SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The race to become the next mayor for the nation’s 10th largest city has kicked off.

After spending the last 7 years on the San Jose City Council, Raul Peralez announced his candidacy for mayor. 

“For me, this opportunity that I’ve had over the last seven years to help lead our city on the City Council to understand the challenges that we’re facing and to be a part of the solutions and a part of moving that forward,” says Peralez. 

“Our current mayor is terming out. And so being able to throw my hat in that ring, to want to be able to lead the city that I’ve always called home.”

Peralez’ campaign will focus on some of the city’s most pressing issues including affordable housing, homelessness, equity towards underserved communities, and helping small businesses recover from the pandemic. 

“So really the focus on ensuring that as we recover, we do so equitably, we’re looking at ensuring that we’re raising the bar better for everybody and that we can recover better than we were before. And then obviously addressing a lot of those issues that have been exasperated that were always there even before the pandemic,” says Peralez.

“It’s going to be issues like affordable housing and homelessness, and addressing and ensuring that we can make San Jose a city where everybody can continue to afford, to live, to be able to really be able to get in and, and create solutions that get people off of our streets much more quickly than what we’ve been doing today.”

San Jose’s very own

Born and raised in San Jose to a Mexican immigrant father and a Caucasian mother, Peralez has support from the city’s labor base. 

If elected, he would become the third mayor of color in the city’s history. 

“My father immigrated here from Mexico and my mother was born here,” says Peralez. 

“And that’s really, I think the perspective that I’m able to bring, not only from an immigrant family, but a perspective from a blue collar family that today is really struggling to remain in this city and more importantly, struggling to thrive in this city.”

Over the last two decades, Peralez has served the city, first working as an emergency medical technician, then as a San Jose Police officer, and his most recent position serving as District 3 councilmember.

“Certainly being able to come from the history that I do, having been a police officer here in the city of San Jose, but also somebody that’s always fought for social justice. I have an opportunity to be able to bring those sides together and be able to move us forward in that concept.”

District 6 Councilmember Dev Davis joins the race

After hinting that she would be running for mayor, Councilmember Dev Davis has also joined the race. 

Peralez and Davis are the first two candidates to publicly announce campaigns for the 2022 mayoral race. 

“Both are experienced, both have been serving on the council, in Peralez’ case almost two full terms, Councilmember Davis has just been elected to a second term, so both candidates have had experience working on a lot of the challenges that San Jose faces,“ says Garrick Percival, San Jose State University political science professor. 

“They have different visions about the way to go forward but these are well-known candidates particularly in their districts, their challenge moving forward is when you’re running for mayor you have to be elected city-wide, so you’re introducing yourself to voters who haven’t had a chance to vote for you before.”

Davis is a nonpartisan with the support of business leaders and if elected would continue the trend of business-backed mayors. 

Currently, Davis sits as the city’s District 6 Councilmember, which encompasses neighborhoods of Willow Glen and Rose Garden. 

“It’s a little bit on the higher income relative to other districts in the city, typically has high rates of participation, strong neighborhood associations, says Percival. 

“That district has typically been represented at least in more recent times by more moderate candidates, not quite as liberal as other candidates.”

Different perspectives

Percival tells KRON4 News that despite the two districts sharing some similarities, they do differ in terms of what issues confront each voter-base. 

Some of the issues that confront District 3 are some of the most challenging the city has to deal with focused on housing, homelessness, and equitable economic development. 

Additionally, serving as Councilmember for District 3 has historically been a launching pad for mayor. 

“The campaign for a lot of candidates who have represented District 3 have gone on to run for mayor, Sam Liccardo the current mayor was a former representative of District 3,” says Percival. 

“It’s an important district that has typically captured a lot of attention.”

Davis announced through her website that she is running for mayor and will provide more information on her campaign soon.