Rishi Kumar, current Saratoga city councilmember in his second term, is running against incumbent Anna Eshoo in the upcoming general election and his prospects look great. His tech heritage, political branding and a track record for getting things done has resonated tremendously with district voters. Polling in August conducted by Rishi’s team shows incumbent Anna Eshoo polling at 35% – a huge drop from her norm of 72%. Rishi refers to his run for Congress as an ethics-in-politics run, calling attention to the corruption and failures of Congress. Rishi brings people-centric leadership – always committed to genuinely helping people.
Rishi’s success lies in applying the innovative tech and results-driven approach. He has always focused on real pragmatic solutions – not “activity for the sake of activity” – along with a steadfast abhorrence of government corruption and inefficiency. His time to shine occurred during his first term on the city council when he took on challenges that were found daunting by others – such as tackling rising water utility rates and rising crime – delivering clear results. Time and time again, he has stepped up during various crises and tackled them with equanimity and energy – always delivering to his community.
When a dramatic upswing of burglaries in Saratoga threatened the peace and safety of Rishi’s constituents, he sprang into immediate action. Launching a coordinated effort with community leaders and neighbors, Rishi’s inclusive 59 neighborhood watch programs and safety framework covered much of the city – leading to a net reduction in burglaries by 47%! This was a historical drop for Saratoga and unsurpassed by no other surrounding city. He established a broadly applicable 25-point safety protocol that provided practical crime deterrents. Rishi also developed a playbook for neighborhood block parties and surveillance systems – allowing neighbors the opportunity to connect, communicate and collaborate. The bonhomie of neighbors continues today, while burglaries remain low.
Rather than meekly acquiescing to the unreasonable water rate hikes of San Jose Water Company, Rishi championed the struggle against corporate greed. He organized innovatively run protests and united a coalition of community activists. Developing a mobile app to combat the company’s underhanded rate hike attempts, Rishi engineered a resilient strategy that proved continuously successful. SJWC attempts to impose their water rates have failed nine times already saving a million residents hundreds of dollars on their water bill. Rishi has accomplished something that had never been tried before and delivered results.
During the lightning strikes fire of August 2020, with dramatic waves of fires ravaging homes, Rishi jumped into action sending frequent updates to the district and providing available resources for evacuated residents. He assisted local displaced residents with accessing hotel accommodations, his actions were swift and urgent compared to the incumbent congressional representative he was challenging. Rishi developed a comprehensive fire safety plan for the coast to ensure mitigation of future fire related disasters.
In late July earlier this year, a group of Saratoga High School Band members – including students, families, and chaperones, found themselves unexpectedly stranded in Prague on tour. Lufthansa airline had not only canceled their return flight due to “bad weather” but was seemingly unable to produce an alternative booking before September. This elevated the stress for students, chaperones and parents who would be missing weeks of school and work respectively while trapped in a foreign country. Many text messages were directed to Rishi from Prague and he leaped into action. Rishi led efforts to bombard Lufthansa with emails from Saratoga residents exhorting Lufthansa to organize a flight for stranded minors. He also engaged various TV newsrooms that spotlighted the failures of Lufthansa and the stress upon parents who were waiting for their children to get back safely. In less than a day, Rishi’s efforts resulted in Lufthansa suddenly providing a charter flight, much to the relief of the anxious Saratogans. The students arrived safely back.
The pandemic especially was a crisis of mammoth proportions where the world was reeling. Rishi had just won the primary election (March 2020), but with the pandemic uncertainty he immediately suspended his campaign. And the pandemic revealed what makes our community special — our collective resolve to help each other. When the COVID-19 crisis hit, Rishi immediately repurposed his grassroots volunteer organization to help our neighbors. “For me, it was a very easy decision. Time to help!”
Once the initial outreach proved successful, the Rishi Kumar for Congress campaign organized an official team to continue providing what was needed most – community assistance. It was called the Neighborhood Pandemic Preparedness Team (NPPT), modeled after the Neighborhood Safety Watch program, engaging new volunteers in every city within the district and empowering a new set of neighborhood leaders to take charge and help their communities get through the pandemic.
Rishi’s first task was to reach out to the senior citizens of our district – calling 86,000 seniors – during an unprecedented shelter-in-place order to ensure that all their needs were met by the NPPT team — whether it was picking up prescriptions, delivering groceries, or supplying them with masks. NPPT volunteers also started sending emails and walking from door to door, leaving flyers informing residents of their willingness to help. Others even pulled out their sewing machines to make masks* for medical professionals fighting the pandemic on the front lines.
There was considerable misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, and Rishi’s campaign helped to combat uninformed pseudoscience with daily newsletters. Rishi held over 23 town hall meetings with healthcare professionals, stimulus package experts, college admission counselors, and more calling it “Reality Check with Rishi.” These town halls provided career advice for those laid-off and bereft of answers, information to local businesses regarding PPP/EIDL loan applications and how to leverage the stimulus package, and college admissions counseling to parents and students who were worried about a post-COVID-19 world. Rishi even launched shelter-in-place coding programs in order to maintain standards of education for children in a drastically unprepared school system.
“I am so proud of what we accomplished together,” reflects Rishi. Hundreds of NPPT members have helped thousands of residents so far. We called all 86,000 seniors living in our district to ensure that everyone received assistance. Many volunteers were young high school and college students who generously devoted their time and energy to the program. Together, the volunteers have proven how much we genuinely care about seeing our communities succeed during these trying times.
Rishi considers his impromptu shift in focus to the pandemic to be a resounding success: “I am emboldened by this opportunity to truly serve and be of help. My primary responsibility will always be the constituents of this district, and I look forward to collaborating with you as we take on the tough challenges.”
Tough times demand tough leaders who take action! With such a track record, Rishi’s anticipated win in November would mean the district residents would have Rishi’s engagement, energy and enthusiasm in doing the utmost to help people in a crisis.