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A Home for All

Affordable Housing and Homelessness Solutions

Recognizing the urgent need for affordable housing and solutions to homelessness, Dave initiated a countywide housing task force – bringing together business, labor workforce, local government, experts, and the homeless population. This effort led to groundbreaking initiatives such as the $950 million “Measure A” affordable housing bond that Dave co-chaired, along with the “All the Way Home” campaign that he led, which has already provided homes to over 2,200 veterans in the County. In the Senate, he has passed laws to facilitate the development of affordable housing and promote local economic development statewide using principles we’ve championed here in Santa Clara County.

“One of the most heart-wrenching consequences of California's housing crisis is the staggering number of people experiencing homelessness. It's not just adults who are affected; we see thousands of school-aged kids living on the streets in California, and even more are at risk. It's our responsibility to ensure that every child has a place to call home.”

Keeping Families
Safe and Healthy

Dave was instrumental in rescuing two local hospitals and a clinic that were in bankruptcy, saving lives during the pandemic. His bill, SB 564, a law that was enacted in 2021, extended safeguarded access to health services during challenging times at both O’Connor Hospital and the Valley Medical Center and he has authored SB 636 to prevent medical coverage denials by out-of-state doctors, advocating for fairness in treatment. In the Senate, he’s secured state funding for Wildfire Preparedness Technologies and is working to improve animal welfare through the expansion of pet and veterinary care in underserved communities.

A dedicated advocate for public safety, Dave led Santa Clara County’s efforts to prevent gun-related deaths. He initiated the 24/7 Sheriff’s program for safe disposal of unwanted weapons, led the creation of the County’s first Neighborhood Safety Unit, with a focus on high-crime areas in San Jose, spearheaded the County’s Fireworks Prevention Ordinance as well as Safe-Storage Ordinance, and stepped-up graffiti removal.

When staff shortages challenged public safety, he worked to support the San Jose Police Department with County Sheriff officers, improved EMS response times, and chaired a successful public safety bond campaign in San Jose.

Dave authored SB 10, or “Melanie’s Law”, that will broaden statewide prevention, education, and training efforts to stop youth fentanyl overdoses and death.

“The pandemic has taught us that we have the power to work collectively to protect the lives of our residents and the health of our community.”

Climate Action

Dave’s commitment to the environment is unparalleled – with a mission to reverse our climate emergency and restore the climate for future generations. Since before he was in public office, Dave has worked successfully to secure 300 acres of permanent open space in South San Jose—now known as Martial Cottle Park—by negotiating a complex joint funding relationship between the State and the County. 

He led Santa Clara County’s transition to 100% renewable electric power as well as all-electric buildings, co-founded Silicon Valley Clean Energy ensuring carbon-free electricity for the region, launched the Silicon Valley Kid’s Climate Club and Silicon Valley Youth Climate Initiative, secured state funding for local STEM Education programming, partnered with Al Gore to create the County Climate Coalition, passed first-in-the-nation Climate Restoration measures at the local and state level, and has spoken in front of the United Nations and World Economic Forum to share these groundbreaking best practices, garnering international recognition for his visionary approach and contributing to the global dialogue on effective climate solutions.

“If we don't urgently confront the threat of climate change, we're only setting ourselves up for more record-breaking heatwaves, wildfires, and other fiercer, deadlier impacts. We owe our future generations a planet that is habitable and sustainable.”

Navigating Better Transit and Infrastructure

Dave’s dedication to improving transportation infrastructure has transformed the South Bay. As a member and former Chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, he secured federal funds for road rehabilitation and congestion relief. He championed funding for the BART expansion into San Jose and played a pivotal role in bringing light rail service to Eastridge. Dave’s efforts improved expressways, highways, and interchanges, enhancing connectivity for all.

“By continuing to invest in Bay Area’s transportation systems, we can safeguard against service cuts and improve our region's economic resilience as well as our climate aspirations.”

Equality and Empowerment

Dave led Santa Clara County’s Gender and Ethnicity Pay Equity Ordinance, established the Anti-Human Trafficking Team, and championed comprehensive Title IX policy reviews for K-12 and higher education institutions. He has worked with advocates and survivors to introduce, and successfully pass, legislation to prevent online sexual exploitation and trafficking, including of minors, and provide avenues for recovery and relief for survivors, as well as finally eliminating the archaic “spousal rape exception” in California law. 

“During my time in public office, we’ve fought relentlessly for progress, breaking down barriers and advancing gender equity. This work isn't over. Everyone in our community deserves an equal opportunity to make their mark.”

Providing Economic Opportunity

Bringing his diverse background as a former commercial bank manager, sports franchise investor, and real estate developer, Dave has improved the lives of California workers and business owners. He helped launch programs like the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center, initiated the Santa Clara County Labor Standards Enforcement Office and championed ordinances for pay equity, living wages, and preventing wage theft. His bills, like SB 740 and SB 745, promote green industries, ensuring a skilled workforce for a thriving economy while safeguarding the environment and public health.

“Drawing from my background as a business-owner, I've been proud to unite employees and employers across multiple sectors, including through a safe reopening of business operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Community Building
and Inclusivity

Dave has funded culturally appropriate services, including the Roots Clinic, launched the 37,000-square-foot Vietnamese American Service Center, supported small and minority owned businesses. In the 2023 State Budget, he secured $3 million for Silicon Valley’s first Black-owned non-profit community development entity, The Silicon Valley African American Cultural Center. He worked with community leaders to ensure Santa Clara County became the first County in the State to recognize Juneteenth as an official county holiday.

“Community is the heart of our strength.”

Dedicated Support
for Older Adults

Dave has taken proactive steps to address the needs of our aging population, initiating our County’s first Older Adults Summit that birthed the Seniors’ Agenda, now a robust Department of Aging and Adult Service program. He also launched an outreach campaign to inform homeowners about potential school parcel tax exemptions and expanded Senior Nutrition Programs, ensuring tailored assistance for our diverse older residents. Thanks to these efforts, Santa Clara County earned the “Age-Friendly” distinction from the World Health Organization. Through SB 707, Dave passed important protections for continuing care facility residents.

“Our older adults, those that built this community, deserve to age with dignity and security.”

Transforming Justice and Restoring Equity

Dave’s pursuit of restorative justice has led to groundbreaking changes in our justice system. Through efforts like the Santa Clara County Blue Ribbon Commission, his visionary policies led to the historic decision to halt the incarceration of offenders under 13 years of age at Juvenile Hall. This dedication has carried on through laws like SB 383, which has provided diversion programs and support for non-violent youth offenders.

Dave has been a relentless advocate for immigrant rights. He led legal challenges against the Trump Administration’s policies, successfully overturning DACA’s repeal in the Supreme Court, and spearheaded the creation of the Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations, securing funding for DACA/DAPA recipients’ legal services and empowering the immigrant community.

“We fought the Trump Administration in court, and won.”

Accountability and Transparency

Starting back in their days on the San Jose City Council, Dave was instrumental in creating and enforcing a pioneering Sunshine Ordinance, setting a national standard for transparency in governance. As a County Supervisor, he championed similar measures, making daily calendars and meeting agendas accessible and advancing financial transparency. And in the State Senate, Dave has endorsed “clean money” bills for campaign transparency and authored SB 461, a consumer protection bill signed into law to empower communities to combat deceptive practices.

“I’ve served in every level of government, and my accountability to the public through good governance and trust has never waned.”

Educational Excellence
and Youth Engagement

As a School Board Trustee, Dave revitalized plans for a new high school and played a pivotal role in an $80 million bond campaign, resulting in Silicon Valley’s first new high school in a quarter-century. In 2022, he helped to launch the Eastside Education Initiative, with a focus on improving college readiness and core subject proficiency for students in East San Jose. He’s leading efforts locally and statewide to support foster youth, close the digital divide, protect students with differing abilities, and combat our fentanyl crisis among youth and young adults. His brainchild, School Linked Services, continues to connect students and families to vital social services and counseling across 200 schools in our community; he has been able to expand the School-Linked Services model statewide through successful legislation such as SB 1184, ensuring integrated data systems for local students to connect to mental health services, and state funding of over $200,000,000 to create school and county mental health partnerships across California.

His bill, SB 692: The Special Education Inclusion Act, was signed into law to support students with different abilities and he has expanded local programs that provide lifelong college-level education for adults with disabilities, fostering growth and workforce opportunities.

“Advocacy for education and educators has been a common thread throughout my life and career, since my time as a School Board Trustee. Every year, for the past two decades, I have led Community Bus Trips that have connected the voices of education advocates, students, educators, and community members from Santa Clara County to the heart of our state's decision-making process around education funding and policy-making”

Trailblazing Innovation and Policy Leadership

Dave has secured millions to launch first-in-the-nation guaranteed income programs for communities who need it statewide, including to aid homeless students here in Santa Clara County, along with mentorship and peer support, assisting their transition to education or a career. Inspired by his successful 2020 program serving foster youth, he expanded this model statewide through legislation and secured $35 million in 2021 for guaranteed income programs benefiting foster youth and pregnant women in California – the state’s first ever investment in direct cash assistance.

“I've dedicated my career to reimagining how government can serve our public, ensuring our programs are not just available, but accessible to those who need them the most.”