Mayor Sam Liccardo took office in January 2015, and at the age of 44, became one of the youngest mayors in San Jose’s modern history.
During his tenure, Sam has:
- forged a historic pension reform agreement with 11 unions that will save taxpayers $3 billion over the next three decades;
- launched “San José Works,” an initiative that will provide jobs to more than 1,000 teenagers living in gang-impacted neighborhoods this year;
- crafted innovative programs to reduce homelessness, from rehabilitating decaying motels to incentivizing landlords to house homeless veterans;
- announced five new international flights at Mineta San José International Airport, and expanded air service by more than 30 percent;
- created after-school programs for hundreds of low-income children, boosted library services in every neighborhood, and expanded youth learning opportunities for coding and STEM skills;
- ushered a major expansion of tech employers into San José, from corporate titans like Amazon, Apple and Google to fast-growing innovators such as Silver Spring Networks, Splunk and SuperMicro;
- led a regional effort to concurrently lift the minimum wage among a half-dozen cities;
- pushed to make San José the nation’s largest city to launch a “Community Choice Energy” program, enabling consumer choice in electric power to boost renewables at competitive rates;
- sparked Downtown’s revitalization, using fee reductions, accelerated permit approvals and parking incentives to fill empty storefronts with restaurants and amenities, expand co-working space, build thousands of high-rise apartments and lure key tech employers; and
- launched San Jose’s “Smart City Vision,” forging partnerships with the tech community to leverage technology and data to improve safety and services, with the ambition of making San José the most innovative city in America.
In Sam’s prior public service, he prosecuted a range of felony cases as a federal and local criminal prosecutor, from sexual assault and child exploitation to international narcotrafficking. In 2006, voters elected Sam to the first of his two terms on the City Council, where he led efforts to revitalize its downtown, preserve San José’s hillsides and open space, boost funding for affordable housing and open a world-class soccer stadium for the San José Earthquakes.
Additionally, Sam serves on a number of boards of directors, including the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Valley Transit Authority Board, the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency. Sam also is the co-chair for Joint Venture Silicon Valley and a founding board member for Cristo Rey High School. He also holds senior fellowships for the American Leadership Forum and the Aspen Institute and is a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Sam graduated from San José’s Bellarmine College Prep and Georgetown University, prior to receiving a law degree from Harvard Law School and a master’s degree from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Sam and his wife, Jessica, live in the Northside neighborhood, east of Downtown, within blocks of Jessica’s childhood home, where Sam’s father also grew up, and where Sam’s grandparents operated a neighborhood grocery store. Sam descended from the first Mexican settlers in the Bay Area, as well as from Sicilian and Irish immigrants.