Larry Carr, a former longtime elected official who served on the city council for 20 years, announced he is running for Mayor of Morgan Hill in the Nov. 8 election.
Carr said as a Morgan Hill native who has been actively involved in the community for most of his adult life, he is uniquely qualified and experienced to bring the kind of leadership that the council needs to the mayor’s seat.
“As the mayor, you’ve got to be intimately engaged in the policy issues, and I’ll be ready on day one for those,” Carr said in an interview with the Times. “But now, the most important job of the mayor is how to bring the council together to solve Morgan Hill issues and how to move us forward.”
Carr said in recent years, the council has become more “fractured” instead of taking a “team approach” to difficult decisions. The result is a citizenry that increasingly seeks to challenge the council’s decisions. But such division can be overcome with the right leadership on the dais, Carr said.
“We need someone…in the mayor’s seat to help the council achieve goals, but (also) to rebuild the trust from our community,” Carr said. “We want to make sure we’re bringing the community along with us when we make decisions, and that’s the mayor’s job. I want to be the person to do that.”
Carr, 53, announced his candidacy in a June 24 interview with this newspaper, with former Mayor Steve Tate by his side.
“I had the privilege of having (Carr) sit next to me for 18 years on council,” said Tate, who served as the city’s mayor from 2006-2018, and as a council member for two terms before that. “I could see first hand him doing exactly what he’s talking about—building the consensus, making sure that everybody was heard from (and) moving things along at a pace where everybody could be on board. That’s not happening now.”
Carr served on the Morgan Hill City Council from 2000-2020. He lost his 2020 re-election bid to Councilmember Gino Borgioli.
Before running for council, Carr served four years on the Morgan Hill Unified School District Board of Education from 1996-2000.
Throughout his time in politics, Carr has held a career in public affairs and academia, he said in a biographical press release. He has worked in the congressional offices of Representatives Norm Mineta and Anna Eshoo, and later served as director of government and community relations for Stanford Hospital. He has also worked as associate vice president of public affairs at San Jose State University.
He currently works as Corporate Director of State & Local Government Relations for Albertsons Companies, Inc.—which owns Safeway grocery stores. In this capacity, since early 2021 he has helped organize numerous Covid-19 vaccination clinics sponsored by Safeway in Morgan Hill.
Since leaving the council, Carr has been involved with the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce and the MHUSD citizens oversight committee.
Carr has two children who are currently college students, and lives in downtown Morgan Hill with longtime partner Barbara Krainock.
The mayor’s seat is currently occupied by Rich Constantine, who is serving in his second two-year term since 2018. Constantine has not yet announced if he will run for re-election in November. He ran for Santa Clara County District 1 Supervisor earlier this month, but did not gain enough votes in the June 7 primary to continue to vie for that seat.
The only candidate so far who has declared their intent to run for mayor of Morgan Hill in 2022 is Mark Turner.
The nomination period for candidates for the city’s Nov. 8 election—which includes the mayor’s seat as well as two city council positions—runs from July 18-Aug. 12.
In terms of policy, Carr said the City of Morgan Hill is poised to face many difficult challenges in the coming years—including state housing laws that have eliminated local growth control measures that he helped draft as a council member—that can best be met by a mayor with experience and a history of local, regional and statewide contacts.
“This is not a time for someone to be learning on the job for the mayor’s seat,” Carr said. “You need to be getting after these things on day one.”