Nine months after losing a bid for higher office, San Jose Councilmember Johnny Khamis is running for Santa Clara County supervisor.
Khamis, who terms out from the council this month, is running for the District 1 seat held by Supervisor Mike Wasserman, who is terming out.
So far, Khamis has raised $32,000 for his supervisorial bid and hopes to raise $100,000 by December 31.
If he wins a seat on the five-member board, Khamis said he would focus on the homeless community’s battles with mental health and drug addiction.
Political analysts say Khamis could be a frontrunner in the 2022 race. The seat, which covers Almaden Valley, Los Gatos and South County, includes part of his council district and has been held by Republicans for more than two decades.
Wasserman is a Republican as was his predecessor, Don Gage. Khamis is a former Republican who left the party due to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, but still holds fiscally conservative values.
The District 10 councilmember said one of his priorities is having the county adopt Laura’s Law, a policy that allows temporary court-ordered mental health treatment for people with serious mental illnesses who have rejected receiving assistance.
Khamis said he will fight to help mentally ill or drug addicted homeless people in the county. Although the county has similar programs to Laura’s Law, Khamis said the difference is its programs are voluntary.
“Someone suffering from a mental health breakdown is not in full control and not a good decision maker,” Khamis said.
Housing the homeless is also a priority for Khamis, he said.
“It’s not being addressed in a way that brings the number down,” he said. “The county needs to build more housing for the homeless on county-owned property. That has been neglected.”
Khamis earlier this year mounted a bid for state Senate to replace termed-out Sen. Jim Beall. He lost the primary election in March and Supervisor Dave Cortese won the seat last month.
Khamis has been endorsed by Mayor Sam Liccardo, former Mayor Chuck Reed and other elected officials from San Jose, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Monte Sereno and Los Gatos.
Khamis said he wants to ensure the county is fiscally responsible.
“I never felt the county was delivering everything it could, especially for the tax dollars being spent,” Khamis said. “The way the county spends its money doesn’t seem transparent, like the cost of Valley Medical Center. I want to find out how we’re spending our money because it seems like we never have enough, and the services are never adequate. I want to know why.”
Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected]