Josh Becker is a greentech venture capital investor at New Cycle Capital and he's running for the California state Assembly on a very greentech platform.  If he wins, he's going to have to take a substantial pay cut.

He's running against two other Democrats and no Republicans in the liberal 21st Assembly District, which includes the cities of Palo Alto, Redwood City, Los Altos Hills, Woodside, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, and Stanford University.   The district is essentially the heart and capitol of Silicon Valley and includes the venture capital community of Sand Hill Road and some of the nation's priciest residential zip codes.  Steve Jobs, the Google founders, Larry Ellison and many other tech luminaries live in the district. 

It may be the capitol of Silicon Valley, but it's not the capitol of California.  That would be Sacramento, about one hundred miles to the northeast and light-years away in character.  Silicon Valley is driven by technology, innovation, entrepreneurship and money, and Sacramento is driven by power, policy and money.

For many entrepreneurs and investors, government has always been the nemesis.  But in the realm of energy issues,  state and federal subsidies along with favorable and consistent energy policy now rank government among Silicon Valley's best friends. 

I spoke with Becker last night at a small fundraiser in Menlo Park that was attended by the mayors of Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, and Menlo Park, Gary Kremen of Clean Power Finance,  Andrew Beebe of Suntech and a number of other Silicon Valley greentech players.

As an investor, Becker seeded Renewable Funding.  The start-up provides financing solutions for renewables -- turnkey administration and financing of the PACE program (Property Assessed Clean Energy) at no cost to participating cities.  PACE programs let local governments finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on private residential, commercial and industrial properties with none of the upfront cost.

"PACE is a perfect example of the type of policy we need," said Becker

A California bond issue was recently voted down in Sacramento that would have provided incentives for new lighting technology, better insulation and solar on the roofs of California's biggest holder of commercial real estate.  Who is that biggest holder of real estate?  The State of California, of course, with 2.2 million square feet of holdings. 

"The bond would have saved money and created jobs, but Sacramento voted it down," according to the candidate.

Becker is willing to put his VC career on hold and take the $90,000-per-year job because he believes the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley, in his words, "can help fix Sacramento."