South San Jose is where resident Babu Prasad raised his children, established his first business and bought his first house. Now it’s where he’s running for office to continue serving his community.
Prasad announced his run for the San Jose City Council District 2 seat on Sunday. He hopes to replace current Councilmember Sergio Jimenez, who leaves office in 2024 after two full terms. District 2 is centered in South San Jose and includes the Oak Grove, Coyote Creek and Blossom Valley areas.
“I got all my dreams fulfilled here. I have to do something for this community,” Prasad, 52, told San José Spotlight. “I’m driven by the neighborhoods, and I’m committed to supporting my neighbors.”
Prasad is the first candidate to throw his hat in the ring for the open District 2 seat, and the city is slated to see a slew of other candidates for the 2024 election. District 6 Councilmember Dev Davis also terms out in 2024, leaving the seat vacant. District 4 Councilmember David Cohen is up for reelection, alongside Mayor Matt Mahan.
Prasad, who works in the admitting department at Kaiser Permanente and runs several small businesses, said politics runs in the family: his father was the mayor of their town in Nepal in the 1980s. He said his drive for public service came from seeing his dad’s work as a teenager.
“I was seeing his life supporting the community in Nepal,” Prasad told San José Spotlight. “When he was helping someone, he was so happy and he was coming home and he was sharing the story, and that was inspiring.”
Prasad currently serves as president of the District 2 Leadership Council and president of the Hayes Neighborhood Association. He’s the treasurer for the SEIU United Healthcare Workers API Caucus and is a shop steward for the union. He’s also a former city neighborhood commissioner.
Prasad said he emigrated from Nepal in 2003 to escape the Nepalese Civil War. He got his first job as a gas station attendant, despite his bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in sociology from Nepal. During his first few days in the United States, he had no food or bed, and slept on the carpet. He said he remembers the experience when distributing food and supplies to homeless residents.
Prasad got his first job in the health care sector working in a neurologist’s office in 2006. Since then, he’s worked to serve the community, including checking on senior residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and hosting neighborhood cleanups. His priorities are tackling homelessness, increasing public safety and supporting training and pathways for local businesses.
District 5 Councilmember Peter Ortiz is endorsing Prasad’s campaign and said he respects him as a neighborhood advocate. Ortiz said he’s known Prasad for several years and has seen his efforts in District 2 through community events. Prasad balances the needs of labor, businesses and residents of District 2, he added.
“He’s not just somebody who’s looking for the limelight. He wants to improve the quality of life in his neighborhood, and he’s been doing that work,” Ortiz told San José Spotlight. “He’s someone that brings a new lens to local politics.”
Prasad said he’ll still serve District 2 even if he doesn’t win the race.
“I always consider my community members my family and I have to support them,” he said.
Contact Loan-Anh Pham at [email protected] or follow @theLoanAnhLede on Twitter.
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