Although Rene Spring thinks the top priority—perhaps for some time—going into the next Morgan Hill City Council term will be the Covid-19 pandemic, the District C incumbent still has some long-term goals if he wins re-election to his second term.
Spring, 56, said he hopes to restore some of the services that he and his colleagues on the council cut from the city budget earlier this year due to shelter-in-place and other pandemic restrictions.
“We need to get the businesses open safely and get people back to work,” Spring said. “That has to be our number one priority. Everything beyond going back to somewhat normal has lower priority.”
In 2016, Spring ran for his first term on the council with a platform of slowing down residential growth. He hopes to continue those efforts if reelected, especially since the state in 2019 rescinded many of the city’s traditional growth control measures.
Spring noted that now, many residents from northern Santa Clara County and beyond are starting to look at homes in Morgan Hill. “I think our housing market remains very hot for the next few months because of the migration of people who now work from home,” Spring said. “That leads to pressure on us having to grow beyond the current city limits…and I don’t want that. We need to maintain our open space and agricultural land, and to limit growth in our current city limits.”
For economic development, Spring said he would like to attract more new industries like biotech and green energy—and even the cannabis industry—to Morgan Hill to “broaden our tax base” and bring higher-paying jobs.
“We also need to look into new opportunities such as providing co-working space” for residents who will be working from home for the foreseeable future, Spring said.
Over the last four years, Spring said one decision he is most proud of is appointing Christina Turner as Morgan Hill’s city manager.
He is also proud that the city has not annexed any land since he was elected in 2016, and of his work collaborating with the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency, which has preserved thousands of acres of undisturbed land in the South Bay in recent years.
As a member of the LGBTQ community, Spring has advocated for more services and understanding for LGBTQ residents from nonprofits and local agencies. “Now the rainbow flag flies over City Hall in June every year—a signal to everyone that we are an open-minded city,” Spring said.
Spring is married to Mark, an artist, and is a step-father to three adult children and “Opa” to three grandchildren.
“The most rewarding part over the past three-and-a-half years was to get to know so many wonderful people, organizations and businesses, here in town, and beyond, as well as to work with very supportive city employees,” Spring added.