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November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 18

Photo of Rishi Kumar

Rishi Kumar

Councilmember/Hi-Tech Executive
126,750 votes (36.8%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Address the Covid-19 challenges: We have a clear vision, a plan and the energy to address our COVID-19 challenges, grow our economy, reduce the cost of healthcare and fix the traffic, housing and homelessness challenge on hand.
  • Creating jobs and growing our innovation economy. My professional experience in Silicon Valley’s software industry as a business and technology leader has provided me an inside view of Silicon Valley’s innovation economy.
  • Housing, Transportation and Homelessness is the current Silicon Valley challenge. https://rishikumar.com/Mega-Silicon-Valley-Op-Ed-21-minutes-or-less-between-21-counties

Experience

Experience

Profession:Councilmember of Saratoga / Hi-Tech Executive
Vice President ...Advisory Board, Software Analytics and Vertical Strategy, Solix Technologies (2017–current)
Senior Product Manager, Cisco Systems (2013–current)
Councilmember (2nd term), City of Saratoga — Elected position (2014–current)
Vice President, Business Development, Smart Energy Water Inc (2015–2017)
Senior Director, Cloud Services, Imaginea Technologies (2014–2015)
Various, IBM (1998–2013)

Education

University of Connecticut M.S, Mechanical Engineering (1995)

Community Activities

Executive Board Member (AD28) Third term: 2013, 2015 and 2019, California Democratic Party (2013–current)
Delegate, California Democratic Party (2013–current)

Biography

Rishi Kumar is an American Patriot, a fiscally moderate Democrat, the first serious challenger to Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA 18) in the last 28 years. Rishi is running a strong grassroots campaign with thousands of volunteers from 28 states and has raised more campaign funds than any other past challenger - every dollar raised from people, NOT PACs or Special Interest Groups. Rishi is the first Democratic challenger to make it past the primary election in the last 28 years of this district. Rishi emerged top-two, with a total of five candidates running in the March 2020 California Primary election. Rishi does not believe in playing partisan politics, but believes in problem solving - not LEFT, not RIGHT, but FORWARD.

A Silicon Valley hi-tech software executive by profession, Rishi found his calling as a community organizer stepping up for the tough challenges. As a Saratoga City council member, Rishi demonstrated independence with his viewpoints, bringing strong people-centric values, challenging the system, not afraid to be the dissenting vote. He stood up against San Jose Water and succeeded in successfully pushing back 8 rate increase proposals for a million people. He took on crime in Saratoga, holding over 100 neighborhood meetings to mobilize neighborhood watch programs and engage new leadership. Under Rishi’s diligence, burglaries in Saratoga fell by 41%. Rishi’s re-election bid led to his win with the most votes in Saratoga’s election history.

When the COVID crisis began, Rishi immediately suspended campaign activities to launch the Neighborhood Pandemic Preparedness Team (NPPT). This team called 86,000 seniors offering help with groceries, prescription medicine pickup, dropping off food boxes for seniors and sewing masks. Three town hall meetings a week were conducted during the shelter-in-place on the topics of healthcare, small business stimulus, youth issues, including college and career topics.

As a person of color, Rishi believes that if you are lucky enough to do well, it's your responsibility to send the elevator back down. Rishi has championed the issues of the disadvantaged communities of Silicon Valley, seeking to bridge the income gap that has widened. Rishi launched the no-charge Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for youth across Silicon Valley, benefitting thousands of disadvantaged students, a pathway to empowerment and learning from STEM. Teaming up with San Jose’s Mayor Sam Liccardo, Rishi launched this program in many disadvantaged neighborhoods of San Jose. Rishi has also hosted the no-charge Lego Robotics Bootcamp for many years and launched summer no-charge bootcamps to teach robotic design and programming. As a member of the California Computer Science Strategic Implementation Panel, a California Department of Education initiative, Rishi has helped roll out a K-12 Computer Science curriculum for every K-12 Public School student in California, to go live in 2022. During the shelter-in-place, Rishi has organized hackathons and entrepreneurial boot camps for young students, providing online coding classes. His internship program today is providing valuable work experience for hundreds of high school and college students all over the country. RIshi believes that we can begin to provide opportunities to all youth, regardless of their family’s income level, we can begin to level the playing field.

Rishi is currently an executive board member and delegate of the California Democratic Party. He is a staunch supporter of Medicare for All, term limits, and removing big money, Special Interest and PAC money from politics. Rishi lives in Saratoga with his wife Seema, a networking industry professional, and their two sons.

 

Who supports this candidate?

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (3)

What programs or legislation, if any, would you support to help Americans of all ages to secure affordable health care?
Answer from Rishi Kumar:

There are over 30 million individuals in America who do not have adequate access to health insurance. Healthcare has become a significant burden for our working families, overshadowing any wage gains and becoming one of the primary causes of bankruptcies in the U.S. We must provide better, cheaper healthcare options for the people of America.

As your congressman, I will push for healthcare reform. I support Medicare for All. I support H.R 1384 and H.R 1046. I will push back against burgeoning healthcare costs and rising drug prices.

Big Pharma and health lobbyists have penetrated their way into our government. I have taken the pledge to not receive special interest money or PAC money and taken the “No Health Insurance and Pharma Money Pledge.”

Here is my plan for reducing healthcare costs:

·       Establish a single payer system. Many countries of the world have a high quality single payer system. America can, too!

·       Optimize our healthcare spending with preventive care and wellness options.

·       Invest in healthcare analytics and developing an Electronic Medical Record System.

·       Allow importation of  FDA approved drugs from outside USA

·       Establish fair pricing practices that are regulated by 3rd party entities for new drugs

·       Monitor and regulate against rampant annual price hikes

·       Ensure that payers are passing on rebates to patients

We need bold leadership and determination to solve our healthcare challenges. As your congressman, I will provide that leadership and make citizen-centric choices for the American people.

Describe an immigration policy that you would support if presented to the House of Representatives.
Answer from Rishi Kumar:

Immigrants are the strength of this country. It sickens me to see the human rights violations committed against them at the border, the atrocities of detention camps, and the cruel separation of families that follows deportation. Hearing of unconsented medical procedures upon migrant women in ICE detention centers is shocking! I will do my very best to prevent such abominations from occurring in our country. First and foremost, I will fight to protect immigrant rights in our justice system, and will help engrain them into our economy under an equitable and fair standing. To make immigration more effective, I will strive to address any ongoing issues with our H-1B visa program to restore it to its original intent, protecting all workers from systemic abuses by profit-driven companies, and increasing the pool of talented and high-skilled foreign workers that will further America’s economic success. We also need to help immigrants take essential steps towards becoming permanent residents. Immigrants are beneficial both socially and economically to America; we need immigration visa reform, including HR 1044, that will increase opportunities for qualified individuals to achieve permanent residency and citizenship in a timely manner.

What financing method(s) would you support to repair or improve roads, rails, ports, airports, the electrical grid, and other infrastructure in the U.S.?
Answer from Rishi Kumar:

As part of their plans to support economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, both the White House and congressional Democrats are working on major infrastructure packages. Financing models for such investment projects that would boost the economy should be private as well as public infrastructure. Improving and maintaining our crumbling infrastructure is an imperative for America, and more so today. But, I am not in favor of increasing taxes for this purpose. My mantra has always been providing services "cheaper, faster, better" and I have always done my utmost towards that as an elected leader of my city. For infrastructure financing, I would like to explore public-private partnerships to complement traditional funding. Silicon Valley's innovation economy benefits from tremendous ecosystem we have here. A thriving partnership between the public and private sectors would create a win-win, delivering new efficiencies and creating a robust model for investment in building and maintaining infrastructure. I am also interested to cut the inefficiencies in the public sector and make room for investment in America that will help our working families. I am not interested in regime change wars, but focusing our energies on definite a better future for Americans and our great country.

Who gave money to this candidate?

Contributions

Total money raised: $679,888

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

1
Rishi Kumar
$140,250
2
Employees of Apple
$11,400
3
Employees of Broadcom
$8,300
4
Employees of Software Engineer
$6,700
5
Employees of Kaiser Permanente
$6,600

More information about contributions

By State:

California 97.88%
Texas 0.75%
New Jersey 0.39%
Connecticut 0.27%
Other 0.70%
97.88%

By Size:

Large contributions (95.97%)
Small contributions (4.03%)
95.97%

By Type:

From organizations (0.20%)
From individuals (99.80%)
99.80%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. Millions are unemployed and have no health insurance. And as career politicians capitulate to partisan politics, they’ve sold out to special interests, are technologically illiterate, and have no interest  in addressing our challenges. These crises can no longer rest upon out of touch leaders who are not challenging, but exploiting the sacred cows.

America is at an inflection point. This election is about sending new energy and new leadership to Washington: someone ready to take on the tough post-COVID-19 challenges and deliver solutions for all Americans.

As a Saratoga city councilmember, hi-tech executive, and community organizer, I fought for the people by reducing burglaries and defeating eight San Jose Water Company rate hikes. During the pandemic, my campaign called 86,000 seniors, helping with groceries and medications. My community trusts my “getting things done” approach, which is why I was re-elected with the most votes in Saratoga’s history.

As your Congressman, I’ll prioritize America’s pandemic preparedness, growing our economy, and bringing manufacturing back for supply chain self-reliance, all while refusing money from PACs and special interests. I don’t believe in LEFT or RIGHT, but a FORWARD path of American prosperity.

I am glad to be one of a handful of candidates running for Congress who refuse PAC, and Special interest money. I will fight for the issues important to our families and our neighbors, not the special interest groups who influence agendas subverting the people agenda. We need to ensure any candidate who runs for office remains beholden to the people they serve, not special interest groups. We must eliminate the loopholes that allow millions of dollars into campaigns and sway elections.


Voters are tired of the same politicians and rhetoric without any meaningful progress. But with your trust, we can set America back on track. For our future, and for change, I humbly request your vote. https://rishikumar.com/priorities

Position Papers

A Mega Silicon Valley : A commute time of 21 minutes or less between 21 counties around Silicon Valley

Summary

A commute time of 21 minutes or less between 21 counties around Silicon Valley, providing affordable housing options and a megalopolis economy? Skyrocketing housing costs are pushing people farther away from their work. Our commute times have increased drastically, and people are losing precious time with their loved ones. Housing and transportation are two sides of the same coin. We say 'build, build, build' when it comes to housing, but the accompanying infrastructure needs and urban planning must be a foundation of such development. A cutting-edge, eco-friendly transportation system based on the Hyperloop technology to bring 12.2 million people living in the 21 counties of the Northern California Megaregion within a short commute of Silicon Valley jobs, would bring affordable homes within 21 minutes of valley workers. This will help spread the innovation economy to these 21 counties, while addressing Silicon Valley's problems of traffic congestion, affordable housing, homelessness and companies exiting the valley.

Remove Big Money from Poltics

Summary

Corporations and Super PACs exert far too much influence on our political system. The voices of companies and organizations with large sums overshadow the voices of American people.  In office I will work tirelessly to remove the undue power of big money and lobbyists, work to end Citizens United, and restore the focus on American governance back to the American public, where it should be.

Big Money in politics is subverting the interest of the American people. It is time for change! But can we change a corrupt system by taking its money? Our democracy is undermined by the ability of special interests who buy politicians. Given how our career politicians were unprepared to address the pandemic challenges playing partisan politics, and continue to respond to the lobbyists, the drum for change is beating even harder.  There is no argument: we need to overturn the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision today!

On the city council, I have consistently rejected land-developer money. It made it easier for me to respond to the people challenges without any undue influences. I will not change my stance on the influence of money in politics. From day one, I’ve said what every elected leader in America needs to say: no corporate PAC money, no special interests, no lobbyists. Because our democracy is best when it’s responsive to YOU, the American people.

 I have always been a grassroots worker, a problem solver and a community activist — and that is why I am running today. During the pandemic, I launched the Neighborhood Pandemic Preparedness Team (NPPT). We called 86,000 seniors helping them with groceries, medications, masks and more. During the pandemic and recent fires, hundreds of our volunteers helped thousands of neighbors who needed help.  I am not a career politician. I seek to address the  tough challenges we face, more so in a post-covid-19 world. I am a hi-tech executive who was re-elected to the Saratoga city council with the highest vote count in city history. As an elected leader, an engineer by education, I delivered strong results with a simple getting-things-done agenda.

 

I will fight for the issues important to our families and our neighbors, not the special interest groups. We need to level the playing field for people-centric policies that our country desperately needs to address the needs of the post-covid-19 world. Read Jon Sakoda’s tweet below.

"It took a pandemic and social unrest to get everyone to understand how important it is to have great elected officials at every level of government. Next time you are asked to vote, take it seriously. These roles are not just about politics - they can be a matter of life or death." - Jon Sakoda's  tweet from June 5th

Fix the Covid-19 challenges. Find the complete paper at RishiKumar.com

Summary

Covid-19 has turned our world upside down. Millions are unemployed and have no health insurance. And as career politicians capitulate to partisan politics, they’ve sold out to special interests, are technologically illiterate, and have no interest in addressing our challenges. America is at an inflection point. This election is about sending new energy and new leadership to Washington: someone ready to take on the tough post-COVID-19 challenges and deliver solutions for all Americans.

 

Pandemic Preparedness

A pandemic, bioterrorism, biowarfare have all become credible threats to our country. America is not battle-ready with a sound healthcare emergency preparedness plan for a crisis of any scale. We must develop a National Pandemic Preparedness Program, similar to the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), along with structured processes for communication and coordinating efforts between the government, private/public healthcare units and citizens in an emergency. 

Bring Manufacturing Back with AI/ML automation

For every dollar invested in manufacturing, another $3.60 is generated in the economy. American supply chain has a problem - systemic reliance on China. It is now a national defense issue to reform the U.S.Supply Chain, develop self-reliance. Americans have an exposure with serious deficiencies in the health and safety standards of China's pharmaceutical sector, including inconsistent and ineffective regulation by the Chinese Government. We have to identify critical supplies and bring the manufacturing back to America.

 

Massive Investment

Federal government’s research funding has dropped dramatically. We need to restore it to ensure that America continues our world domination with innovation. In the years leading to this historical pandemic existing healthcare, transportation, education, housing, and technological infrastructure have all been failing. We must invest in faster, cheaper mass transportation, zero greenhouse gas emission systems, as every urban economy has been impacted with traffic gridlocks that are impacting their long term sustainability. We must now prioritize Infrastructure Investment to drive Post-COVID-19 economic recovery. Broadband needs to become a utility to bridge the digital divide, as access to the Internet is often a key determinant of educational and economic opportunities. To speed up the economy reopening process, we must invest in a public, secure, Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system along with healthcare analytics.

 

 

   

Videos (4)

— January 28, 2020 Kumar for Congress 2020

 

Today we have big challenges! American voices are being drowned out by dark money in politics. Disengaged elected leaders are crippling our system. But I can champion change. We fearlessly challenged unjust rate increases of San Jose Water Company. We dropped burglaries by 41%... more than any Silicon Valley city. I was humbled to be re-elected with the most votes in city history.

Not all Democrats are the same. This race is about an incumbency of 28 years, who chairs the House Health Subcommittee, is the #1 recipient of Pharma money in Congress, and has passed legislation to increase drug prices. This race is about a “lobbyist-driven”  congress that is technologically illiterate.

 Versus me …..who has pledged to NEVER accept special Interest money, bringing a people-centric agenda, tech expertise and a “getting things done” approach.

This race is about addressing our challenges with housing, homelessness, and transportation logjams, while promoting Medicare for All, Green New Deal and removing big money from politics. We need bold leaders who will courageously forge a new path. I will work hard FOR PEOPLE, NOT SPECIAL INTERESTS. Vote for Rishi Kumar on March 3rd.

— January 28, 2020 Kumar for Congress 2020

How about a commute time of 21 minutes or less from anywhere to anywhere in the 21 counties around  Silicon Valley, expanding the current Seconomy, while addressing our housing and homelessness challenge?How can we address the core challenges that we see today with housing, transportation and homelessness, based on a foundation of a radical transportation system seeding our innovation economy in many parts of California outside Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley is the 19th largest economy of the world but has been currently impacted with quality of life challenges. This is leading to an exodus of people to other cities that promise a better quality of life. How about a Mega Silicon Valley Region built around Silicon Valley’s innovation success with high speed transportation, expanding economic opportunity and providing an affordable housing opportunity for all? The Northern California Mega Region comprised of 21 counties -- including the Bay Area, Sacramento Area, Northern San Joaquin Valley, and Monterey Bay Area - a 12.2 million population.
Silicon Valley’s economic and innovation success will certainly fit well with these counties, while providing much needed affordable housing on the backs of a cutting-edge eco-friendly transportation systems such as the hyperloop operating at top speed of 760mph. 

— October 26, 2020 RIshi Kumar for Congress 2020

Big Money in politics is subverting the interest of the American people. It is time for change!

But we can't change a corrupt system by taking its money. There is no argument: we need to overturn the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision today! Our democracy is undermined by the ability of special interests who buy politicians and elections by spending hundreds of millions of dollars in support of the candidates of their choice. Given how our career politicians were unprepared to address the pandemic challenges, and continue responding to the lobbyists, the drum for change is beating even harder.

I refuse PAC and Special Interest Group money. Will you support my efforts in eliminating Citizens United and deliver a new people-centric value system for the American people?

— October 25, 2020 Kumar for Congress 2020

These endorsement videos are making a strong statement. But, why are residents of our district supporting Democratic candidate Rishi Kumar. councilmember of Saratoga and hi-tech executive for? Here are 3 simple reasons:
#1 Rishi Kumar is running for United States Congress to better the lives of everyone who call Silicon Valley home. Rishi cares!
#2 Rishi  has taken the pledge to reject PAC money and Special Interest Group money. That is why the people of our district are supporting Rishi's people-centric agenda and trust that he will put their interests first, not lobbyists*
#3 Rishi is keenly interested and invested to solve the big challenges of the people, not the special interests

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