Woman walking along patio of roof
San Jose City Council District 2 candidate Pamela Campos announced a slate of endorsements from elected leaders from both the labor and business sides of the aisle. Photo courtesy of Jo Nguyen.

San Jose’s long-standing divide between business and labor interests might come down to the District 2 race and could bring more collaboration to the City Council.

District 2 candidate Pamela Campos announced a slate of endorsements on Friday from both sides of the council’s business and labor divide. She is running against retired sheriff officer Joe Lopez, who secured an endorsement from the Silicon Valley Biz PAC in March. They’re running to replace Councilmember Sergio Jimenez, a labor-backed official, who terms out this year.

Councilmembers Omar Torres and Domingo Candelas have been supported by the South Bay Labor Council — the main cultivator of labor-leaning candidates — and both backed Campos. Likewise, Councilmember Dev Davis, who has been supported by business interest groups, has also endorsed Campos.

Councilmember David Cohen endorsed Campos as well. While he was initially endorsed by the South Bay Labor Council, they declined to support his second term following his break with labor on key votes. His reelection in March was endorsed by the Silicon Valley Biz PAC.

Campos said these endorsements from both sides of the ideological spectrum show she’s ready and willing to collaborate. She said everyone can agree that the city needs action.

“I’m building a broad base of support in this campaign to make sure our success is built on the rich diversity of San Jose,” Campos told San José Spotlight. “Our campaign isn’t about labels, it’s about getting results for the residents of District 2, our city’s families and its workforce.”

Campos received an open endorsement from the South Bay Labor Council in the March primaries. Executive Officer Jean Cohen said the labor council is going through its formal process to finalize a sole endorsement for Campos within the coming months.

“I feel confident that Pamela is going to do an excellent job on the city council and is going to do an excellent job representing working families,” she told San José Spotlight.

The labor council looks for candidates whose values align with supporting workers across the city, unionized or not. Jean Cohen added the group doesn’t support people just based on talking points, but on a candidate’s actionable vision. She said the focus is on “holding and growing” labor’s majority on the city council.

Hands-on city council work often falls outside those ideological boundaries, too. Councilmembers said the ability to work across the aisle between business and labor interests are what make a candidate a good elected official — and Campos’ endorsements from both camps demonstrate her ability to cooperate.

“Any candidate that can get support from both sides or from all sides is … a smart way to go,” Jimenez told San José Spotlight.

The outgoing councilmember said he feels Campos genuinely cares about public service and was not pushed to run by any particular group. Her actions without that external factor show her commitment.

Similarly, David Cohen said he saw that Campos was driven to run because of her personal interest as a resident in her district.

“I’m not naive enough to think that people aren’t under pressure from the groups that will support them to be a part of one side or the other, but I’m always hopeful that we will see past that,” he told San José Spotlight. “My experience in the last few years, probably the last two years, is that that is the way that our council is behaving right now, and I think we will hopefully see that continue as we move forward.”

Torres said his own partnerships with other councilmembers often transcend the divide between business and labor, and Campos receiving support from both sides of the aisle is good for her campaign and potential on council.

“We know at the end of the day, there are major concerns here in the city of San Jose, and friends in the labor movement and friends in the business community have to work together for that common goal,” Torres told San José Spotlight.

Contact B. Sakura Cannestra at [email protected] or @SakuCannestra on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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