In an exclusive interview with The Milpitas Beat, Mayor Rich Tran said that he was withdrawing from the State Assemblymember race, so that he could instead focus on all the work that needs to be done in his hometown.
“The Milpitas family has worked extraordinarily hard over the past few years and we’ve been able to transform our Milpitas City Hall,” said Mayor Tran. “I’m afraid that if we don’t have leadership here in Milpitas, Milpitas families will fall apart. And that’s why I’m withdrawing from Assembly. Because I want to put Milpitas first and not go for whatever greater opportunity is present.”
Back in December 2018, just weeks after winning his 2nd term as Mayor of Milpitas, Tran announced that he would be running for Santa Clara County Board of Supervisor, to try and fill Dave Cortese’s District 3 seat. Cortese himself is running for State Senate District 15 in 2020.
However, Tran pulled out of that race out of respect for Assemblymember Kansen Chu, who was planning to run for County Supervisor as well. Toward the end of May, Mayor Tran announced that he would instead join the State Assemblymember race, hoping to fill the seat Chu was leaving behind. Tran highlighted his admiration for Chu, and mentioned that he would be supporting him in the Supervisor race.
Fast forward to nearly two months later, and now Tran is stepping away from the Assemblymember race to instead run for a third term as Mayor. In doing so, he hopes to “continue to build a better government” in Milpitas.
“It’s really now about protecting Milpitas from what our city politics was for the last couple decades and ensuring that our city truly moves forward,” said Tran. “And that means going into a third term would be ultimately finishing what I started back in 2016.”
Milpitas Vice Mayor Karina Dominguez also announced her candidacy for State Assembly back in June, pitting her against Tran, along with Santa Clara Unified School District Board Trustee Jim Canova, Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee Anna Song, Policy Advisor Alex Lee, and former Ohlone College Trustee Bob Brunton.
When asked if running against his fellow Councilmember had something to do with him dropping out of the race, Mayor Tran mentioned that a big part of his decision to stay had to do with the lack of leadership options in Milpitas. In regard to Dominguez specifically, he said, “Typically the Vice Mayor position is occupied by leadership that seeks to be the next Mayor. And it’s apparent that the Vice Mayor has a different mission now.”
The Beat also asked Tran if he’d be supporting Vice Mayor Dominguez in her Assemblymember race to which he replied: “I’m undecided at this time.”
In 2022, State Senator Bob Wieckowski will be termed out of his seat, leaving open a strong possibility that Tran might eye it for the future.
For now, though, his focus is on all the work that still needs to be done in Milpitas.
“If we had great leadership in Milpitas, then I wouldn’t feel so much of a need to remain,” said Tran. “But Milpitas needs me, and that’s what I’m making as my top priority as I move forward in politics…”