Fred Tovar gilroy city council
Fred Tovar. Contributed photo

Dear members of the Gilroy community, I wanted to share with you a copy of the letter that was sent to the Santa Clara County Democratic Party in response to a resolution they presented recommending removal of their endorsement.

Dear Mr. Bill James and Santa Clara County Democratic Party Members:

I am disappointed and disheartened to hear that the Santa Clara County Democratic Party is recommending a removal of their endorsement of me.

This action is unnecessary, short-sighted and uncalled for. Throughout my many years of service, I have championed the values of the Democratic Party not only in word, but also in deed. 

My entire upbringing has been rooted in the principles of the party. My parents were first generation immigrants who worked hard to provide for their children despite the many challenges they faced.

With hard work and dedication, they assimilated into American life and battled perceptions about their ethnicity and culture to become successful, productive tradesmen and contributing citizens. Their example laid the foundation for the principles that I uphold today, including a mission to serve the greater good of the community above self, and provide equal opportunity for all.

Their membership in the local labor union provided me with invaluable firsthand knowledge of the importance of these unions, in protecting workers rights, providing fair and living wages, opportunities for advancement, and workplace safety regulation.

Taking from this example, I have dedicated my career to public service. As such, my efforts have always focused on protecting and ensuring that the same opportunities that my parents were given are also extended to the most disenfranchised and marginalized populations. Whether serving on the school board, college board or city council, I have spent my time working to advance social programs that provide equity for all members of my community.  

My voting record is one of consistency. If you study my term in office, you will see that my record reflects the values, principles and policies that align with the Santa Clara County Democratic Party.

On the school board and the college board, I fought hard for hiring diversity, better pay, and for programs that would foster and ensure equal opportunity for all.

On the City Council I have countless examples of voting to promote equity and inclusion. I am a champion of the local small businesses and tirelessly work to promote and support their success. I have served as Chair on the committee for the unhoused, and for our downtown which represents the two lowest census tracts in Santa Clara County. To help address the challenges they face, I have worked alongside my fellow council members, residents and community members from all different backgrounds and political affiliations to find the most effective solutions that would address the needs of the community that I serve.

What I look for is a willingness to put partisanship aside; not taking pride in scoring a victory for Democrats or Republicans. Rather, to serve those in greatest need to improve the quality of life for our residents. 

In today’s highly polarized society, working together should be a value that is championed, and celebrated, not something that is rebuked. Extremism on both sides of the political spectrum will never solve the problems we face as a nation, and they certainly will not solve the problems we face here in Gilroy.

If my endorsement is to be removed because of my record of collaboration, of championing the cause of those in greatest need, and of recognizing the values of bipartisanship that this country and the Democratic Party itself was founded upon, then so be it. However, I would respectfully ask that your recommendation be reconsidered and withdrawn instead. 

We are stronger together. Let’s face the challenges ahead united and continue to partner with one another. You can count on my ongoing dedication to the principles of the party through my actions. I’ll continue to work with those willing to find the common ground needed to move this community forward.

Fred M. Tovar, MEd, is a Gilroy City Councilmember. He previously served on the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education and San Jose-Evergreen Valley Community College Board of Trustees.

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