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Director Jim Beall - Biography

Photo from Jim Beall Twitter Feed

Jim Beall began his tenure on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in 2022.  He represents District 4 which includes City of Campbell, portions of the Willow Glen and Cambrian communities, and North Almaden and Blossom Hill area of San Jose.

Jim’s roots in Santa Clara County run deep. Born in San Jose, he is a lifelong resident of the city. Jim graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory and then went on to earn his degree in Political Science from San Jose State University with a focus on Urban Planning and Public Finance.

At the age of 24, Jim served on the San Jose City Planning Commission and, at age 28, he became the youngest person ever elected to the San Jose City Council. In four decades of public service – first, as a San Jose City Councilman (1980-1994), then as a Santa Clara County Supervisor (1994-2006), and finally as a Legislator in the Assembly and Senate (2006-2020) –Beall has left his mark across the Silicon Valley and beyond.

As the San Jose Councilmember representing the West San Jose Cambrian Park area, Jim opened four new city parks and secured funding for the Camden Community Center. He also served as Chair of the Santa Clara County Traffic Authority and was the first in California to successfully pass a half-cent sales tax, which directly helped build Highways 85, 101, and 237 throughout the greater San Jose region. 

In 1994, Jim was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. A staunch advocate for increasing access to healthcare and mental health services, he collaborated with his colleagues to pass the Children’s Health Initiative to ensure every child in the county had health insurance coverage. Jim was appointed to serve on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), where he was instrumental in delivering millions of dollars for local priority projects. He worked to prioritize the BART to San Jose project in the Regional Transportation Plan of 2030 paving the way for it to successfully qualify for and obtain billions in federal funding. As a member of the board, Jim also fought to preserve the County’s vital open space land by spearheading new regulations that would strike the balance between private property rights and mitigating environmental impacts to protect the valley hilltops and scenic vistas for future generations to enjoy.

In 2006, Jim was elected to the California State Assembly, representing City of San Jose and Santa Clara County. He got right to work in the Legislature and passed several landmark bills including AB 12 (2012) which extended foster youth benefits from 18 to 21 years old, and he authored AB 57 (2012) to ensure the cities of San Jose and Oakland had equal representation on the MTC compared to other large cities, bringing more transportation funds to the South Bay.

Elected in 2012 to the California State Senate, Jim passed SB 838 (2014), more widely known as Audrie’s Law, to help balance the justice system and empower survivors of sexual assault. In the same year, he championed SB 926, which raised the statutory age from 28 to 40 for victims seeking criminal charges.

Continuing his efforts on the issue of public safety, Jim authored SB 11 and SB 29 (2015) to reduce deadly encounters between police and people with a mental illness or intellectual disability.

In 2017, Jim passed SB 1, one of the largest infrastructure bills in the State’s history. SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act, increased road safety and repair funding in the State by $5.4B annually while creating over 150,000 new jobs. During the same session, Beall passed SB 595, which provided transportation funding for regional projects in the SF Bay Area. Together, SB 1 and SB 595 financed needed improvements, including: a comprehensive Bay Area traffic relief plan; new BART cars; additional HOV lanes; Caltrain’s electrification and extension; and over $2B for the BART to San Jose extension.

The following year, Jim made massive strides to expand the State’s capacity to finance the production of affordable housing by authoring SB 3. SB 3, or the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018, authorized the issuance of $4 billion bonds for affordable housing programs and a veteran’s homeownership program.

When Jim manages to have a few spare moments to himself, he likes to read (generally non-fiction related to policy issues), hike, and hunt for stones that fuel his hobby, lapidary. He and his wife, Pat, have been married for more than 30 years, and he is the proud father of two stepsons and one grandchild.

Director Beall may be contacted by e-mail at: [email protected].

Correspondence to the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board Members may also be sent via email to: [email protected].