Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, District 4

Don Rocha

http://www.donaldrocha.com

My first priority as a father is providing security, opportunity and love for my kids. My first priority as an elected official is to ensure that all of our kids have that same security and opportunity, and that parents have the support they need to provide a loving family environment.

  1. What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?

    I believe the top three issues are (1) housing affordability and homelessness (2) access to healthcare and (3) education. I would address housing by making Measure A implementation a priority and identifying additional strategies to build affordable housing, such as use of County land for affordable projects. On heath, I would protect the gains we’ve made under the affordable care act, work to cover populations that still don’t have healthcare access (such as undocumented immigrants), and support public health initiatives. On education, I would seek to build partnerships that would allow the County to support education.

  2. How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?

    On affordable housing, I would prioritize investments that would enhance the safety and well-being of children and families—for example, I have a record of advocacy for affordable projects that serve victims of domestic violence. On healthcare, I would seek ongoing funding for programs to cover the remaining gaps in healthcare coverage and would support Department of Public Health initiatives to promote healthy nutrition and lifestyles for children. On education, I would build partnerships with schools to ensure children have access to services the county provides, such as housing and healthcare, and have the social support they need to learn.

  3. 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?

    First, I would support developing new local funding sources—if necessary, new taxes—to fund affordable early care and education programs for all children. Second, I would review the County’s land use rules to determine whether it’s possible to remove permitting barriers for child care facilities, and potentially develop a model zoning ordinance for such facilities that could be adopted by cities countywide. Third, I would support programs to train child care workers and provide them technical assistance in starting a child care business. Such programs should be targeted at communities with the greatest need.

  4. What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?

    I think the starting point would be a review of County facilities and services to ensure that the needs of children with special needs and disabilities are taken into account throughout the County’s service provision, from healthcare, to foster care to the criminal justice system. In my time as a councilmember, I’ve found that it’s critical to hear directly from the people who receive services, especially if they’re under-served or marginalized. At the County I would foster a culture of making every service delivery decision with the participation of service recipient, including special needs children and their caregivers.

  5. 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?

    First, the opportunity gap is in part a result of the inequality in our economy. I would seek to increase wages, labor protections and bargaining power of low wage workers to ensure they can provide opportunity for their children. Second, I would seek to expand opportunity into all communities though direct services and partnerships, such as provision of healthcare, support for healthy food vendors, or support for early education. Finally, I would strongly support efforts to identify and dismantle racist systems, particularly in the criminal justice system, that result in the oppression and disenfranchisement of communities of color.