George Shirakawa's life in politics
03/01/2013 11:10:43 AM PST
03/01/2013 07:09:14 PM PST
Name: George Shirakawa Jr. Age: 51 Elected offices: 1992, Franklin-McKinley School Board trustee; 1994, appointed and later that year elected to the San Jose City Council, serving two terms through 2002; 2002 to 2008, trustee for the East Side Union High School District; 2008 to present, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Work experience: 1981-1984 active-duty United States Army. Before his career in elected office, he worked as a youth counselor, community liaison and football and baseball coach at Yerba Buena and Foothill high schools. From 2004 to 2007, he was a lobbyist representing business and development interests in San Jose. Public service: Spearheaded the county's Re-Entry Network, a program to incorporate released prisoners back into society. Led the effort to establish the county's civil detainee policy, which ended the detention of illegal immigrants solely for the purpose of being interviewed by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Education: Graduated from Silver Creek High School in 1980. Family life: Divorced father of two adult children and one teenager, four grandchildren. From his State of the County speech in January 2012: "I know first-hand what it's like to work through difficult situations. ... In the past, my family, like many families, worked hard and struggled just to get by. My mom's family came to California from the Midwest dustbowl and worked in the fields in order to survive. More times than not, home was a labor camp on the side of a highway. My dad's parents suffered the discrimination and humiliation forced on mixed-race families that worked on the ranches and farms of the Central Valley during the middle of last century. Our matriarch was my grandmother, who knew that the only way to ensure survival was keeping the family together. I always knew when times were the tough ... because all my grandmother had to feed the family was rice, beans and tortillas. When my parents moved to San Jose looking for a better life, they settled in the Sal Si Puedes neighborhood of East San Jose. Here there was more discrimination, more struggles, more rice, more beans and more tortillas."