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Roman Reed

By Adriana Garcia

Quick Facts:

  • Roman Reed is one of six candidates running for the vacant District 6 City Council seat.

  • Reed has previously worked with universities as a specialist on spinal cord injuries, and has worked to create California laws on STEM cell research that have create thousands of jobs in California.

  • Reed is a community activist, an executive director at the Stanford Partnership for Spinal Cord Injury and Repair, and a Fremont Planning Commissioner.

  • Reed's Top Three Priorities:

    • Create a plan for COVID recovery

    • Ensure public safety

    • Increase funding for local research ventures.

  • Reed's Signature Policies:

    • Use a holistic approach to increasing funding for the city budget, looking into grants and more funding from the state and federal government.

    • Provide free lunches for students and higher pay for Fremont teachers.

    • Invest in local stem cell research.

Who Is Roman Reed?

In a crowded District 6 race, it’s tough to stand out as a candidate. Roman Reed, however, has an impressive resume to back up his candidacy. A part of the Latinx community, Reed has been a resident of Fremont for many years, and hopes to fight for equity for all socio-economic groups. Reed asserts that he was “born to help others,” and while he suffered a football spinal injury that left him wheelchair bound in his childhood, Reed says that he “does not let his disability stop him from achieving his goals.” 


“After my football spinal cord injury...More doctors than I can shake stick at told me that I would never move again. But they don’t know me. Because, I never ever give up!” said Reed.


Reed’s long list of accomplishments distinguishes him from other District 6 candidates, having served as the executive director for the Stanford Partnership for Spinal Cord Injury and Repair and a professor at Singularity University.  He has collaborated on a number stem cell research programs throughout the country, and has advocated for more funding for stem cell research throughout his career. In 1999, Reed helped pass the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act in California, helping appropriate $12.5 million in state funds to research for spinal cord regeneration.


Ultimately, however, Reed sums up why he’s qualified for City Council with three reasons.


“You should vote for me because one, I care, two, I will make a difference, and three, you can trust me,” said Reed,  “I want to represent the community that I have lived and served in for my entire life. If elected, I will serve, I will make a difference, and I will care about the community.”


COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the local Fremont economy. In an interview with Reed conducted by The Milpitas Beat, however, Reed said that “regional planning, pragmatic thinking, collaboration, appreciation and respect” are what he thinks the city needs to rebuild post-COVID. Reed believes that his background as a scientist and his focus on data will help the city reopen safely in the coming months.


In regards to rebuilding, Reed believes that actions must be taken on the increasing rate of local small business closures, and highlights his past experience in helping bring jobs to California. Reed believes that the city needs to invest in more grants for small businesses, and work to seek grants to help reopen. Reed also underscores the important of science when reopening Fremont, noting how the city should “let science lead.” And once the times are good, Reed will focus on building up a larger Rainy-Day Fund to help plan for unexpected expenses or shortfalls like the one caused by COVID-19, and establish an emergency fund to help with future disasters.


Reed believes the city needs to take a holistic approach to solve the housing and homelessness situation in Fremont. He cites again, the importance of looking at the data, and believes that current steps to create the Homeless Navigation center are promising. However, Reed “wants to see more data on the HNC” before definitively concluding whether it has helped decrease homelessness in Fremont.


With regards to affordable housing, Reed asserts that he’s “approved more affordable housing on the Fremont Planning Committee than anyone else” in his ten years on the committee. But Reed also notes that he’s rejected housing plans too, and overall believes that the city needs to be more progressive in its plans to increase the housing supply.


“We need more affordable housing at all levels, from low to moderate to high,” said Reed. “We have a cut-through traffic issue and a transportation issue. So by not approving more local housing, you have just created more people cutting through Fremont to get their good paying jobs in Silicon Valley.”


As a member of the Fremont Planning Committee and the Parks and Rec committee, Reed has first hand experience working on Fremont’s General Plan for the future. In the past, Reed has helped allocate more funds for protected bike lanes, and believes that build more of those lanes is the key to encouraging more people to bike to places. He envisions a future where a biker in Fremont can get to one side of the city to the other in a protected bike lane safely, without the need to cross main roadways.


Looking toward traffic, Reed believes that the city should look into more innovative approaches to reduce congestion. He highlights how “we’re in Tesla and Elon Musk’s backyard,” and hopes to work with Musk to implement a system of tunnels in Fremont with the Boring Company to solve the issue of traffic.


Recognizing the distrust of police in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, Reed, in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, believes that the city need to rethink policing. Reed does not support defunding the police, but wants more compassionate training instead. He cites the need for data to lead policy choices, and hopes that taking a holistic approach to the police will help ensure the city is safe.


While Reed acknowledges the mental health crisis in Fremont, he also believes that the city needs to look more deeply at the opioid crisis in particular. Reed’s own stem cell research is intended to help users of opioids reverse the cycle of addiction and alleviate police resources on mental health calls.


Reed wants the city needs to take a larger role in supporting FUSD and should provide more funding to their budget. Reed hopes that he can establish higher pay for teachers, provide free lunches for students in need, and make FUSD a role model school district for California.


“When people tell me no, I find a way.”


In regards to the community as a whole, Reed hopes to represent all people and make “the impossible possible.” He hopes to have further conversations with the community if elected and make Fremont the best it can be.


Visit his website at: