By Robert Haugh
Most people in local politics were surprised by your win in the primary. Do you consider it an “upset”?
Yes, against the odds our grassroots campaign won the most votes among Democratic candidates. Despite being outspent 15 to 1 and being the youngest candidate in the field, our clear progressive vision won this race.
What were the key factors that allowed you to beat better-known candidates with more money?
Our victory in the face of being outspent 15 to 1 comes down to our focus on the residents of AD25. Instead of spending money on consultants or time courting corporate special interest dollars, we ran a clean money campaign that focused on voters. We knocked on 30,000 doors and shared our vision directly with families and we went to every community event possible to meet people.
We proved that grassroots organizing still works in this modern era.
I personally connected with people at the doors about the affordability crisis in the Bay Area and voters were assured by my direct legislative experience to do something about it. That’s how we won with no fancy mailers or paid pollsters. We just did good old fashioned connecting with voters face-to-face.
Have other candidates in the race who didn’t make the run-off endorsed you?
Natasha Gupta, Carmen Montano, Anthony Phan, Jim Canova, Karina Dominguez, and Rich Tran had all previously run in the primary and have now endorsed me. I’m looking forward to the remaining candidates uniting with me.
What specifically will you focus on in the Assembly if you’re elected that will be of impact to Santa Clara?
I believe two of my main priorities will benefit Santa Clara.
One, I will work hard to protect, preserve, and produce affordable housing options so families who have worked hard for the Silicon Valley to prosper can also share in that prosperity and continue to call the region home for generations to come.
Secondly, I will work to end corporate special interest money influencing our politics. I can be all too easy for candidates to take money from fossil fuel, developers, or big corporations to finance their elections, but I remain committed to the principle of clean money campaigning. I’ll introduce legislation to ban corporate contributions across the state, for local and state elections – evening the odds for advocacy by the people.
How will you campaign differently if social distancing rules are in place between now and November?
Our campaign is adapting and respecting social distancing rules. Although we put a huge emphasis on face-to-face interactions, we remain hopeful we may be able to again in the Fall. Until then, we continue to interact with folks digitally via social media and through remote contacting.
For the foreseeable future though, we are pivoting and using our campaign infrastructure towards pandemic relief efforts. I’m personally volunteering with the Unhoused Response Group (URG) which is a coalition of advocates and nonprofits providing direct relief & advocacy to unhoused Santa Clara County residents. We have already distributed over 1000 packs of COVID19 supplies, which include public health information, food, and hygiene kits.
If readers would like to donate nonperishable foods or hand sanitizer, please contact me at email@example.com
Editor’s Note: District 25 includes Santa Clara. The current incumbent, Kansen Chu, stepped down to run for the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.