Q&A with Mayor Lily Mei

Lily Mei

Mayor | Freemont, CA

Lily MeiTell us about your background. What are the experiences, including education, that make up the person you currently are?

I think the most important part of my experiences especially regarding education was the focus on flexibility and resiliency.

What was your trigger moment and why this specific office?

Originally like many others, I became involved because of a personal issue important to me which was my children and how I started out serving on PTA and school board. Later seeing the changes and impacts of the city on our community, I chose to run for city council and mayor as there was a need for greater partnership.

What made you feel qualified to run for office?

The qualifications for me to serve as our city mayor and a candidate for future opportunities are that I have diverse insights bringing perspectives as a community member, parent, and employee in our city and Bay Area for over 27 years. More importantly, I have consistently delivered policies, programs, and funding to advocate with our legislators and local governmental agencies. This is acknowledged by other groups in the awards the city and I have received for our accomplishments.

Do you work full-time or part-time?


Most people don’t know what their elected official does on a daily basis. What’s a typical day looking like for you?

The City of Fremont’s Mayor brings daily new opportunities and challenges. I have been working at my city office every day since March 2020 and have not taken a day off as my community has needed stability, focus, and support. These past two weeks:

  • I welcomed a foreign ambassador as part of an SF Bay Area AAPI Chamber of Commerce dinner.
  • Toured a new innovative battery factory celebrating its one-year anniversary.
  • Presented welcomes and congratulations at both a regional soccer tournament and national cricket tournament
  • Extended my support for our Fremont Unified summer school graduation.
  • Spoke with local health care agencies and institutions concerning COVID impacts on reopenings.
  • Toured our city of Fremont budget projects advocating for funding from our local congressional representative as part of his budget earmarks.
  • Attended an international symphony concert bringing culture and arts to our community.
  • Visited homelessness facilities to share with County and National care providers our next steps in efforts to address food insecurity, homelessness, and funds.
  • Shared workforce and education opportunities with our local Ohlone Community College president to prepare for Fall campus openings.
  • Revitalized community support for summer concerts in the parks, Street Eat Food Truck nights, Active Fremont initiative to get community walking/riding for health benefits, and our city’s annual National Night Out.

Additionally, they might not know what their elected official is responsible for. What is your role in comparison to other elected offices on your level?

Our role as the local city Mayor is to partner with other agencies and their governance team to deliver services critical for our community’s operations, essential functions (land use, public safety, recreation, wellness) and work with fellow local, regional, state, and federal levels.

What are 3-5 skills needed to be successful in the elected office you served in/are currently serving in?

Key skills needed to be successful in this office include: Communications (listening to constituents and speaking), Empathy/Kindness, Resiliency, Flexibility, Integrity, and Grit.

What’s the best part about serving in elected office?

The best part is the people – as a public servant knowing that you can effectuate changes that benefit and plan for your communities future. In particular, I love working with youth and those also seeking positivity in change. Our city staff and community make me proud. When faced with difficulties, we pull together.

What has been the accomplishment you’re most proud of while in office?

My proudest accomplishment in these past few years has been providing wellness (physical, mental, and fiscal). In all the ups and downs, while there have been unanticipated challenges, we still make things work and accomplish definitive results.

In terms of finances, how much money did you have to raise for your campaign?

$100k but this may need to be revisited considering our city’s growing size and population.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who’s thinking about running for the position you serve/have served in their community?

For anyone wishing to run, get out to know the community you want to serve. Be part of activities and programs that relate to these positions. Perhaps start by serving on a commission or project. Definitely attend, watch and participate in the position you are seeking to ensure that you have a truer understanding of the daily responsibilities and time needed to effectively serve.