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Anthony Becker’s roots in Santa Clara run deep.
That was obvious in the conviction with which he addressed a crowd as he launched his campaign to become the city’s new mayor in November.
Becker was born in Santa Clara, he grew up attending Santa Clara schools, and he offers a homegrown perspective of what can be done to make the city prosper economically and run more efficiently.
Since winning a seat on Santa Clara’s City Council in 2020, Becker has been instrumental in bringing new reforms that are already making an impact for the city grappling with a $27 million budget deficit.
As a long time apartment renter who has experienced first-hand the rising costs of living, 37-year-old Becker can relate to the struggles that many Santa Clara residents deal with regularly.
“I’m here to say that it is time for a change, a new generation to lead our city into the future,” Becker said as he launched his mayoral campaign Aug. 13. “… We do not need a politician from yesteryear. We need a public servant for today and tomorrow. Santa Clara needs a mayor that can relate to the community.
“If it hurts you to put gas in your tank, it hurts me to put gas in my tank. I struggle to meet the rising costs of basic needs of our community. Your struggles are my struggles. Your priorities are my priorities.”
As he looks to unseat incumbent mayor Lisa Gillmor, Becker has garnered endorsements from a group of diverse colleagues on the city council, including Santa Clara Vice Mayor Suds Jain and Councilmembers Karen Hardy, Kevin Park and Raj Chahal, as well as California Assemblymembers Alex Lee and Ash Kalra. He also has the support of former Santa Clara mayor Patricia Mahan, who hosted his campaign kickoff.
If elected Nov. 8, Becker also would break ground as Santa Clara’s first gay mayor.
Hardy, who sits next to Becker at City Council meetings, said she knew Becker would make an excellent mayor a long time ago.
“I’ve been poking him for as long as he’s been (on the council), ‘Someone needs to run. Someone else needs to be mayor,’” Hardy said. “Somebody needs to be there and treat the rest of the council, and the rest of the people who speak, with respect. People need to be respected, and our thoughts and different opinions need to be respected. And Anthony is the one to do it.”
Becker, a former planning commissioner in Santa Clara, was fighting for policy changes in the city even before being elected to the city council. Many of the issues he considers core to his mayoral candidacy have been years-long pursuits.
Chief among them is providing more affordable housing for Santa Clarans – an issue that resonates with Becker personally. He notes that many housing developments sprung up when Silicon Valley first began to emerge in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, but that housing since then has failed to keep up with the region’s growth.
Becker said his family was forced to move from Santa Clara to Los Banos when he was young because of rising housing costs, and he recalls his parents having to endure a long commute to work for two decades.
Many years later, the problem remains.
“As a renter, and as a millennial on the Santa Clara City Council, I know firsthand the high cost of rent, and the shortage of affordable housing,” Becker said. “While parents are worried about where their children will be living tomorrow, seniors and young people are asking about where they’re going to live today.”
Upon arriving on the council in 2020 he made quick progress, helping push through and break ground on 180 units of low income and senior housing in his district in his first year. And he hasn’t stopped there. Those who frequently listen to council meetings have seen him consistently push large developers to make and honor affordable housing commitments throughout the city.
He also knows that if affordable housing is one side of the coin, combatting homelessness is the other. He has described a “prevent and provide” philosophy, which prioritizes keeping people off the streets in the first place.
Now, Becker has developed an overarching plan that he calls the “Santa Clara New Deal,” which forms the backbone of the reforms he’d like to roll out as mayor.
“This is a deal that puts Santa Clara first by focusing on investing into the future,” he said.
Central to this plan is reducing Santa Clara’s $27 million deficit by making more fiscally responsible decisions, in contrast to the current mayor’s approach. As an example, he points to the fact that the city lost $6 million fighting a California Voting Rights Act lawsuit, only to eventually agree to a settlement.
Becker says Santa Clara needs “a mayor who won’t treat taxpayer money as a frivolous and unending resource for political vendettas and personal ambitions.”
“As mayor I’ll work tirelessly to make sure every taxpayer dollar we spend is directed toward programs and services our residents need and rely on here in the city of Santa Clara.”
Adjusting spending is one way to address a deficit, but bringing in more revenue is another option, and Levi’s Stadium is one of Santa Clara’s most visible assets to better utilize to that end. Becker has already been at work on that front.
As a councilmember he pushed for the elimination of a concert curfew at Levi’s Stadium, resulting in the city’s busiest concert season ever and millions in revenue for the General Fund. He also helped lead the successful effort to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to Santa Clara, which is expected to have over $300M in economic impact for the region and the city.
Throughout his campaign this fall Becker will look to convince Santa Clara residents that a new face and attitude in city hall offers a better chance at addressing the issues that have only gotten worse under the city’s previous leadership.
For Anthony Becker, fixing the challenges facing Santa Clara is a lifelong commitment that will continue long past this election, but if successful in November he will certainly have more impact from the Mayor’s chair than anywhere else.