|Philippine-born elected mayor in America Jose Esteves. File Photo
MILPITAS, Calif. - He is one of only a few Philippine-born elected mayors in America. Jose Esteves says he does not only want to make his countrymen proud, but he wants to be of service to all people.
The 65-year old Esteves is a full-time government employee. During the day, he works as systems analyst for the superior court. In the afternoons, he comes to the Milpitas City Hall to attend to his duties as mayor.
Esteves was born and raised in Dagupan City, Philippines to a lawyer-father, a housewife-mother and seven siblings.
"I enjoyed my days growing up in Dagupan. I had the joy of walking from home to school. I knew everyone there," he said.
Esteves went to college at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, where he finished two Science Degrees: Civil Engineering and Industrial Engineering. He also finished his Masters in Business in UP in 1975. He also thrived in student leadership and held key positions in various organizations.
Esteves had a good career as a computer analyst in the Philippines, before he migrated to the U.S. in 1980.
In Milpitas, he lived with his family, wife Susan and only child Irene.
He became active in volunteering for the community, joining service-oriented groups like Knights of Columbus, the Lions Club and various FilAm organizations. He was even hailed as "Citizen of the Year".
"They said you're already serving the community, might as well share your enthusiasm and desire to serve by being an elected official," Esteves recounted how fellow Filipinos encouraged him to run for office.
With the support of all communities, not just Filipinos, Esteves has held four terms as mayor since 2002.
Under his leadership, Milpitas now has a big news library, a new senior center and booming businesses. Milpitas also has one of the lowest crime rates in the country and there are more jobs in Milpitas than people.
Esteves said the secrets to his success include leading by example and truly loving what he does.