RISHI KUMAR FOR US CONGRESS

Priorities

Quality Of Life

As your Representative, I will address the Bay Area’s quality of life issues such as rising crime, fire safety, increasing water rates, the growing traffic congestion and the housing crisis enabled by a vision and a strong track record of addressing the top challenges of Silicon Valley. I will fight for issues such as high speed network “Broadband needs to become a utility”, reducing air traffic noise and preserving our open space areas.

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Healthcare System

I support Medicare for All. I support H.R 1384 and H.R 1046. I have taken the pledge to not receive special interest money or PAC money and taken the “No Health Insurance and Pharma Money Pledge”. There are over 30 million individuals in America who do not have adequate access to health insurance. Big Pharma and health lobbyists have penetrated their way into our government. As your Congressman, I will push for healthcare reform. I will push back against the burgeoning healthcare costs and rising drug prices. Healthcare cost is one of the primary cause of U.S. bankruptcies. Healthcare has become a significant burden for our working families and overshadowed any wage gains. It is time we explored better, cheaper healthcare options for the people of America. Many countries of the world have a high quality single payer system. America can, too! We should optimize our healthcare spend with preventive care and wellness options. We should also invest into healthcare analytics and developing an Electronic Medical Record System. We should make it easier for our citizens to import FDA approved drugs from outside USA. Here are 3 things we can do to reduce the healthcare cost:

We need bold leadership and determination to solve our healthcare challenges. The money? We can optimize the public sector significantly to free up dollars for healthcare. Can we STOP engaging in unnecessary wars and allow vendors like TransDigm to gouge the Federal government and the Department of Defense. It is time we had fearless leaders who will make citizen-centric choices for the American people.

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Women in the Workplace

RishiMy wife Seema works in the Valley’s networking industry and I have seen first-hand the challenges that women in the workplace face. Institutional barriers plague our workplace -- impacting women and many underrepresented gender identities. In Congress, I will be a fierce advocate for women’s rights and economic security. I will address gender bias, income inequality, work life balance and unequal growth opportunities in the Silicon Valley’s workplace and in our courts. I will create a Silicon Valley ecosystem that will promote and create opportunities for girls and young women to pursue successful STEM-related careers, including funding for programs that foster STEM interest in girls and young women.

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Fiscally Moderate Policy

I am interested in bringing a fiscal responsibility to the public sector, something I have talked about “providing services cheaper, faster, better” ever since I got elected to office. Without increasing taxes, we can improve government efficiency and deploy a data-driven approach to public sector decision making and optimizing our spend. Let us stop the wars and put the money to use in America. We have to think big, but can we create corporate efficiencies in the public sector? Yes, we can!

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Backyard Crime Meeting Backyard Crime Meeting

Burglaries and Safety

During my first term on the Saratoga City Council I focused upon rising crime in our city. By rolling out a series of innovative measures our burglaries dropped by almost 50%. But crime continues rising in almost every part of Silicon Valley. Residential burglaries and car break-ins have become a common occurrence. As your congressman, I will continue to reduce crime in your city, deliver federal resources to alleviate the crime challenge while collaborating actively with our local elected officials.

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Senior Citizens & Ageism in the Workforce

As a city councilmember, I supported Saratoga’s designation as a “Age Friendly city”. I will continue to support our seniors in Congress. I will adopt a long-term-care policy to address the largest unfunded liability of the Baby Boom Generation as they age. I will roll out federal policies and programs through the lens of ageism and prevent age-based discrimination in the workplace such as updating the Family and Medical Leave Act to allow benefits to help those caring for an older relative.

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Innovation Economy

I’m running for Congress because I’m tired of seeing career politicians who don’t understand Silicon Valley’s innovation economy. How can we handle the rigors and prepare our workforce for an autonomous economy built upon Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning? My professional experience is in Silicon Valley’s software industry as a business and technology leader. I understand what it takes for Silicon Valley innovation to succeed and the gains to spread to our middle class and working-class families. The very future of America is at stake. Silicon Valley must lead the charge with its cutting-edge technology and prepare the next generation to succeed in a 21st century economy. The very future of American success and prosperity is at stake. The stakes are too high to fall behind. We need to create a system that delivers Silicon Valley’s innovation prowess to other parts of California and America.

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Housing and Transportation

Our rush hour commute time goes up every year while local laws are being threatened in order to build new housing by any means. I believe that Housing and Transportation are “two sides of the same coin”. We say “Build, buid, build” when it comes to housing. Is anyone thinking about our infrastructure needs? The traffic logjam? How about our quality of life impacts? Our jobs continue to grow, but so do our housing prices. Workers are commuting from far away cities, coping with income inequality, congestion and other sustainability challenges. Our millenials are leaving Silicon Valley. Families with young children are also leaving the valley. As per a recent Silicon Valley Leadership Group report, a net 165 left the valley in 2017 in comparison to a net 1990 who made our valley their new home in 2015. Do we really need to feel the pain that other urban areas of the world are dealing with due to poor urban planning? We need a vision and a well architected urban plan. I will work towards a federal transportation vision; the very future of Silicon Valley’s innovation economy is at stake. A Mega Silicon Valley vision that seeds Silicon Valley's success, and a startup economy in other parts of California and America will help California and our country’s economic success. This will also allow expanded housing options enabled with high speed transportation. No, we are not talking about bullet train or railroad transportation. We have to innovate with eco-friendly energy efficient, noise-free and pollution-free transportation options. Yes, we have to wholistically consider Silicon Valley’s needs with housing, transportation and supporting infrastructure.

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Climate Change

I support the Green New Deal. I believe that Climate Change is the most urgent imperative of our time and we have to take firm, data-driven action to roll back the impact of climate change. We have to wean the United States from fossil fuels and curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions across our planet and in the workplace. We must plant more trees. I am serious about protecting the environment and that is why I am a vegetarian practitioner with no meat or eggs in my diet and milk as needed. We must promote and create jobs in a clean-tech economy. We need a plan as global temperatures continue to rise and the world is headed for more intense heat waves, wildfires and droughts. We need to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 or even earlier. Clean air, chemical free food and water standards are a basic necessity of America. We need investments in policies and projects that would change the way we design buildings, travel and eat.

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Big Money and Politics

Corporate greed and Super PACs have exerted their influence into our political system. The voice of the American people is not being heard by our legislators. The American people see our government only open to large contributors and lobbyists, rather than working directly for them. Our elected leaders should not be bought and sold by the big money and make life impacting decisions under their influence. Our elected leaders should demonstrate a citizen-centric value system and restore trust into our democracy. I will work to remove the big money influence on American politics. That is why I have taken a pledge to refuse Special Interest Groups and PAC campaign contributions.

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Water Infrastructure

I will continue to protect the people of Silicon Valley from super high water rates. When we conserve water, our water rates should NOT go up. How can we build a future plan to address the growing population needs of the Bay Area? An infrastructure plan has to be in place.

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Open Space

I am invested to be a good steward to preserve and protect our precious resources, water, air, open space and making environmentally sound choices. I am against the development of the Cargill Salt Water site property, which was once underwater and part of San Francisco Bay a century ago before it was diked for salt-making. The Stanford development project demands caution and we have to address mitigation plans with traffic and housing.

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Education

As an immigrant engineer, I understand the value of education and how a strong foundation of education positions us for future success. Education is the fundamental component of American success. I will support the expansion of early childhood education during the formative years. I will expand vocational, career & technical education, while making public colleges much more affordable. I will also propose programs that will provide an opportunity for our high school graduates to be productive in the American workforce, and addressing the needs of the local economy. The United States education is lagging behind many countries of the world. We have to fix that. I was on the California Computer Science Implementation Panel that is rolling out a K-12 Computer Science curriculum to go live by 2022. As a Silicon Valley techie, I continue to run an entrepreneurship education and robotics bootcamp to empower our youth with STEM. I will continue promoting STEM and entrepreneurship education opportunities for American citizens. As your congressman, I will work to make education accessible and available.

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Immigration Policy

Separating a child from their parents at our border is wrong and I will do my best to prevent such happenings in our country. As an immigrant, I believe our diversity is the strength of our nation. I will fight to protect immigrant rights ensuring that we have a fair and just system. I will strive to address any ongoing issues with our H1-B visa program to restore it to its original intent, protecting all workers from systemic abuses by profit-driven companies, and increasing the pool of H1-B category visas for the best talents and high-skilled foreign workers that will further America’s economic success. I support immigration visa reform, including HR 1044, that will increase opportunities for qualified individuals to take steps towards permanent residency in a speedy manner.

Wellness and Happiness

America has become a work-driven culture and a nation that is on the go. More so here in Silicon Valley where it becomes increasingly difficult to strike that work/life balance and stress levels impact our health adversely. I will work towards incorporating policies for a healthier living that includes best practices integrated into our daily lives while embracing the tenets of nonviolence as a way of life, promoting cooperation and collaboration amongst our fellow citizens with mutual respect, trust and self-restraint. I will promote a corporate work culture that will keep families and communities together and elevate the happiness index of Silicon Valley and our country. This is very much an integral component of my agenda as a Saratoga Councilmember - to build a happier, safer community with neighbors connecting, communicating and collaborating. I will continue to build a vibrant, connected and happier community.

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Pluralism in America

I believe in a diverse and pluralistic American society that follows the principles of the First Amendment. I believe that the multi-cultural melting pot makes America stronger, successful, and vibrant. As your congressman, I will work to ensure that the United States remains cohesive and our diversity of thoughts leads to unity and not division. My upbringing as a Hindu, follows the Gandhian “Hinduism is a philosophy of life”, and the all-inclusive Vasudaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one connected family) approach. Leading with the ‘One Connected Family’ as my guiding principle, I have worked very hard to make Saratoga a strong, close-knit, and collaborative community that brings all our neighbors together to elevate the happiness index of Saratoga while collaborating to solve some of the toughest challenges. I follow the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, respecting and embracing differences, and nonviolent conflict resolution - both as a creed and strategy. My K-12 education was in a Jesuit school and I regularly visited the church on campus, while also visiting mosques, synagogues and gurudwaras with an openness based on the accepting culture of Bombay where I grew up in. I do not believe in any form of hate against any group including LGBTQ and religions/communities. I am against phobia such as Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Sikhphobia, Hispanophobia, or Hinduphobia. My policies in Congress will be driven by the philosophy that every group and religious entity strengthens and improves our society.

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