My wife and I are blessed to have three young girls. Their future and the future of every child in this county are in our hands. To help them thrive we must keep them, their families, and the communities that help nurture and support them at the forefront of all decision-making.
Taking into consideration the profound impact of COVID-19 and the expanded movement for racial justice and equity, what do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for families to thrive in our County. Working parents are struggling to manage remote learning and caring for their families while keeping their jobs. My wife and I both work and have three school-aged daughters at home. I know firsthand that we need to do more to help families thrive in our County. As Supervisor, I will 1. Push for more funding to help open new, safe childcare centers and preschools, and keep the ones we have open. 2. Invest in early childhood education and support efforts to make preschool part of our public school system, and ensure all public school and preschool teachers are paid a living wage and have access to affordable housing 3. Fight for increased access to healthcare/mental health care, including expanded at-home nurse visits for children and new parents. Additionally, I am a steadfast advocate of Prop 16 (affirmative action) and will continue to fight to ensure that all children are given the same opportunities.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
We must make children a top priority, even during times of social, political, and financial change. I will examine the current budget, federal, state, and private sources of funding to ensure that we are prioritizing children, families, and frontline workers moving forward. Additionally, COVID-19 highlighted the need for food security in our county. I will examine our current budget to ensure that we are allocating funds to feed our children. My experience as a Naval Logistic Officer afforded me the skills to keep Sunnyvale’s budget balanced for 8-years as Mayor/Councilmember. As Supervisor, I will increase funding for our children while staying fiscally responsible and accountable.
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?
Improved access to higher-quality child care through state regulations, subsidies, and parental education have been associated with increased achievement in low-income children. Programs like First 5 and Headstart have shown to improve post-preschool outcomes, including high school completion and health outcomes. As Supervisor, I will ensure that these programs are always funded and accessible. I will also examine permitting barriers for child care facilities, and provide entrepreneurial and business grants to open high-quality childcare and preschool centers in areas with the greatest need and ensure that the teachers and staff are paid a living wage, with access to healthcare.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
I will take a multi-prong approach to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs, by providing testing to help identify those with special needs as early as possible. I will ensure that families and caretakers have the resources and language appropriate access to the care that they need to help their children thrive. I will make sure that the county is creating all-inclusive spaces (i.e., playgrounds/parks) so that every child can fully participate in our community and feel included. I will work with educators to make sure that they have the professional and personal resources they need to create a positive environment, oriented towards inclusion for all students.
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 truly believe the success of any community lies in the mental and physical health of its most vulnerable. It is our duty to make sure that all children are safe, healthy, and thriving. We must examine our current programs and budgets and make sure that we are allocating funds and resources to create opportunities where they are most needed. Every decision I make will be to make sure that our children have access to housing, food, transportation, the internet, and modern education. Recent times have shown that the youth have a strong and powerful voice, we must include these voices in decisions that impact them, and make sure that they are approaching the future hopeful and inspired.