State lawmaker to run for Santa Clara County supervisor
Sally Lieber is running for a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. She was previously a California assemblymember. Photo courtesy of Sally Lieber.

    After decades in local and state politics, Sally Lieber is ready to be a bridge between county government and the residents it serves.

    Lieber is running for the District 5 seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, which will be open in 2024 when current Supervisor Joe Simitian terms out. The district includes Mountain View, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga and portions of Palo Alto. Supporters said Lieber is a seasoned candidate with experience in multiple levels of policymaking.

    “The direction of my life is helping people find out more about government and working with them to solve problems that they see in the community,” Lieber, 62, told San José Spotlight.

    Lieber is a current member on the California State Board of Equalization, which is responsible for tax administration in the state. She started her career in public service as a Mountain View councilmember in 1998, moving on to the state Assembly from 2002 to 2008. Lieber served as Speaker Pro Tempore from 2007 to 2008. In this position, Lieber presided over the Assembly in the speaker’s absence. She ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2012 and 2020 and was later elected to the board of equalization in 2022.

    Lieber said her priorities are addressing affordable housing and homelessness, fostering collaboration between county and city governments and working with the state to bolster the county’s mental health system. She said the county works to implement state policies and programs, which she understands deeply. Santa Clara County policymakers declared a countywide mental health emergency last year, and launched the 988 hotline, an alternative to 911 for mental health crises. The establishment of 988 became federal law in 2020.

    “The fact that I’ve been an activist on these issues for so long, and have had really good exposure to state legislation in this area will help me to be very effective in all the different policy areas that the county touches,” Lieber said.

    Meghan Fraley, a Mountain View community organizer and clinical psychologist, said Lieber always has people in mind. Fraley said she and Lieber have run in the same circles for nearly a decade, working on issues like minimum wage.

    Fraley said she once left a bookstore with Lieber, and the latter crossed the street to talk to a homeless individual. Lieber said, “Hold on one second,” and ran down the block. Then she helped the man figure out how to get grease for his shopping cart wheels because she noticed they were squeaking. Many people wouldn’t have bothered, Fraley added.

    “She has a deep empathy, but also practicality and effectiveness in terms of her role as a legislator,” Fraley told San José Spotlight.

    Former state Sen. and Valley Water board member Jim Beall was colleagues with Lieber in the state Assembly. He said she was outspoken on issues related to gender equality and was a firm advocate for equal pay.

    “She’s persistent and experienced,” he told San José Spotlight.

    Beall has not endorsed anyone for the District 5 supervisors race.

    Lieber said she intends to listen as much as she can during her campaign, talking with residents at the grassroots level to figure out policy ideas together.

    “I know that I want to stay in public service, and I’ve always been involved in the county,” Lieber said. “Santa Clara County, in particular, really has so much potential and such a great legacy.”

    Contact Loan-Anh Pham at [email protected] or follow @theLoanAnhLede on Twitter.

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