"Our county government deals with some of the state's greatest challenges, including health care, welfare, public safety, and regional land use," Simitian stated in a press release. "More than 1.7 million county residents expect county government to deliver real results on a daily basis. I look forward to being part of that effort."
Simitian is serving his final term in the California State Senate. An election will be held in June 2012, with Simitian now the clear frontrunner. Mountain View City Council member Margaret Abe-Koga declared her candidacy for the seat in September. Mountain View Vice Mayor Mike Kasperzak and Mountain View council member Laura Macias also expressed interest, though both said Simitian's decision would deter them.
"If Joe runs, I'm definitely not running," Kasperzak said. "If he runs, he'll be the hands-down winner."
"I believe that Joe Simitian is the best person to serve in the county seat," Macias said. "His ability to cut through extraneous data and see a practical solution is second to none."
District Five 5 incorporates Cupertino, Saratoga, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, the northwestern half of Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Palo Alto.
Simitian's public-service career has its roots in Palo Alto. He served on the Board of Education, including as president; City Council, including a term as mayor; the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors; and State Assembly.
He was elected to the California State Senate in November 2004 to represent the 11th State Senate District, which includes portions of San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.
He has also served as an election observer/supervisor in El Salvador and Bosnia, and he participated in refugee relief and resettlement efforts in Albania and Kosovo.
A website has been launched for Simitian's campaign at www.joesimitian.com.
Among the more than 200 attendees of the event at the Lucie Stern Community Center were U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Kniss.