Silicon Valley needs bolder, more innovative solutions to our pressing challenges — from homelessness, to crime, to climate change, to the rising cost of living that is leaving too many families struggling to pay their bills.
From his days as a Santa Clara County prosecutor of sexual assault crimes to his work as San Jose’s reform-minded Mayor, Sam Liccardo has tackled the most pressing issues, rejected business-as-usual thinking, taken on the special interests — and delivered results for our families.
Liccardo pioneered bold homelessness solutions, like rehabilitating dilapidated motels and piloting quick-build, modular housing communities built at a small fraction of the cost and time of traditional housing. The result? In 2022, San Jose reduced the population of unsheltered residents by more than 10 percent, while other California cities struggled. There are still far too many people living in our region’s streets, parks, and creeks. But Liccardo showed we can make progress when we think differently and act boldly.
He pioneered a “Cash for Trash” program to pay homeless residents to clean streets and parks that has become a national model, and then created a pioneering program that is helping homeless neighbors literally work their way off the streets and into permanent housing by cleaning up their city.
As mayor, Liccardo led measures to add more than two hundred officers to the San Jose police force, and expand a program of unarmed “community service officers” to respond to low-priority calls. He created a first-in-the-nation law to fund gun violence prevention measures — such as mental health and domestic violence reduction — through fees on gun owners, a law that has been upheld in federal court. By his last year in office, in 2022, San Jose had the lowest homicide rate of any major U.S. city.
He fought to narrow the Valley’s economic divide, bringing high-speed internet to more than 250,000 residents so the opportunities of Silicon Valley could be brought to every neighborhood. He deployed an innovative digital platform to help hundreds of first-generation students learn and earn their way into college, funded by more than $10 million in philanthropic contributions. He steered the proposed massive expansion of Google in downtown with accompanying commitments to build more than 1,000 affordable homes, and co-led efforts to bring the first BART service to Santa Clara County in East San Jose.
Liccardo successfully fought developers to protect the hillsides of the Santa Clara Valley and preserve open spaces like Coyote Valley. He fought PG&E to create a community choice energy utility to provide local residents and businesses the ability to choose lower priced, 95% GHG-free electricity. He fought the Trump administration to protect the rights of young Dreamers to pursue their education and careers in the only nation they’ve known. He fought to protect reproductive freedoms after the overturning of Roe v. Wade by funding remote care for women facing prohibitions of service in their home states.