Last week on Facebook, Mayor Rich Tran announced his intention to run for Milpitas City Council in 2022, for a seat that’s to open after his third mayoral term expires at the end of that year.
The Beat caught up with the Mayor this past Saturday while he was out on the go. “It’s going to be a tremendous honor and opportunity,” he said, “to continue to serve the hometown.
“I think that running for City Council and being a Councilmember will allow for me to continue to serve. I think the determining factor for me, besides putting Milpitas Families First, is working alongside great elected officials — persons like Evelyn Chua.”
As for another key Council colleague of Tran’s, he reinforced an endorsement that he’ll be carrying ‘til Election Day: “I am endorsing Carmen Montano to be the next Mayor of Milpitas.”
I pointed out how the three of them — Tran, Chua, and Montano — tend to vote in unison, constituting a majority. Tran offered an alternative perspective: “I use the word ‘coalition.’ I’m always looking to build a coalition on the Council. A lot of folks know that I came into the Council as a solo rider. And I was able to build a coalition on the Council of leaders. And I’m still building. It’s no secret: I’m still looking to build a coalition in the hope that we can find more Milpitas residents that want to run for City Council and continue to increase the coalition.”
He bears a goal of what he calls a competitive City Council, which consists of “Creating a competitive environment, where being on the City Council, folks are gonna be held accountable to produce. That’s really been the theme of mine since Day One.”
Without naming names, Tran went on to say, “It’s entirely possible to get elected to the City Council and not to do anything. That’s entirely possible. I believe that our City Council should always bring forth new ideas, proposals, public policy, projects. I really don’t like to see folks get elected to the City Council and not actually produce, or be creative, or to be innovative.”
I asked Tran if he cared to elaborate. His reply was “It’s all in the City Council minutes: you can see who is bringing new ideas to the city. You can measure that. There are metrics…That’s the competitiveness I want to see as someone who loves Milpitas and City Hall.”
What about, I asked the Mayor, the transition from the central seat to a less prominent leadership role?
Said Tran, “I’ve always been a key proponent of bringing opportunity to people. I wouldn’t say I’m giving up the seat of the Mayor; I’m more than happy to see someone else do the work as the Mayor…I’m actually very excited for Carmen Montano to be the next Mayor of Milpitas…I hope one day Evelyn Chua can move up to Vice Mayor, and I’m more than happy to do my role as a City Councilmember at the end of the dais.”
Tran looks back now on five long years in the Mayoral seat, with a sixth starting after the New Year. His proudest and most special moments are both personal and professional:
“I just love being amidst the crowd of Milpitas families. Being there on a Friday night, under the lights, the football team and all the families in the stands, and cheering on our youth and our cheerleaders and our band. Those are the moments I’ll always cherish being the Mayor.”
City Hall-wise, he added, “I’m really proud of the new public policy I’ve brought in: stricter massage parlor regulations…new snack shack at the Sports Center, and they built another set of restrooms…also Fire Station 2, that’s under construction at Yosemite and Park Victoria, that’s gonna be done in 2022…on time and under budget. Those are just a short list of things that I’m proud of in City Hall, doing official business.”
For Rich Tran, the future is open-ended: “I don’t know when I’ll stop my public service in City Hall. It’s up to the residents…I hope I can continue being the best person that the residents will vote for.” He looks to Newark Mayor Alan Nagy, who’s currently serving his 13th consecutive Council term, as an inspiration. Nagy doesn’t go after higher office. But he knows his own town inside and out: the people, the policy, the history.
“I can see myself doing that,” said Mayor Rich Tran, “if I’m the best person in the eyes of the Milpitas families.”