Almost a year after telling San José Spotlight that he was aiming for a run for mayor, downtown councilor Raul Peralez publicly launched his campaign on Wednesday.
And he has already staked his campaign platform: Affordable housing, justice and promotion of disadvantaged communities and local businesses.
“I didn’t grow up in a wealthy or politically connected family. Just graduating from high school was about defying the odds,” Peralez said. “My parents dropped out of high school and spent long hours in underpaid jobs, putting food on the table and paying the rent each month on our apartment in West San Jose. They were determined that my sister and I would have more options than they did. I am grateful for their daily sacrifice, and I am dedicated to public service to ensure that other children like me can brave adversity. “
The move comes after Peralez worked behind the scenes for almost a year to take the reins of the country’s tenth largest city.
Peralez, who announced his mayoral run in 2022 as the first candidate and cleared the field of employee-supported candidates, already has an advisory board and asks for support.
It is still unclear whether the other rumored candidate from the labor camp, Supervisor Cindy Chavez, will actually take the plunge. She didn’t make multiple comments.
Councilor Sergio Jimenez advocated Peralez partly because of his work on key issues such as homelessness and housing.
“He has faced these challenging issues that have faced spared many council members over the years,” Jimenez told San Jose Spotlight. “And the challenges they pose. This is the guidance we need from the city’s next mayor. “
Jimenez said the owner and non-owner gap has grown immensely in the city, and Peralez realizes that there are two silicon valleys. For one thing, people are thriving, buying $ 1.5 million worth of houses with cash, and for another, people are living on the streets fighting for better minimum wages and better health care.
“He has the unique experience of adding to the plight of some people who have no voice and I think that’s more important now than ever,” said Jimenez.
If elected, Peralez would become the third Mayor of Color in San Jose’s history – despite the city’s rich diversity.
“Raul Peralez has dedicated his life to improving the lives of the people of San Jose,” said former Mayor Ron Gonzales, who supported Peralez. “First as a math teacher, then as a policeman, and for the past eight years as a city council member. He is knowledgeable, prepared and committed to making our city better. “
Peralez, the son of an immigrant and the first of his family to graduate from college, said he was different from Mayor Sam Liccardo in how the city budget and services should be distributed, especially to the neediest parishioners.
“During my tenure on the council there have been some fairly controversial and important votes that reflect where we have had different values and approaches to politics who in our community we seek to help,” Peralez told San Jose Spotlight. “The perspective I bring is different because of my personal upbringing. I do not come from a wealthy family. I don’t come from a family that is politically connected. “
Peralez shared his concern about the disproportionate impact of homelessness and housing to low-income communities color.
“Too many people in our community are still being excluded,” he said. “You are unable to afford a house priced out of the rental market … from a fair share and prosperity from our city itself.”
San Jose Councilor Raul Peralez is pictured in this file photo. Photo by Ramona Giwargis.
Garrick Percival, professor of political science at San Jose State University, said Peralez had built a strong political support base and, as a downtown representative, focused on political issues affecting the city.
“So many of the problems that District 3 faces are some of the most difficult problems our city faces,” said Percival. With that experience as a councilor, it’s a launch pad for the mayor. “
Peralez said homelessness has been his top priority since taking office. He helped build the city’s first two permanent supportive housing developments, including Second Street Studios.
Peralez advocates also sanctioned camp for homeless residents, a measure that Liccardo has not publicly supported.
“If we can identify locations where we can provide services and sanitation, we can better manage locations that aren’t as harmful to our environment and community as a win-win situation,” he said. “It is certainly not a permanent solution, but it is an interim solution that is needed to meet today’s challenges.”
Though he would bring a work perspective to the role, Peralez said he understood the needs of small businesses after leading the downtown San Jose economic recovery task force.
“I have my core values and they have aligned with working families and more progressive values, but I’ve also worked closely with our business community,” Peralez said in an interview on Tuesday. “I have found a good working relationship with everyone and I think my tenure on the Council proved that. It could really benefit our city. We have certainly had a lot of tension and division over the years. It is one of the elements of my candidacy that will stand out from other candidates. “
Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected]