Councilmember Margaret Abe-Koga enters supervisor race


Longtime Mountain View Councilmember Margaret Abe-Koga has more to give as she looks beyond serving in her city.

Abe-Koga, 52, is the first to enter the race for the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors District 5 seat. She announced her bid to replace incumbent Supervisor Joe Simitian at a Lunar New Year event hosted by Assemblymember Evan Low on March 5. Simitian terms out at the end of 2024 after three four-year consecutive terms.

Abe-Koga, a Mountain View councilmember since 2007, said she’s jumping in the race to continue her work as a public servant at the regional level. Abe-Koga termed out of the Mountain View City Council in 2014 and was re-elected in 2016 while battling breast cancer.

She’s currently in her fourth term as a councilmember.

“I’ve been on the city council for 15 years and I’m very proud of the work that I’ve been able to do at the city level,” Abe-Koga told San Jose Spotlight. “The county’s foundational work really speaks to me and really parallels a lot of the work that I have focused on.”

District 5 includes Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Saratoga, Stanford and portions of Sunnyvale and San Jose. Abe-Koga ran for the seat in 2012, but dropped out of the race shortly after Simitian, who was leaving the state Senate, jumped into the race.

In Mountain View, Abe-Koga served as mayor in 2009 where she helped the city navigate the economic downturn, and again in 2020 where she led the city through the COVID-19 pandemic. Abe-Koga also served as vice mayor in 2008 and 2019. She’s the first Asian woman to serve as mayor and vice mayor in Mountain View history, according to the city.

Abe-Koga said her biggest achievements include pushing for environmental initiatives, such as her efforts to jumpstart Silicon Valley Clean Energy, a coalition of 12 local cities working to address climate change. She also championed efforts to raise Mountain View’s minimum wage in 2014 and helped launch a guaranteed income program for more than 160 families last year.

Mountain View has the highest minimum wage in Santa Clara County at $18.15 per hour.

“That really makes a difference for working families and helps them afford to live here,” Abe-Koga said. “That’s a game changer accomplishment.”

Prior to her time on the city council, Abe-Koga served on Mountain View’s human relations and environmental planning commissions. She also served as a Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee between 2002 and 2004. She was chair of VTA’s board of directors in 2011.

Abe-Koga said she’s most concerned with climate change and the needs for more mental health services. Both issues are personal to her, she said. As supervisor, her priorities would be working with local cities to address those issues, as well as public safety and the housing and homelessness crises.

She said her yearslong experience serving as a city councilmember and as a member on a number of regional boards prepares her for the role of supervisor.

“I have a track record of accomplishments and getting things done,” Abe-Koga said. “I will continue to work hard and I’m committed to the responsibility for the job at hand if I’m fortunate to be elected”

Simitian didn’t respond to an inquiry to his office about Abe-Koga’s candidacy.

Low, who supports Abe-Koga, said she received a standing ovation from elected officials and community leaders after announcing her candidacy on March 5.

“Frankly, it’s about time,” Low told San Jose Spotlight. “Margaret is battle-tested and brings decades of experience to the county Board of Supervisors.”

The primary election date is March 5, 2024.

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