At 25 years old, Reuben Holober's story seems familiar at first. A recent graduate of the University of Washington, Holober currently works in the biotech industry on the Peninsula. But the way he's been spending his evenings and weekends lately is more unusual.
Holober has been going door to door throughout Millbrae, introducing himself to the city's residents as he gears up for a City Council run in November in which he could win a seat once occupied by his late mother.
“I think that as the youngest candidate, I have the perspective of people who are having trouble coming out of college and finding jobs in today's economy,” he said.
Holober is the youngest candidate running this year, and the youngest person to run since at least 2003, according to City Clerk Fran Nelson.
“I think right now the youngest person on the council is about 50 years old, so I think I do help to represent a large demographic group that has been largely unrepresented in government at the local level,” Holober said.
Despite his age, Holober was recently endorsed by the San Mateo County Democratic Party. He sees economic development as one of Millbrae's main priorities in coming years.
“Millbrae really needs to look toward growing industries, particularly in the tech field, to draw in new businesses,” Holober said.
A plot of land next to the Millbrae BART station, known as Site One, is the main focus of officials' development goals. As it stands, the land could house more retail and commercial spaces, which would help keep Millbrae residents shopping in town and thus boost local tax revenue.
“I think it's an exciting time for Millbrae. There are a lot of things going on,” Holober said. “We need one project that has potential to be something that really helps Millbrae take the next step to becoming more vibrant.”
Holober might be young, but he is not a complete political newbie: His father, Richard Holober, is a member of the San Mateo County Community College Board. And his mother, Nadia Holober, served on the Millbrae City Council for 11 years before she died last year at the age of 54.
Anne Oliva was selected by the council as Nadia Holober's interim successor, and she also is running this November.
Other candidates for the two vacant seats — which became available with Nadia Holober's death and Mayor Gina Papan being termed out — are Doug Radtke and Ann Schneider.
Reuben Holober said he would like to follow in his mother's footsteps.
“She's really been an inspiration — both of my parents have,” he said. “From a very young age they really instilled in me the value of public service.”