Name: Franco Perez
Running for: Mayor of Milpitas
Why are you running?
Throughout the years, I have slowly seen the shift in Milpitas, where only the wealthy and the rich are able to survive and thrive but not many opportunities are provided to those of low-income families.
Growing up in Milpitas with a single mother and also experiencing what it was like to grow up in a low-income family, I have experienced the struggles that many are facing right now in the area. And because of what I’ve gone through, I want to help others who have also been in similar shoes as I was, so they have an opportunity to be able to grow here.
What’s the biggest problem facing Milpitas right now? And how would you intend to solve it?
I believe the number one problem is housing affordability and being able to keep the people, like teachers and blue collar workers, in Milpitas. One way I plan to solve that is to work on housing and create owner-occupied-only homes, which would allow families to be able to purchase homes without having to compete with investors that want to rent them out. Creating opportunities for teachers to own homes is a very crucial thing as well.
What would your priorities be should you get elected?
I believe that money and finances are crucial aspects that not many people have knowledge about, and having a financial education for them to understand how they can leverage what they have for further improvement. We would need to do some analysis and statistics for the citizens to be more aware of where they are spending their money and how it helps them with their goals down the line and improvement.
What can you bring to the table that you feel no other candidate can bring?
From the perspective of someone who grew up in a low-income family, one thing is to solve the low-income housing issue. I found that in Silicon Valley, housing is such a core aspect for many people as well as financial education.
My company has personally helped many low-income and middle-class families to be able to get out of that rent cycle and get their families ahead. And that’s always been our passion. We want to continue to create and improve lives for families like that.
Where do you see Milpitas 10 years from now?
Ten years from now, I see Milpitas really being able to make a change for low-income families. While the housing market is making it more of a disadvantage for people to live here, as we come together more to make a change for the better; I believe that in the future, families will be able to stay in this area.
Who is your inspiration, and why?
Speaking of who is my inspiration, the one that really motivates me to move forward is my mother. Growing up in a single family with two kids, I saw how hard my mom had to work just to make ends meet. While working so much, she didn’t have a lot of time for herself and I saw how much she sacrificed for my sister and I. I always saw her as someone who is a big inspiration for me to become better.
Can you tell us one interesting thing about yourself that other people don’t really know about?
While working in my career with real estate, I am also a big foodie as well. I can say I went to almost all the restaurants in Milpitas and the San Jose area. In my free time, I love to explore the city and also new food places, especially local small businesses. I also have my own food channel on social media, youtube, and Instagram, where I feature food videos.
What’s your favorite spot in Milpitas?
I would say my favorite spot in Milpitas is the sandwich shop called The Best Sandwiches. They make some great sandwiches there. We need more mom-and-pop, small businesses to thrive and grow in Milpitas. Especially through the pandemic, many of these small businesses had to close down. They need support and especially local residents to help support them through these tough times.
What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in Milpitas right now?
The most exciting thing happening in Milpitas right now is that the fall semester has just begun and many students are going back to school in person. The in-person social interaction experience is a vital aspect of a student’s success and lays the foundation for future endeavors.
What do you love most about Milpitas?
The best part about Milpitas is its diversity of people and for us to be able to learn about different cultures and traditions from each other. I think this is what holds the community together and creates a bigger and better change in the community.