Jeremy Ray is a twenty-five-year veteran of the fire service who believes that community representation is critical to the mission of all public agencies. As Deputy Fire Chief for the City of Santa Clara, he has made it a top priority to recruit and retain a workforce that reflects the community they serve. Under his leadership, the department now conducts targeted outreach to under-represented communities, provides implicit bias training for evaluators in all hiring and promotional processes, and applies an equity lens to important organizational decisions.
Earlier in his career, Jeremy served for 12 years as a principle officer of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 1171, a role that allowed him to gain valuable experience in labor/management relations, contract negotiations, and political advocacy. In 2006, Jeremy was elected to the Executive Board of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, where he helped represent more than 100,000 workers in a vast array of trades and occupations. As a union leader, Jeremy was involved in all aspects of political campaigning, including everything from walking precincts to designing campaign literature to making endorsement decisions on candidates and ballot initiatives. During his eight years with the labor council, Jeremy also collaborated with the worker-aligned public policy institute, Working Partnerships USA, including co-authoring Life in the Valley Economy 2010, an analysis of the impact of the Great Recession on working families in Silicon Valley and beyond.
In 2012, Jeremy was elected to the Governing Board of the Live Oak Elementary School District in Santa Cruz County where he lives, and his children attend school. He believes that public schools should be the hub of a community, partnering with other local organizations to provide wrap-around services for students and connect families with the resources they need. Significant achievements during his tenure on the school board include building a $6 million Boys & Girls Club on school district property, partnering with a community health center to provide individual and family counseling services for district families, establishing the Live Oak Education Foundation, starting a K-5 Dual-Language Immersion program (Spanish/English), appointing the first bilingual, Latina superintendent in the majority Latinx school district, and developing a plan to build teacher/workforce housing on surplus district-owned property in the heart of the community.
Jeremy is a Senior Fellow of American Leadership Forum—Silicon Valley and serves on the Governance, Transparency, and Labor Relations Policy Committee of the League of California Cities. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA and a master’s in public administration from the University of Colorado, Denver.