Margaret Abe-Koga Running for Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors

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Margaret Abe-Koga

MOUNTAIN VIEW — Margaret Abe-Koga, city councilmember and former mayor of Mountain View, is running for the District 5 seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in June 2012.

A campaign kickoff event is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Cupertino Inn, 10889 North De Anza Blvd., Cupertino.

Abe-Koga has served on the Mountain View City Council since being elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010.  While on the council, she served as vice mayor in 2008 and as mayor in 2009, making her the first Asian American female to serve in those capacities in Mountain View’s 110-year history. (Art Takahara was the city’s first Asian American mayor.)

As a member of the City Council, she has championed the issues of public safety, affordable housing, environmental sustainability, youth and families, and health and wellness. As mayor, her accomplishments include:

* Securing a grant for the city to include a health element in its General Plan Update, making Mountain View the first city in Santa Clara County to do so;

* Establishing the city’s first Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebration, the first MoVe to Wellness Health and Wellness Festival in partnership with community health providers, and the first Youth in Government Day program for middle school students;

* Initiating a Youth Master Plan and expanding positive activities for youth;

* Signing the Bay Area Climate Compact, making Mountain View the first small city to do so.

She has been instrumental in the city’s adoption of a Sustainability Action Plan, and led the effort to establish a housing assistance program for city employees, the building of Fire Station 5 in the North Bayshore area, and institutionalizing the Police Activities League.

Abe-Koga continues to represent Mountain View on regional bodies, including the Santa Clara County Cities Association, Santa Clara County Emergency Preparedness Council, and Project Cornerstone Leadership Team; on the non-profit boards of the Community Health Awareness Council and Housing Trust of Silicon Valley; and on the Santa Clara County Local Agency Formation Commission.

She is also chair of the Valley Transportation Authority Board of Directors after having served as vice chair in 2010 and on the VTA Policy Advisory Committee from 2007-2009. Abe-Koga led the agency to financial solvency through the economic downturn and worked to maintain and continue progress on capital projects like the BART extension, light rail improvements and the Bus Rapid Transit system.

In 2002, Abe-Koga was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Education as trustee for Area 1, which covers the Palo Alto Unified, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View Whisman school districts and corresponding portions of the Mountain View-Los Altos High School and Fremont Union High School districts. During her term, she served as vice president and a member of the Budget, Joint Legislative and Policy subcommittees, the Head Start Policy Council and the Strategic Planning Task Force.  She also led the board to establish an Alternative Schools Collaborative that formulated recommendations to better serve the county’s students in alternative programs and to outreach to youth who are not in school.

Abe-Koga has been active in the community as a member of Mountain View’s Human Relations Commission and Environmental Planning Commission; vice chair of her neighborhood association; and board member of Avenidas Senior Services, Mountain View Sister Cities Association, Silicon Valley Japanese American Chamber of Commerce, and San Jose Taiko.

Her involvement in political organizations includes serving as treasurer of the Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee, board member of Democratic Activists for Women Now and Peninsula Democratic Coalition, and founder and board member of the Silicon Valley Asian Pacific American Democratic Club.

Abe-Koga was born and raised on the Peninsula by immigrant parents from Japan.  She attended public schools K-12, and went on to Harvard University, where she earned a bachelors degree in government in 1992. After graduation, she joined Rep. Anna Eshoo’s district office staff as scheduler and field representative.

In addition to her public service career, Abe-Koga’s work experience includes serving as associate director of the Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute (APALI), and owning a small business, an indoor cycling fitness facility, before taking leave to raise her children.

She and her husband Yotto have two daughters, Aili and Aina, who attend Stevenson PACT School in Mountain View. They also care for her mother, who resides with them.

For her hobbies, she teaches indoor cycling classes, and is training for a half-marathon and triathlon. She also holds a third degree in kendo.

Candidate’s Statement

“I am happy to announce my candidacy for the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, Seat 5, which covers the cities of Palo Alto, Stanford, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Saratoga and parts of Sunnyvale and San Jose.

“I am running for supervisor because I believe in local government, and I have seen it work. My experience serving on the Mountain View City Council has shown me that local government can produce tangible results for our families, our schools, and our community.

“As your supervisor, I want to focus on making local government work on the county level. Providing social services that serve as a critical safety net for Santa Clara County’s neediest families is one of the most important functions of the Board of Supervisors. I want to ensure that in these tough economic times, no one falls through the cracks.

“Budgets for all local governments are shrinking rapidly. And given that we expect state budget cuts for as far as the eye can see, we will need to figure out how to do more with less. I am proud of our track record in the City of Mountain View where we’ve done exactly that. We are one of the best financially run cities in the state, and are one of just three cities with an AAA credit rating.

“I’ve focused on our budget during my five years on the City Council to ensure fiscal stability and a continuance of top-notch services despite tight finances. We’ve stretched out dollars farther and found alternative delivery models and partnerships to maintain our levels of service.

“Regional advocacy is also a major responsibility of a county supervisor, and I’ve expanded my involvement to countywide issues. I’ve also served on the Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Board of Directors as vice chair in 2010 and as chair this year. We faced financial challenges at VTA as well, with a $40 million structural deficit at hand when I joined the board.

“I served on the Financial Stability Task Force with stakeholders from our organization and the community, and through our work as well as proactive advocacy for funding assistance, we were able to turn around the deficit into a surplus. We’ve implemented efficiencies and new service delivery models to better serve our riders while moving ahead with infrastructure projects that have produced jobs. I’ve advocate for the increased use of technology to reflect our location as the center of Silicon Valley.

“My work on the Santa Clara County Local Area Formation Commission, the Santa Clara County Cities Association, and as an elected trustee of the Santa Clara County Board of Education before my tenure on City Council has given me extensive understanding of our diverse county and the experience in working in a countywide capacity. I look forward to bringing my experience to the County Board of Supervisors.

“Along with my extensive work in local government, I believe my experiences as a daughter of immigrant parents and a mother with two young children in public school would bring a much needed perspective to the board and would make the board better reflective of our diverse county.

“I am looking forward over the next several months to meeting and talking with voters to find out their hopes and wishes for Santa Clara County, what they would like to see the county government do better. It takes an open ear, open mind, and working with others to get things done. Together, I know we can make Santa Clara County an even better place to work, live, and play.”

For more information, visit  www.mak4supervisor.com

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