Rob Rennie believes his experience as a Santa Clara County leader, including as Los Gatos mayor, and his background in engineering and environmentalism make him the best candidate for California’s 28th Assembly District seat. He says he will bring expertise and the mind of a problem-solver to the state’s toughest issues, including COVID-19 recovery, homelessness, affordable housing and climate change.
Our community needs experienced and proven leadership and a clear course of action to implement solutions at the state level.
We are facing some of the toughest issues of our times: COVID recovery, climate change, explosive mental health issues, homelessness, lack of affordable housing, poor transit options and struggling small businesses.
I’m the best candidate for these times.
I’ve served as Los Gatos mayor and as a city council member, and as a board member for regional transit; housing and community development; the air district; the Santa Clara County emergency preparedness and management council, the Local Agency Formation Commission; and several climate change organizations.
I spent 25 years as an engineer, tech innovator and climate activist. These experiences make me uniquely qualified to address the challenges we face at the state level. I am running for a seat in the California State Assembly to bring new leadership and an engineering mindset to Sacramento.
I was born in Modoc County (population 8,907) to a forest ranger and high school teacher. They taught me the value of hard work, perseverance in adversity and commitment to community service.
I hold a master’s in engineering from Dartmouth College and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and physics from Skidmore College. Since my student years, I have been actively working to find innovative solutions to complex problems.
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While still at Dartmouth, I built a solar race car and entered in the Tour Del Sol race in Switzerland in 1989. I also built a second solar car for General Motors’ Sunrayce and raced from Orlando to Detroit. When I returned to California in 1991, I got involved in the environmental movement. I’ve been a Sierra Club member for over 30 years. In 2007, I led the “Cool Cities” campaign team to raise awareness of climate change and get Los Gatos to sign the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Our efforts resulted in Los Gatos taking a greenhouse gas inventory and creating a climate plan.
As a town council member, I pursued environmental policies, including founding the Silicon Valley Clean Energy authority, which I view as one of my biggest achievements.
Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a community choice electricity provider with a board of elected officials who answer to the community. Since operations started in 2017, we have reduced greenhouse gas by 34% compared to Pacific Gas & Electric. I am proud to have been a founding board member and was chair of the board in 2017, when SVCE began buying 100% carbon-free electricity to deliver to nearly half of Santa Clara County residents.
We refused to be squashed by the entrenched PG&E. Now, SVCE is thriving and pouring profits back into programs to further reduce emissions. We achieve these goals through building electrification and by creating model reach codes for cities in our service area, as well as providing grants for replacing gas water heaters with electric. We are also working toward conversion to electric vehicles, with grants for chargers in multiunit dwellings where it is harder for residents to charge, all while keeping rates well below PG&E’s.
In the past five years, we have saved our customers $77 million and avoided emissions equivalent to driving a passenger car 400 million miles.
Many of the most pressing issues we are facing require technical solutions and would benefit from technical input. I believe engineers should be taking an active and vocal role in government and policymaking. The value is immeasurable. It is in our nature to think logically and systematically without being distracted by the intricacies of politics.
I have a full agenda of priorities, but the main three points I want to stress are protecting the environment, expanding innovative solutions for homelessness, and increasing the affordable housing supply.
My wife, Isabella, who grew up in Kyiv, Ukraine, came to the United States as a refugee from the Soviet Union in the 1980s. She dedicated her professional career to helping others. For the past 20 years, she has worked for MidPen Housing and JMK Investments, focusing on affordable housing in the Bay Area. Our daughter, Alina, is a DJ and music producer in Berlin, Germany.
I am a proven leader, committed to using my years of experience, energy and vision to meet the stark challenges facing our communities and accelerate a pivot to a prosperous, inclusive and dynamic community, built for the future.
Rob Rennie is mayor of Los Gatos, where he has lived since 1997. After college and graduate school, he worked for National Semiconductor in Sunnyvale. He is an active environmentalist. Rob loves mountain biking in the mountains between Los Gatos and Santa Cruz. Find his campaign site here.