Elk Grove Vice Mayor Darren Suen on April 5 announced that he will run for mayor this November.
He will challenge incumbent Steve Ly as well as opponents Jabin McGowan and Tracie Stafford, who finished in third place in the 2016 mayoral race.
Suen was appointed to the council’s District 1 seat in 2014 after Jim Cooper vacated the seat to serve in the California Assembly. Two years later, Suen was elected to keep his Council seat.
Among those supporting Suen in his effort to become the city’s next mayor are Council members Pat Hume, Steve Detrick and Stephanie Nguyen as well as Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Kevin Spease, who was the runner-up to Ly in the 2016 mayoral election.
While standing in front of those city leaders and other community leaders at California Northstate University in the Laguna area, Suen described his desire to assist in the city’s progression.
“With the help of the leaders standing with me today and through the support of residents, I hope to continue our work of building a more sustainable city that is safe and inclusive, with employment centers connected by trails and supported by workforce training, an effective transportation system, and a fun, nurturing environment to grow up and plant long-term roots,” he said.
Suen mentioned that as a council member, he has worked toward improving Elk Grove as a place to “live, work, and thrive.”
The vice mayor also said that he’s a leader who has supported investments in affordable housing and funding for new transportation projects, and pushed for entertainment centers and improved safety for bicyclists.
Suen, who has a background in land use and planning, explained in an interview that his decision to run for mayor was based on his employment and council experience, and his feeling that he would be a better leader than the current mayor.
“To me, it’s having the trusted leadership that I guess I’m not confident is there today, “ he said. “And I think that I can do a better job. With the experience that I have and my training, and the vision that I have for the city, I think I can do a good job in that role.
“My analysis is an independent one. In other words, I’m just looking at what I can do in that role and that’s why I’m choosing to take this step.”
Hume praised Suen for his understanding of building and land use development, economic development, infrastructure needs and financing.
“(Suen) just has the scope of a lot of different tools that would be needed to take Elk Grove to the next level and really manage the growth that will be coming in the next five to 10 years,” he said.
Hume also said that Ly at times conducts himself in a manner that is embarrassing to the City Council.
“Steve, for better or worse, has done a lot of what I think are self-serving things that have brought some embarrassment to the City Council, and he’s done so unapologetically,” Hume said. “And so, it’s like he really doesn’t take the city’s image into account when he does some of the things that are good for Steve Ly’s image.”
Nguyen also highlighted Suen’s experience in land use and planning.
“The way that we’re growing and all the new things that are coming into the city,” she said, “that’s going to take somebody that has that experience, somebody that has done it before, that’s going to be able to lead us and take charge in this.”
Detrick said that he supports Suen for mayor because he believes that he is the best candidate to help the city progress.
“It’s who has the biggest tool box to do the job,” he said. “Who’s got the knowledge? Who’s got the energy? Who’s got the connections? I think when you look at all that, of the people who are candidates, Darren by far has the bigger toolbox to help take the city to the next level.”
Elk Grove Unified School District Trustee Bobbie Singh-Allen referred to Suen as a “more than qualified” mayoral candidate.
“He has an amazing ability to see issues with greater understanding,” she said. “I think anybody who watches him on (the) City Council knows that he does his homework (and) understands the issues.
“He asks pertinent questions and has diligent follow-through. And we need somebody who understands what the needs of Elk Grove are and how to move our city forward.”
Reprinted from Elk Grove Citizen
By Lance Armstrong Citizen Staff Writer