Venture capitalist Josh Becker, who in 2010 challenged Rich Gordon for a seat in the State Assembly, has joined the crowd of candidates now vying to replace Gordon in Sacramento.
Becker, a Menlo Park resident whose past campaign focused on innovation and job growth, will compete with a field of candidates that includes Palo Alto Councilman Marc Berman, Mountain View Councilman Mike Kasperzak, Cupertino Mayor Barry Chang, Menlo Park Councilman Peter Ohtaki and patent attorney Vicky Veenker.
Much like Veenker, Becker has a long history in the high-tech sector, having co-founded the venture-capital firm New Cycle Capital and the nonprofit collaborative Full Circle Fund. He earned his MBA and law degree from Stanford University, where he co-founded the Stanford Board of Fellows program, which focuses on training students to participate in civic causes.
According to his campaign page, Becker has already received the endorsements of Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt and Councilman Tom DuBois. Former Palo Alto mayor Judy Kleinberg, who currently heads the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, has also endorsed Becker's nascent campaign, as have East Palo Alto Councilman Larry Moody, Menlo Park Councilman Ray Mueller and Atherton Mayor Rick DeGolia.
In his 2010 bid, Becker finished second to Gordon in a three-way race that also included former Palo Alto Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto. While Gordon won with 38 percent of the vote, Becker received 33 percent and Kishimoto received 28 percent.
In an email blast earlier this month, Becker said his "experience as a social entrepreneur bringing creative solutions to big public problems uniquely qualifies me to go to Sacramento and tackle big issues like climate change, education and economic opportunity."
The candidates are looking to replace the termed-out Gordon in the 24th Assembly District, which includes large portions of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, including the cities of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Atherton, Menlo Park, Mountain View and Sunnyvale.