First-time candidate Steve Okamoto, a retired financial consultant, was the top vote-getter in the Foster City, Calif. City Council race on Nov. 8, according to unofficial results from the elections division.
Foster City City Councilman Art Kiesel was re-elected to one of three open seats on the five-member council, winning 21.4 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results.
San Mateo County elections officials still must count provisional ballots and mail ballots that were dropped off at polling locations, Elections Manager David Tom told the San Mateo Daily Journal. That process likely will be finished by early next week, he said.
Okamoto and small business owner Herb Perez were elected to the remaining two open seats, with 22 and 18.5 percent of the vote, respectively. Okamoto finished with 2,216 votes.
“I feel honored,” Okamoto told the San Mateo Daily Journal on election night. “It is my first try at public office and I took a lot of wonderful advice from the people who have been there and I think it paid off.”
Okamoto, 69, is a former chair of the Foster City Parks and Recreation Committee. A 33-year resident of the city who was inducted into the Sports Walk of Fame in 2002, he coached and umpired Little League for 22 years.
“I have attended all Council and budget study sessions since deciding to run,” said Okamoto, 69, on his Website. “It is important that new members be knowledgeable about the City’s finances and prepared to assume the role quickly.”
He listed his top priorities as being to manage the city budget conservatively and seek additional revenue, support the development of a 15-acre empty lot to provide value to all residents, and maintain safe streets so that all residents enjoy the quality of life they come to expect in the city.
Okamoto campaigned under the slogan of “Experienced. Approachable. Compassionate.”
“My focus is making sure that streets are safe, seniors are served and children and families enjoy a quality of life here in Foster City,” continued the former fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. “Because both my son and daughter were raised in Foster City, I am familiar with the Foster City school system as well. I will use this knowledge to my advantage when dealing with education and youth related issues.”
Okamoto was endorsed by the San Mateo County Times and the San Mateo Daily Journal.
The Nichi Bei Weekly contributed to this report.