In Santa Clara County, California, in between San Jose and Fremont lies Milpitas, a city rich in diversity.
Since the 2000 census and again confirmed in the 2010 census, Asians have dominated the majority of Milpitas’ population, with Filipinos being the largest Asian group.
At the helm of this thriving, bustling city is a Filipino, Jose “Joe” Esteves, the first Filipino mayor of Milpitas and one of a handful of successful Pinoys in America who have been elected mayor.
Esteves oversees a diverse population of over 70,000 people in the heart of Silicon Valley.
In many Filipino-American events, Esteves has often proudly declared that Milpitas has recently been crowned as the town with the largest concentration of Filipinos in Northern California, unseating Daly City.
Personal life and education
Born and raised in Dagupan City, Pangasinan in the Philippines, Esteves earned two bachelor’s degree – Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (BSCE), and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering (BSIE). He has a Master of Business Administration (MBA). He also attended Leadership in the 21st Century, JFK School of Government, at Harvard University.
Esteves, his wife, Susan, and daughter, Irene, have lived in Milpitas for over thirty years.
Esteves has been elected Milpitas Mayor four times (2002-2008 term limit) and 2010 to current. Prior to serving as mayor, Esteves was City Councilman (1998-2002), Planning Commissioner, Information Systems Specialist of the Superior Court of CA, Santa Clara County, and a successful businessman and business consultant.
Proudly Filipino, Esteves demonstrates the positive Pinoy values of perseverance, hard work and friendliness. Under his leadership for almost a decade, Milpitas has become a great place to live and to do business.
During his tenure and under his leadership, numerous projects have been initiated to ensure city residents have an excellent quality of life — a new library, new market rate and affordable housing, new Senior housing, a county medical clinic, a revitalized Town Center, the relocation of several Fortune 500 companies into the City, and many others.
His commitment to fiscal responsibility has resulted in a City in excellent financial condition, the financial strength to move forward with Downtown development, and a record of fighting against uncontrolled expenditures.
For all his hard work, the city has honored Esteves with many awards including Milpitas’ Citizen of the Year and Milpitas’ Best Elected Official (yearly for 6 years from 2003-2008 and again in 2011). He has also received a Certificate of Merit for Leadership from the Knights of Columbus Supreme Assembly; a Dr. J. Rizal Community Hero Award from the Community Development Council, Inc.; and Outstanding Service in the Interest of a Better Milpitas: Service and Dedication to the Citizens of Milpitas, from the City of Milpitas.
In an interview with the Leagues of Women Voters of Santa Clara County, Esteves outlined how he has worked through many challenges of economic plenty and economic difficulties. ” I have made the difficult decisions necessary to balance requirements and resources and I have consistently fought for responsible fiscal policies in the Council and in the City. I have always emphasized public safety and quality of life for all residents. There are few simple solutions and it takes study, analysis, and understanding to make the best decisions,” said Esteves.
Esteves underscored his economic policies: “We must ensure the financial strength and stability of the City and we must make the choices that balance requirements with resources. We must ensure ethical and open government that instills the residents’ confidence in their City’s elected officials and staff.”
He is well-loved and admired for his integrity and his always being accessible to the citizens of Milpitas. Always ready to help, Esteves is committed to address the needs of his constituents.
“I have been able to accomplish many positive things for Milpitas and its residents,” said Esteves in his website. Among the list of his accomplishments are the improvement of the quality of life in Milpitas, making it a great place to live and work in.
Describing his work as leader of Milpitas, Esteves said: “As Mayor, I am very active in meeting with residents at every opportunity, not just during election years. I listen, I discuss, I present. I find that when residents understand the issue, the challenge, the context, they are smarter and can support decisions both for the City as a whole and for specific interests. I make every effort to represent the people of Milpitas in balancing the needs of the community with specific interests. It helps greatly that I am not tied to any special interest groups; I do however encourage business and development in our City.”