentist urgently in need of N95 masks. Without them, her office was unable to perform emergency surgical procedures for patients in need. 

Dominguez had two N95 masks in her possession, both of which came from her job as a Crime Prevention Specialist for the San Jose Police Department. At the time, N95 masks were hard to come by and healthcare workers were struggling to access them. 

Without a second thought, Dominguez went to drop off one of the two N95 masks at the dentist’s house. The dentist thanked her and told her that no other elected official had stepped up for her. 

This brought Dominguez to thinking about who she was and how she led, during such a critical time. 

“Every single day I was present. Every single day I listened to the stories of people dying in Milpitas,” said Dominguez. “And I listened to people suffering in a way that I never imagined when I took the oath of office in 2018.”  


Dominguez gives out sunflowers to show appreciation to people who are doing amazing things in our community. Photo from 2020.


During the start of her term, Dominguez held monthly community hours where she’d interact with residents face-to-face in places like restaurants and a donut shop. Once the pandemic hit, she switched to virtual contact, giving updates on social media to provide resources and info to the community. She felt strongly that residents needed a kind of “update hub” to navigate the challenges brought about by Covid. 

In addition to how she’s shown up for the community during the pandemic, Dominguez is proud of her work in pushing forward affordable housing, tenants’ rights, and women’s rights and related issues. 

If she’s elected as Mayor, one of her big focuses will be on Public Safety. For example, she’d champion the implementation of police walking beats, whereby officers would routinely walk areas highly impacted by crime. 

Another priority would be ensuring there’s a strong Economic Recovery Plan in place. As Mayor, she’d also look to implement goal-oriented leadership at City Hall – to bring more accountability and provide a strategic way to achieve and measure results.  



Dominguez believes that there is a toxic political culture in Milpitas, with a “divide and conquer” mentality. She witnessed it firsthand when she saw Mayor Rich Tran take away her Vice Mayor role after just one year, despite a survey of residents showing the majority desired to preserve a two-year Vice Mayor term. 

In fact, Dominguez said that when she was elected to her Councilmember position, Mayor Tran gave her a gift: a copy of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War

She started to read the book and just couldn’t relate.

The Art of War is based on a divide and conquer mindset,” said Dominguez, who feels that Tran has used this mindset during his time as Mayor to “divide and conquer” their fellow Councilmembers. 

Coincidentally, soon after, Dominguez walked into the bookstore of a Meditation Center and found Morihei Ueshiba’s book The Art of Peace calling to her from the shelves. The book delves into a “nonviolent way to victory,” using unity and compassion as the foundation. This was something Dominguez could relate to. And this is something she’ll be intentional about bringing to the role of Mayor, should Milpitas voters give her a chance. 

“I’m extremely excited, I’m ready, I’m fired up,” said Dominguez. “I’m definitely ready to bring home this one for the people of Milpitas.” 

At present, Vice Mayor Carmen Montano is also in the running for Mayor. Councilmember Anthony Phan, Voltaire Montemayor, and Ola Hassan have also pulled their papers to run. More coverage on the Mayoral race to follow. 

Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro is the winner of a 2022 Golden Quill Award for her Education journalism. She works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works mostly with nonprofit organizations and educational entities to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also the author of “Fierce Woman: Wake up your Badass Self” and “Magic Within: Womb-Centered Wisdom to Realize the Power of Your Sacred Feminine Self.” Her YouTube channel features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief.


  1. The Council member’s story about the 2 books – “The Art of War” and “The Art of Peace” – is very telling about two local candidates who actualize the principles from those books. The Mayor is clearly an Art of War kind of guy based upon my observations and experience. Unfortunately, that approach to life has limited prospects in the natural world that is far more cooperative than competitive.
    My experience of Ms. Dominguez as a cooperative team player most interested in the good of her community makes clear why she is interested in The Art of Peace. “How We Win” by George Lakey is another good book about winning progress for society through peaceful means. https://www.amazon.com/How-We-Win-Nonviolent-Campaigning/dp/1612197531/

    • My guess is that you never read the books otherwise you would not be making such comments. Also are you insulting the Chinese community as the Art of War was written in the 5th century BC China and is still read and studied by scholars today. My guess you are just like Ms. Dominguez shallow and misinformed. Try reading and learning your history maybe then you can make more educated comments.

      • Hi John, I have read the book thanks to my neighbor who is Chinese and is a history teacher at De Anza. I am very knowledgeable about both books and honor the teachings. I do love the teachings presented in the “Art of Peace” and they are my preferred way of solving conflict because its nonviolent, focuses on unity and kindness. I think we both can agree this is the worst state we have seen Milpitas and we could use that leadership at the moment to move our city forward.

  2. Cooperative? HA! What a joke, she’s combative and has earned her nickname ‘crybaby Karina’. She has no original ideas of her own, and bumps heads with Mayor Tran on the regular. Karina conned the city into believing that the unhoused residents of Milpitas would get priority at the Hillview Homekey site (even when it was clearly explained by the county that all potential residents would have to go through the community queue). How can we do expect someone who can’t even understand the simple rules of project homekey to do a good job of running the city? We can’t afford to have her make mistakes at that level

    Terrible candidate for mayor but the good news is Montano will win easily. Can’t wait to see Karina out of our local politics.


    • Completely agree. Have you seen how she is on and off the record, in meetings. She’s stirring up to much trouble to do anything good for this city. She has her ulterior motives. Everyone should keep tabs on Karina. She’s been MIA this whole pandemic. And she’s out partying while mpox is still rampant. She doesn’t care about the community. And everyone in the council should be removed. It’s so dysfunctional. I blame mostly Karina in my opinion

      • Samantha, I thank you for your opinion. I think we can both agree now that this dysfunction in unbelievable. It’s so bad and the people of Milpitas are suffering in ways never seen. I pray for Milpitas everyday.

      • Samantha thank you for your opinion. There was a Samantha on the Campaign Team for Carmen Montano for Mayor. Is this you? I have a question does Carmen Montano live in Milpitas 24 hours a day and 7 days a week? This article shows her as a “local leader” in Central Valley…. does she live there? https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-denham-valadao-central-valley-20180522-htmlstory.html

        During the pandemic she was never at any of the events, volunteering at the vaccination sites or around Milpitas. In fact, I had a couple of individuals I know that live in the Central Valley share they often saw her there and I believe she has a home there too. I am now a resident that would like to know where does she really live?

    • Hi Dan, Thank you for your opinion. Last week I received 10 phone calls from individuals asking me to please help because nobody understands the contract with the county and nothing is moving forward with Project Homekey. In fact, it got worst. These were talking points used in a hit piece that are not true . I think this entire town now can see the truth of what happened in November. If anyone has questions please call me at (669) 228-1623. I hope to meet you one day, god bless.

  3. Montano and Phan are what is wrong with Milpitas, They need to leave. Residents don’t want them representing them. They are not for residents only for their own political careers. Hope they lose bad. We want someone who is for the residents, people who live in Milpitas, work in Milpitas, pay their taxes, and want to raise their families here.

    • Hi Samantha well its July 8, 2023 and clearly its evident now that it wasn’t me . This city has crumbled and it is heartbreaking to see Milpitas in the worst place it has ever been in. Elections have consequences and I hope this city gets out to vote in 2024 because our water bill went up and our quality of life is in shambles. Unbelievable it hasn’t even been a year. Praying for Milpitas.

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