Canepa on being named San Mateo County Board President: End COVID and stimulate the economy

By: David J. Canepa, San Mateo County District 5 Supervisor, dcanepa@smcgov.org, 650-363-4572

Below is the speech I gave after I was sworn-in as President of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, Tuesday Jan. 5.
Thank you to my colleagues for trusting me to assume the board’s presidency during these extraordinary times. And thank you Supervisor Slocum for leading the county through one very difficult year.
As we are in the midst of the greatest health crisis in our lifetimes – I am honored and humbled. As painful as 2020 was for the world, it’s presented an opportunity for us to reflect and think about where we are and where we are headed.
As COVID-19 ravaged the world and our county, it has exposed disparities that have existed in San Mateo County for generations. Ours must be a county where Daly City, East Palo Alto and Coastside residents are actively sought out for their point of view and their talents.
We are no longer a bedroom community when we are at the epicenter of the global economy. An economy strengthened by different points of view, different experiences, different races, and ages.
The more diverse in thoughts and experiences that we are, the stronger we will be into the future. It’s great that some in our community feel connected to our county government. It’s great that some feel they can pick up the phone and call my colleagues, the County staff, and get a response.
But it doesn’t mean anything until everyone feels that connection and has that ability to truly partner with their county government. As the president of the Board of Supervisors, I want our community to know that I will make it my singular mission to ensure that you are at the table.
That outreach to your community is a priority, not simply a box that needs to be checked. We must embrace our diversity, as that is the path by which we become a leader for the region and the state.
I believe better days are ahead of us in 2021. Right now, our focus should be on saving lives as we undertake the greatest mass immunization effort in modern history.
And we need to ensure that we create an economy that works for everyone.
My message today is simple and clear. We must end COVID and we must stimulate the economy.
We as a County need to support working families through job training and partnering with community colleges. Community college should be free for all and the County must play a role in ensuring anyone who wants an education can get one. We must bridge the digital divide by ensuring every child in the county has access to the internet and technology needed in these changing times. We must support our entrepreneurs who will create new jobs in both traditional and emerging industries.
We must dream big.
Currently, Millions of doses of multiple COVID vaccines are being administered throughout the state to those most at risk. And make no mistake about it, no one will cut in line to receive the vaccine based on how deep their pockets are.
You will wait in line just as I do.
I, along with Supervisor Slocum will form a COVID-19 working group that will guide the rollout of the vaccine in a complete and transparent process.
And ensure that this economy works for all so that all of us in this community have the same opportunities in one of the richest counties in the United States.
And making sure we stimulate this economy and that it works for all of us, regardless of your ZIP code.
We must continue to protect our families by staying home, by avoiding gatherings and by wearing our masks.
I’d like offer special thanks to the health professionals and front line workers who have been there 24/7 assisting COVID-19 patients and for keeping our essential services moving.
So again, I am humbled and honored to accept this presidency. And thank you colleagues for your leadership during this pandemic.
Thanks also to my wife and son for loving and supporting me through a challenging year.
With you all by my side, I have the confidence and courage to remain hopeful that life will indeed return to normal. Our recovery depends on us working together, knowing that fills me with optimism. Because I have seen firsthand the power of our community and the change we are able to make each and every day.
Thank you and God Bless.
David J. Canepa currently serves as President on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.