Lily Mei

Mayor Lily Mei was sworn in December 2016 as Fremont’s first woman and minority mayor in Fremont’s 63 year history. She first was elected to the Fremont City Council in 2014.

Mayor Mei actively represents Fremont’s interest on critical infrastructure issues including transportation and housing. Currently, she serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission as Chair for the I-680 Sunol Express Lane Joint Powers Authority, Vice Chair for the Goods Movement Planning Committee, and as a Member of the Planning, Policy and Legislation Committee.

In 2019, Mayor Mei was nominated to serve on the National League of Cities policy committees of Transportation & Infrastructure Services. Most recently she was appointed as Co-Chair of the NLC Transportation Technology subcommittee.  She also serves on the League of California Cities’ Housing, Community and Economic Development policy committee as an East Bay representative

Mayor Mei was instrumental in initiating Fremont’s first Mobility Task Force, which successfully guided the development of the City’s Mobility Action Plan focused on addressing the need for comprehensive citywide traffic congestion planning, safety of all travel modes, emerging transportation trends, such as autonomous vehicles, and producing an action agenda checklist planning for Fremont’s future initiatives.

Mayor Mei is proud to be a contributor to the growing success of Fremont’s public education where she was elected twice as a School Board Trustee to the Fremont Unified School District serving from January 2008 to December 2014. Regionally for education, Mayor Mei served two terms as a Delegate Assembly member for Region 7 representing Alameda and Contra Costa counties school districts. Statewide for California Mayor Mei is a past President of the Asian Pacific Islander School Board Members Association (APISBMA).

Mayor Mei embraces diverse recreational and cultural programs serving as a volunteer and leader supporting local scouting and sports programs. She is a board member/advisor of Citizens for Better Community, Music for Minors II and South Bay Chinese Service Club. Mayor Mei also has been a dedicated supporter involved with community focused groups encouraging civic engagement such as the Silicon Valley Leadership Group – Minority Women Leadership Day/Education Summit and American Association of University Women.

Mayor Mei grew up in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business from Drexel University. Her professional experience includes over 20 years in competitive analysis, product and channel management, supply chain practices and serving as a worldwide sales operations controller. Most recently she led a global high-technology trade association representing industry leaders to develop best practices to advance intellectual property protection.

Mayor Mei lives in Fremont with her husband, Peter, and their children, Katie and Calvin.


“As Fremont’s Mayor, I am leading effective, broad-scale efforts to address food insecurity; dramatically expanding our affordable housing inventory for seniors and working families; and fighting our homeless crisis through a state of the art homeless navigation center with mobile hygiene services.

We’re prioritizing fire safety preparedness while addressing the need for transformative climate change through green initiatives such as emergency solar microgrids. Fremont created the largest number of EV stations of any city in the county.

As a working Mom of two, I first got involved to improve education for future generations. That’s why, as a member of the Fremont Unified School District Board of Trustees, I promoted initiatives to support our award-winning schools and children’s safety, garnering nationwide recognition for our safer routes to school programs.

Please join me in my fight to expand opportunity and improve the quality of life for your family and all Californians.”     —— Lily Mei

About Fremont:

FREMONT, CA — Fremont was ranked among 2021’s best-run cities in the U.S. during a year that put local governments and leaders to the test in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bay Area city snagged no. 77 out of 150 cities according to new data gathered by WalletHub.

“Even when the U.S. isn’t in a time of crisis, running a city is a tall order,” WalletHub researchers wrote in a report. “But how do we measure the effectiveness of local leadership? One way is by determining a city’s operating efficiency.”

The financial advice site used several factors to measure how well cities are managed. WalletHub’s analysts constructed a “quality of services” score of 38 different metrics grouped into six categories, which were measured against the city’s per-capita budget, according to the report.

Fremont received high marks (no. 1) for having the lowest percentage of its population in poverty, 4.3 percent, compared to Flint, Mich., the city with the highest at 38.8 percent, according to the report. And the city ranked no.3 among cities with the highest median annual household income.

The city was also ranked among cities with the lowest violent crime rate in the U.S. at no. 5.

However, the city didn’t receive as much praise for its roads, which were ranked among cities that had the lowest quality roadways.

“The most important issues facing cities today are COVID-19, housing affordability, and crime, ” said John Winters, an associate professor at Iowa State Univeristy. “COVID-19 is still a major problem, but vaccinations are the clear solution. Cities need to continue encouraging vaccinations, including among hard-to-reach and otherwise reluctant populations.”

Here’s an interactive map of WalletHub’s 2021’s Best & Worst Run Cities In America.

This program in Fremont is reskilling people who lost their jobs during the pandemic

A little more than a year ago, Marta Kolar was working as a driver and dispatcher for a paratransit service, while also caring for her ailing 89-year-old mother. When the pandemic hit, Kolar had to quit her job, fearful she’d bring the deadly virus back home.

Kolar found herself on unemployment for the better part of a year until she applied for a program through the city of Fremont that offered paid classes through Ohlone Community College and a chance at a job making COVID-19 test kits at Evolve Manufacturing Technologies’ factory in Fremont.

Now she is back to work full time at the factory, having already worked her way up to a job as a lead coordinator on the assembly line, doing quality checks on hundreds of test kits a day

“You have to be fast,” Kolar said, since her group assembles and inspects up to 500 test kits for shipment daily.

The pilot program, called Earn and Learn Fremont, saw 17 people with no manufacturing background complete an eight-week training course that included six weeks of on-site classwork at Evolve, through Ohlone, on the basics of manufacturing and safety. Fourteen members of the cohort went on to work at Evolve while three others got jobs at other manufacturers in the area.

With millions of Americans still out of work and many jobs still going unfilled, the program is a snapshot of how people who lost work during the pandemic can reskill in a new field, even without a college degree.

Charleen Elliott’s sales job at an event center in Livermore came to an abrupt halt when shelter-in-place orders came down in March of last year. That forced her onto unemployment until she started the training program at Evolve in February. She’s now a coordinator and quality controller at Evolve.

Elliott said it was stressful not being able to work for almost a year. “I was hoping to hear back from my old boss about when we could come in.” But that call never came for Elliott, who, like many others who lost their jobs because of the pandemic, was facing the question of how to build new skills to find work in a still-recovering economy.

The hardest-hit industries have begun adding back jobs statewide — leisure and hospitality tacked on more than 60,000 between March and April — but are not back to where they were a year ago. Many industries like events and entertainment could take longer to recover, leaving professionals like Elliott to make other plans.

Job openings continue to pile up across the Bay Area and the U.S. as the recovery ramps up, but sluggish hiring numbers found that American employers added just 266,000 jobs in April, down from more than 900,000 in March and well below expectations, complicating the employment picture. The reasons for that are complex, running from care duties like Kolar’s that disproportionately fall on women to skills gaps and pay issues for lower-wage jobs.

In Fremont, however, there are plenty of entry-level manufacturing jobs to be had, according to Tina Kapoor, the city’s economic development manager, who worked to set up the program with Evolve and Ohlone along with local workforce development boards.

“In Fremont, advanced manufacturing is a major sector,” Kapoor said.

She said many of Fremont’s more than 900 manufacturers are currently hiring — including battery maker Enovix, Lam Research, Owens Design and electric car maker Tesla, among others.

Kapoor said many companies are looking for entry-level employees, while others have openings in more advanced roles designing new products that require more experience.

Statewide manufacturing hiring ticked up only slightly between March and April, according to the state’s Employment Development Department, although those companies have added more than 45,000 jobs since April of last year.

Evolve’s Senior Director of Operations Matt Pawluk said the company isn’t making the 35,000 test kits per day that it was at the height of the pandemic last year, but the facility is still churning out tens of thousands per day along with antibody tests, ventilators and a range of other medical devices.

Pawluk said the group that went through the program is now making $18 per hour sterilizing, assembling and inspecting the test kits. He said each has been hired as a temporary employee, and wasn’t clear if the jobs had a set end date.

Kapoor said the certificate the group got from Ohlone College and the on-the-job experience puts the group in a position to pursue other options at manufacturers in the city, or elsewhere if they don’t stay on long term.

Kolar, the quality inspector, said she likes the work, although she’d like to move up in the company and learn more while on the job. That’s what she did in the 1980s when she worked making computer mainframes for a manufacturer in Silicon Valley before quickly moving into the company’s logistics and distribution office.

She said she finds the work at Evolve engaging and tries to teach others what she has learned whenever she has a chance. She doesn’t mind getting up at 3:30 a.m. each morning to clock in at 5:30 a.m., either, since the early hours let her come home to take over caregiving for her mother.

Kolar is glad to be working again, but her goal is still to go back and finish her bachelor’s degree in business management to further brighten her horizons.

“I would like to get in a higher position … and move up with the company,” she said. “If I see there is a need, I would go and take a class.”


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