Running for the Santa Clara County Supervisor seat is somewhat of a personal homecoming for Magdalena Carrasco.
A San Jose councilmember since 2015, the lifelong resident has her sight set on returning to the government building she worked in for 11 years of her life as a social worker, campaigning to fill Dave Cortese’s seat after the veteran lawmaker terms out this year.
“It really feels like I’m going full circle at this point, like I’m going back home,” Carrasco said. “All the issues that the county is currently working on – domestic violence, working with our homeless population, affordable housing – the issues that should be at the top of everyone’s list on the county board are the issues that I’m already working on.”
Health and human services
The 52-year-lawmaker said her background in community service guides her priorities and vision for the city, from her time working with children at FIRST 5 Santa Clara County to her role in the Foster Care and Adoptions Program at the county. She said she understands the county government structure, which would be critical in managing these programs from the top down.
In addition to advocating for continued affordable housing — especially on county land — and providing mental health and addiction services for those who need it, Carrasco wants to prioritize making sure women feel safe and children get equal education opportunities countywide – two issues that are already being pushed by Supervisors Cindy Chavez and Susan Ellenberg.
“If they’re fleeing from domestic violence or human trafficking, they know that the county is there, and providing the services that they need for them and their children,” Carrasco said. “I want to be sure that women and children in this county feel safe, regardless of their circumstances.”
According to recent financial disclosure forms, Carrasco’s campaign raised nearly $128,000 in contributions.
County budget spending
Reflecting on her decade of work in the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children Services, Carrasco would put a focus on funding to fill the hundreds of open positions across county departments.
Carrasco said staff shortages can affect quality of service and care for those who need it most. Pointing to the understaffed mental health Mobile Crisis Response Team, she vowed to make it a necessary allocation of the county’s immense $8.1 billion budget.
“We need to fill those positions. We need to make sure that our current workers are not burnt out, and we need to make sure that the services are getting to the folks who need it the most,” Carrasco said. “I want to make sure that I’m there to support them, as well as making sure that we have the kind of safety net that is going to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Carrasco is running for the open supervisor seat against California Assemblymember Kansen Chu, former San Jose Planning Commissioner John Leyba and former Sunnyvale Mayor Otto Lee.
“This particular position suits her very well. The county is about the safety social net, and it’s something that she has dedicated much of her life to, in terms of supporting those in greatest need,” said Assemblyman Ash Kalra, who worked alongside Carrasco on the San Jose City Council. “Her compassion and her experience in that regard match the position of county supervisor very well.”
Carrasco’s campaign comes three years before her council term ends in 2023, leaving a vacancy on the San Jose City Council in District 5 — which covers East San Jose — if she’s elected.
“These are the issues that I want to grapple with and address head on at the county board, so it just feels like a very natural fit,” Carrasco said. “We need to make sure that whatever seeds we sow, we will be happy with the harvest 10 to 20 years from now.”
Name: Magdalena Carrasco
Family: She has four children: Lluvia, 25; Diego,16, Abby, 15 and Paloma, 13
Political affiliation: Democrat
Education: B.A. UC Santa Barbara, went through the Master’s’ program at San Jose State University
Profession: San Jose councilmember
Current or previous elected or appointed positions: San Jose councilmember and East Side Union High School Board member
Top 3 priorities: Domestic violence, working with the homeless population, affordable housing
Top 3 endorsements: Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, Assemblymember Ash Kalra, State Sen. Jim Beall
Special talent: She loves to bake, and recently made Japanese soufflé pancakes
In one sentence, why vote for you? “I believe that I’m the best candidate because I already have experience at the county, and I know what families are going through.”