My goal is to ensure our government and education system are equitable and all children have an opportunity to succeed. I will support families by ensuring services the city provides are of the highest quality so that all our children can realize their potential.
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?
First, I support new housing being built at all levels of affordability, especially near transit. We must house our families and create stability for them. Ensuring they’re built near centers of transit will also help families with transportation challenges.
With the onset of COVID-19, schooling and other activities are moving online. We know San Jose has many children and families who lack online access. This has created a divide between families and is a gap I’ve worked hard to close. I’ve supported our Digital Inclusion Fund and Strategy, a $24M cross-sector fund that provides internet access at home, gives devices to residents who lack them, and helps residents learn digital skills.
Finally, we need to make sure our local economy continues to function so that people have jobs they can return to. I will continue to support our small businesses by helping them reopen safely. For those hurt by layoffs, I support programs that help train people for jobs and aid in job searches.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
With the expected budget shortfalls in the coming years, our city budget will be very tight. I’m committed to funding our core services, which includes our parks, activities, and libraries. Outside of that, we must rely on public-private partnerships and chasing state and federal funding to fill these gaps in services for our children and families. I have the experience in office necessary to be successful at chasing down grants and funding from our local business community.
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?
A lot of solutions to this problem are outside of our scope, but the tool the City can best wield to solve this problem is our ability to set land-use designations. I have supported new childcare centers being built in District 6 and citywide, especially near transit. Through our Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services Department, we offer a low-cost preschool option for many families.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
I’ve been a strong supporter of building an inclusive playground in my district - a place where children of all abilities can play together. While our city has programs for children with special needs, I will work to ensure more of our recreation programs are inclusive for children of all abilities.
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 continue to support our Library and Parks and Recreation programs that make educational materials and supplies available and accessible to low-income children. As mentioned above, I’m also a strong supporter of our Digital Inclusion Strategy that provides wi-fi in low-income areas. The strategy also provides devices and hotspots for checkout at our local libraries. We cannot leave a generation of children behind by not granting them easy access to the Internet.