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Wednesday, September 30, 2020
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2020 Election Series Voltaire Montemayor, underdog in the Milpitas Mayoral race, remains confident

Voltaire Montemayor, underdog in the Milpitas Mayoral race, remains confident

This article is part of a series on figures who have declared their candidacy for Milpitas City Council or Mayor of Milpitas for November’s general election. Two City Council seats and the Mayor’s seat are up for grabs. The entire series can be found here.

 

Although he knows he’s the underdog, Voltaire Montemayor is putting everything he’s got into the upcoming Milpitas Mayoral election. 

After two unsuccessful runs for Mayor in both 2016 and 2018–and for City Councilmember in 2014–he is asking the community once again to consider his candidacy. 

“I believe in myself,” said Montemayor in an interview with The Beat. “When I talk to people, when I advise them, they improve. We need action in Milpitas. I believe action is faster than a loud voice.” 

Back in 2014, Montemayor started regularly attending City Council meetings, always getting up during Public Comment to speak about his support for certain initiatives and his love of the city, and to let his voice be heard on various topics.   

“I might have missed one meeting in all this time,” said Montemayor. “I’m always there…” 

Even during the pandemic, as meetings have shifted to an online format, Montemayor continues to put effort into showing up and following all the goings-on of the Milpitas city government. 

Although the two aren’t blood-related, incumbent Mayor Rich Tran often warmly refers to Montemayor as “Uncle.”  

“Mayor Tran is a classmate of my son from high school, and we’re family friends. So I hold no grudge against him, nothing. I respect him,” said Montemayor. 

At present, Montemayor serves on the Board of the Sunnyhills Neighborhood Association. He’s also a Health Service Chairman for the Knights of Columbus in Milpitas, and is part of the Balungao Association of America. 

He’s even an avid chess player…

“I was the Philippines Champion in 1979 at a match in Tokyo, Japan,” Montemayor mentioned. “I study moves. I can see seven moves ahead. I can backtrack also.” 

Before COVID happened, Montemayor was an active member of St. John the Baptist’s choir. Currently, he’s Assistant Facility Coordinator for the church, helping out when things need to be fixed or accomplished. He has been attending services at St. John’s since 1982. 

Montemayor studied Mechanical Engineering at Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) in Manila for a year. But when he discovered Geology, he felt he had found his true passion. He received his BS in Geology from MIT, as well. 

After graduating, Montemayor went on a mission for the Philippine government, traveling to Tokyo to work as a senior geologist and offer support with map interpretation. 

In 1980, he moved from the Philippines to the United States, and soon started working at Technology Glass Corporation as an Engineering Operator. Upon moving to the states, he settled into his first home in Milpitas—and has never left the city. 

From 1981-1993, he worked at Hewlett Packard as a Material Handler, attending to shipping and receiving. By night, he was the only one present in the stock room focused on shipping and receiving. He would keep a chessboard handy nearby, and play rounds of chess against himself during slow times. 

In May, 1993, after completing training as a general automotive repair technician at the Sequoia Institute, Montemayor went to work for Toyota as an Accessory Installer, and stayed there until April, 2009, when he retired. 

Montemayor’s wife works as a nurse at Kaiser in Union City, and the pair has three adult sons.  

When asked about what he would bring to the city, Montemayor mentioned that he would work to find solutions for preventing wildfires and resolving conflicts. He also said that he isn’t in favor of defunding the police, and that overall he would offer the community strong support during a time in which COVID-19 has caused so much damage. 

“I would be a great Mayor,” said Montemayor. “Even if there’s a problem with unity and justice, I believe I could handle it. I can resolve problems and it will be fair. Nothing is biased. All is fair.” 

 

 

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Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro 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 with nonprofit organizations to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also an author; her first book will be published by Llewellyn Worldwide in mid-2019. Her YouTube channel, which features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment, has amassed thousands of subscribers. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s founder.

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