San Jose native enters crowded District 2 council race
Pamela Campos is the first San Jose native to enter the District 2 city council race. Photo courtesy of Pamela Campos.

    Pamela Campos grew up in a San Jose home shared by four families until hers could afford their own house. Now, Campos is entering the District 2 San Jose City Council race to tackle that same problem of overcrowding head on.

    Campos is the third candidate—and first lifelong San Jose resident—to join the District 2 race, and if elected would replace incumbent Councilmember Sergio Jimenez who is terming out of office. District 2 comprises parts of South San Jose, including Oak Grove, Coyote Creek and Blossom Valley.

    Campos said she will use her experiences of growing up in an immigrant household and working with preschoolers and children with autism to focus her campaign on what she feels isn’t prioritized enough in San Jose—children’s safety and growth. She said her deep San Jose roots and dedication to her fellow residents make her stand out from the other candidates.

    “Ensuring that our city is a place that allows young children and their families to thrive, that is at the heart of my policies,” Campos told San José Spotlight.

    San Jose ranks first in young adult homelessness nationwide, with nearly 85 homeless residents between the ages of 18 and 24 per 100,000 people, according to a 2023 study by United Way of the National Capital Area.

    Campos is a policy and program officer for the Low Income Investment Fund, a national nonprofit community development financial institution.

    Campos has not run for an elected position before, but is currently vice chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Policy Advisory Council. She has worked as a community organizer for the Santa Clara County chapter of child care nonprofit Parent Voices. She is also an SJ4All member, a city advisory group which provides feedback to improve city policies and processes.

    She holds a bachelor’s degree in child and adolescent development from San Jose State University and a certification in policy, advocacy and leadership in action from the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley.

    Campos’ concern for the city’s children overlaps with issues like affordable housing and overcrowding in homes, which means one or more person is sharing a room in a home, including living rooms or other spaces.

    She said overcrowding, which she thought was normal growing up, is often overlooked compared to homelessness. In 2021, 17% of housed Latinos in Silicon Valley lived in overcrowded homes, according to the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley’s 2023 Latino Report Card.

    Campos’ campaign will also focus on transportation, public safety, economic development and climate resilience.

    “I am 110% invested in this community because it’s not just my community, it’s my family’s community,” she said.

    Gabriela Chavez-Lopez first met Campos eight months ago and recently moved to endorse her. While Chavez-Lopez is executive director of the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley, her endorsement is her own.

    Chavez-Lopez said Campos genuinely cares about marginalized communities and will provide a needed voice for San Jose children, which she added means a lot to her as a mother to a 4-year-old.

    “She really does not only have the passion, but the boldness that it’s going to take in order to shift the status quo,” Chavez-Lopez told San José Spotlight.

    Campos said her community inspires her.

    “Being someone who is going to fight hard every single day to make sure that my family and all families can stay here in San Jose is really what drives me,” she said.

    Campos’ campaign will kick off at a celebration on Aug. 12 at 10 a.m. at Vista Park.

    Contact Annalise Freimarck at [email protected] or follow @annalise_ellen on Twitter.

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