A woman stands speaking at a podium with other women behind her
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez could take a top position in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. File photo.

Silicon Valley labor leader Cindy Chavez is still looking to leave the Bay Area — this time, she’s eyeing a role in New Mexico.

Chavez is one of three finalists for Bernalillo County manager, a top administrative role that oversees its management and operations. A county commission of elected officials whittled their list of finalists down on Tuesday and hope to have the role filled by the end of June. Bernalillo County has a population of about 672,000 and is where Albuquerque is located.

Chavez was not immediately available for comment. She has represented District 2 on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors since 2013 and terms out this year. She is facing off against Bernalillo County’s Economic Development Director Marcos Gonzales and Joseph Lesard, former city manager of Ashland, Oregon, for the position.

New Mexico could be Chavez’s next destination as she looks to end her more than 20-year legacy in Silicon Valley. She previously applied twice for the San Diego County chief administrative officer position, but wasn’t selected and considered suing the county over possible discrimination.

“I would like to thank our local search committee for doing such a professional job in recommending a strong group of candidates. We are thrilled to be one step closer to the selection of our next county manager,” Bernalillo County Commission Chair Barbara Baca said in a statement. “We believe the three finalists have leadership qualities that will keep us moving in the right direction.”

Chavez unsuccessfully ran for the San Jose mayoral seat in November, but her political career goes way back. Chavez won a seat on the San Jose City Council in 1998 and served eight years. The council appointed her to be vice mayor during her last year before she unsuccessfully ran for the city’s top seat against Chuck Reed in 2006. She then served as executive director of the South Bay Labor Council and Working Partnerships USA from 2009 to 2013.

Over the course of her career, Chavez has won support from former President Bill Clinton, Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo, as well as former U.S. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta. She was endorsed by dozens of local progressive leaders and was even able to reach across the aisle and snag the support of more moderate elected officials.

Bernalillo County will hold a special public meeting on June 18 for residents to hear from the three finalists, including Chavez.

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

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