Raised in Palo Alto and a graduate of Palo Alto (“Paly”) High, Joe’s roots are in the South Bay and Midpeninsula. His community involvement includes service on the advisory boards of local organizations such as Actera, Hakone Gardens, and Adolescent Counseling Services.
Joe received his Bachelor of Arts degree, with academic honors, from The Colorado College. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in International Policy Studies from Stanford University, a Master of City Planning degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Juris Doctor law degree from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.
Joe's public service over the years includes stints as a member of the California State Senate, the California State Assembly, Mayor of Palo Alto, President of the Palo Alto School Board, as well as an earlier term on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. He served as an election observer/supervisor in El Salvador and Bosnia, and participated in refugee relief and resettlement efforts in Albania and Kosovo.
On the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, Joe serves as Chair of the Health and Hospital Committee and Vice-Chair of the Housing, Land Use, Environment, and Transportation Committee. He also serves as Chair of the County’s Santa Clara County Federal Affairs Advocacy Task Force.
HELPING PEOPLE, SOLVING PROBLEMS
During his current term on the Board of Supervisors, Joe has received recognition for his commitment to public service from the NAACP, the Los Altos Rotary Club, Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), and the Sierra Club, among others.
During his years in the State Legislature, Joe received Legislator of the Year awards from a wide range of organizations, including the California School Boards Association, AeA (the American Electronics Association), the California Library Association and NOW (the National Organization for Women). He regularly received “100%” environmental ratings from the California League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, and Vote the Coast.
The California Journal identified Joe as among those at the “Top of the Class” during his first term in the Legislature. Later in his legislative career, the Capitol Weekly identified Joe as one of the half-dozen “Most Effective” members of the Legislature.
San Jose Magazine repeatedly recognized him as one of the “Power 100 of Silicon Valley”, and in 2003 Joe was selected by Scientific American magazine as one of the “Scientific American 50” Leaders in Technology from around the world.
Joe and his work have been quoted or noted in publications as diverse as The Atlantic, Conde Nast Traveller, Mother Jones, People Magazine, the Guardian, Scientific American, as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times. His media appearances range from NBC National News to CNN to the Dr. Phil Show.
Joe brings to his work a unique perspective and background – service at all levels of local government; hands-on experience in the private sector as a public schools attorney, businessman, and certified city planner; a breadth of international interests and experience; as well as professional education and training particularly applicable to his work in government.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT JOE
"A...politician who doesn't act like one..." (2/7/10)
“A legislator who is known for turning constituent ideas into state laws. . .” (9/13/10)
"One of the broadest pushes to reel in America's surveillance state isn't in Congress... it's in Joe Simitian's office in California's Santa Clara County government building." (2/5/16)
"(Simitian) has a reputation for action." (12/13/00)
"Not your average Joe... indefatigable and independent..." (1/19/05)
"Simitian has a reputation for being fiscally responsible...Simitian also stands for government accountability." (4/12/16)