Morgan Hill Mayor Rich Constantine has joined the contest for Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman’s seat.
Constantine joins former councilmember Johnny Khamis, County Board of Education President Claudia Rossi and Los Gatos Vice Mayor Rob Rennie in vying for the District 1 seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Wasserman’s term will end in 2022 after serving the typically Republican district for 12 years.
The largest of the five districts, District 1 includes South County, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, parts of southern San Jose and unincorporated areas.
Constantine said he felt it was important that somebody from South County ran for the Board of Supervisors to ensure it was represented.
“Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Martin tend to be forgotten sometimes,” he said.
Constantine said another motivation for throwing his hat in the ring was his frustration with a lack of resources from the state for building affordable homes.
“Morgan Hill per capita has more below market rate housing than any city in Northern California,” he said. “That’s pretty bad that we’re leading the way per capita.”
In addition to focusing on economic recovery from COVID, Constantine said the county needs to partner with its cities on issues.
“There are people who get missed in the system,” the mayor said. “That’s where the county comes in. We can’t fix problems like the homeless issue by ourselves. It has to be something we do as a team.”
Morgan Hill Councilmember Rene Spring said he’s rooting for a candidate who doesn’t live in San Jose.
“The areas of Gilroy, San Martin, Morgan Hill and Los Gatos are so vastly different than the needs of the city of San Jose,” Spring said. “They already have four supervisors. I don’t think they need that last seat as well.”
Spring said he has a good relationship with Constantine on the council and likes his stance on protecting agricultural land and open space, as well as his support for the LGBTQ community. He said he respects Constantine and that he would be “a wonderful supervisor.”
Former Congressman Mike Honda said Constantine protected open space in South County, combatted traffic congestion, strengthened the workforce and ensured families had access to healthcare.
“District 1 residents deserve a representative like Rich who knows the unique issues and strengths of the district,” Honda said, “and who can get to work on day one.”
Constantine has served on the Morgan Hill City Council since 2010 and as mayor since 2018. In addition, he was a firefighter with the San Jose Fire Department and volunteered with the search and rescue unit of the United States Air Force Civil Air Patrol.
Morgan Hill Unified School District Board of Education President Wendy Sullivan said she supports Constantine for supervisor.
“Our children and families need a champion on the board who understands that access to childcare, health services and critical social service programs are needed throughout the county and that champion is Rich,” Sullivan said.
Constantine has served on the Santa Clara Valley Water Commission, Santa Clara Habitat Conservation Agency and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. He is the committee chair of the Governance, Transparency & Labor Relation policy committee for the League of California Cities.
Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected]@gmail.com.