A Pleasanton resident with a professional background in marketing for the medical industry has announced he is running to represent the Tri-Valley and the rest of the 15th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Brendan St. John, 49, will aim to oust incumbent U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) as an Independent during next year's election, saying he was inspired to seek office after being "fed up with the divisive rhetoric from both major political parties, and the ineffectiveness of our government."
"Our government is close to dysfunctional," St. John said in an email interview this week.
"It was clear to me that if things were going to improve it would require an outside-the-Beltway, 'average' person to be willing to step up," he added. "I was raised that if you don't like how something works, don't just complain or expect someone to fix it: Roll up your sleeves and fix it yourself."
St. John is the first candidate to publicly announce a bid to unseat Swalwell, a 36-year-old Democrat who is serving his third straight term in Congress.
Swalwell confirmed this week he will seek re-election next year, saying he remains more passionate than ever about the work he's doing on behalf of the 15th District.
"I have spent a lot of time these last few years visiting every corner of the Tri-Valley, where I grew up," he said by email. "It's where I get my best sense of how people are doing. While I'm hopeful for the future, it is also clear that more work is needed to expand opportunity for all Americans. That's why I'm running for re-election to Congress."
"My priorities in Congress continue to be the priorities that my constituents tell me are important: giving everyone a shot at prosperity, ensuring access to affordable health care, keeping seniors financially secure, providing good schools and useful skills to our kids, extending BART to Livermore and keeping the American dream within reach for every person in this country," Swalwell added.
Swalwell was a 31-year-old Alameda County prosecutor and Dublin City Council member when he successfully unseated incumbent and fellow Democrat Pete Stark in November 2012. Swalwell won re-election comfortably against little-known Republicans in 2014 and 2016.
Though St. John has already started his campaign to challenge Swalwell, prospective candidates can't officially enter the race until the nomination period opens in mid-February. The top two finishers in the June primary will face each other in a runoff election for the seat in November.
A 20-year Pleasanton resident and married father of three teenagers, St. John acknowledges -- and almost embraces -- running for Congress with no prior elected or government experience.
"That's been one of the most positively received aspects of my candidacy," according to St. John.
As for goals in office, St. John said his top priority would be to represent his constituents.
"District 15 deserves the full focus and effort from their representative in Washington. Currently we are not receiving this level of commitment," he said.
"If elected, I will serve all constituents within the district regardless of party affiliation," he added. "As a non-party representative, I will have no party bosses to appease regarding legislative votes, and I will be able to work with both sides to craft and support legislation important to our district."
In terms of nationwide issues, St. John said his priorities would include addressing the national debt, health care and immigration -- and he has plans laid out for each. Locally, he said he is "particularly passionate" about developing a new system to allow constituents to share their feedback quickly and securely.
"Getting things moving in the positive direction will take a different approach," he added. "Washington needs independent voices and representatives who want to bring Democrats and Republicans together. I will be one of those representatives."
St. John has lived in California since relocating as a young adult in 1990. He and wife Jessica moved to Pleasanton in 1997. They have a daughter in college, a son in high school and a son in middle school.
He holds a master's degree in marketing from Santa Clara University and his professional experience has been focused on marketing in the health care and medical device industries. He is also a volunteer leader with the Pleasanton Junior Football League and an active member of Canyon Creek Church in San Ramon.
In addition to Pleasanton, the 15th Congressional District includes Dublin, Livermore, San Ramon, Hayward, Union City, parts of Fremont and Danville, and the unincorporated areas of Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, Sunol, Ashland, Cherryland and Fairview.
For more information on St. John, visit his campaign website.
For more information on Swalwell, visit his campaign website.