Simitian to be sworn in Sunday as county supervisor | March 15, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 15, 2013

Simitian to be sworn in Sunday as county supervisor

Ceremonies in Palo Alto, San Jose for former state Senator, long-time Palo Altan

by Elena Kadvany

Former state Sen. Joe Simitian will officially be sworn in as a Santa Clara County supervisor at ceremonies in Palo Alto on Sunday, March 17, and San Jose on March 19.

Simitian, who assumed office the first week of January, is supplementing the traditional commemorative ceremony with a film called "The Waiting Room," which documents 24 hours in an overcrowded Oakland hospital emergency room. The ceremony is "an opportunity to shine a light on the health care challenges we face both here in the county and across the country," Simitian stated in a press release.

After serving in the state Senate for eight years, Simitian announced his candidacy for supervisor in November 2011 at Lucie Stern Community Center in Palo Alto. He won the election last June, replacing former supervisor Liz Kniss.

Simitian represents District 5, which includes Cupertino, Saratoga, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, the northwestern half of Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Palo Alto. This is the second time he has served as county supervisor, having first been in office from 1997 to 2000.

But Palo Alto is where his political roots are.

Simitian is a longtime resident whose political career can be traced back to Palo Alto High School, when he was elected student-body president in 1969.

At 23 years old, Simitian became the youngest person to challenge an incumbent for a school-board seat. He lost that year but won when he was 30. He served on the Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education from 1983 to 1991, including a stint as president.

His next venture was the Palo Alto City Council, on which he served from 1992 to 1996, including a year as mayor. He spearheaded various low-income housing projects for the elderly, homeless and developmentally disabled.

Simitian was next elected to the state Assembly in 2000 and state Senate in 2004. As a legislator, he was an education advocate, helping to re-appropriate $1.3 million in federal funds to the Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto and fighting the state on $220 million in cuts to basic-aid school districts.

The Sunday and Tuesday events will each include a brief swearing-in ceremony, the film screening and a Q&A session with Simitian and "The Waiting Room" producer Bill Hirsch.

The oath of office will be officially administered by U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo in Palo Alto and by Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Ken Yeager in San Jose.

The Palo Alto ceremony will be held at the Palo Alto Children's Theatre at 1305 Middlefield Road at 11 a.m. The San Jose event will take place at the County Government Center Board Chambers at 70 West Hedding St. at 11:15 a.m.

Both events will be free, but seating is limited. Reservations can be made at:

Editorial Assistant Elena Kadvany can be emailed at


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