I've advocated for working families for 40 years and will continue to do so. A high quality public education is crucial for children to achieve their highest potential. Likewise is an accessible health care system to sustain families. Both are an investment and the foundation of a thriving community.
What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
1. Affordable Housing: There is a critical need for affordable housing in the Bay Area. I will advocate for developing policies and requirements for smart development that includes housing for low to moderate-income families. Such housing should also be linked to public transportation and walk/bike trails to reduce traffic congestion. 2. Education: I would ensure that quality public education involves partnerships and families working together. Teachers and school staff must likewise be supported. 3. The Wage Gap: I will fight for access to well paying, living wage jobs to bridge the economic divide.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
We must prioritize in a way that values children and families. They are the foundation of a community. Efforts to support and sustain them in a meaningful way is the key to the quality of life. Creative solutions for other revenue streams becomes critical when budgets are in crisis and must be at the front of any decision. Inefficiencies can be explored, reduced and eliminated. Supporting families and children serve as an investment, rather than an expense. High quality education is a priority, and this includes support for teachers to live and work in their communities.
What steps will you take to address the high cost and lack of availability of quality child care and preschool programs in our communities, especially for low-income children and English language learners?
As a council member, I will always keep these issues at the forefront. I will strive to expand our community services to be inclusive of English language learners. I will work with partners in the community to provide the capacity for more affordable and accessible childcare services at places of employment.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
Investing in affordable housing for special needs children and their families is critical and must include input from affected families. The recently approved Freebird project in Santa Clara is an example of addressing that need, where housing for the developmentally disabled and low to moderate-income families will be built. All children must be given the opportunity to learn in a supportive environment regardless of special needs, language barriers or income levels. These are the types of issues I have long advocated for and will continue to do so.
Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the "opportunity gap" that low-income children and children of color experience, including lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors and enrichment activities. If elected, what steps will you take to address this issue?
I will fight for creative solutions to bridge the opportunity gap. Food, shelter, health care, quality public education and a supporting environment are necessary foundations for all children. It will take partnerships with affected families, educational institutions and public support to overcome the obstacles that underserved communities face. Investments in our children that allow them to learn and thrive results in productive members of our community. A council member can have an impact, by advocating for an expansion of services geared to children at the preschool and elementary levels. I will work tirelessly to achieve these goals.