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The 2022 Candidate Forum - Eshoo & Kumar

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October 2022 Candidates Forum

Opening Statement: What specifically qualifies you to be the congressional representative of District 16?

Rishi's Response:
Thank you Eleanor, thank you League and all our attendees who have joined us today. It’s an absolute honor to be here today.

We’re going to win, because my run is about Ethics in Politics. Our district is ready for change! In 2020, we won more votes than any challenger in decades.

With my opponent polling at an all-time low of 35% — more at RishiKumar.com — we’re poised to win.

There are no Republicans in this race — just the two of us. And here’s the truth: we simply cannot address today’s challenges if we keep electing the same people and same ideas that have failed us for 30 years. Here is why you should vote for me:

  • I’m the only candidate who rejects donations from corporations & special interest groups, including Big Pharma. I’m also pushing for integrity in politics and a ban on congressional insider trading.
  • I'm the only candidate who supports Medicare for All. I am the only one who will fight for our seniors by stopping the privatization of Medicare and expanding benefits to include vision- dental.
  • I’m the only candidate with roots in hi-tech — critical for Silicon Valley representation.
  • I’m the only candidate in this race who has a proven track record of getting things done, in a pragmatic, bipartisan way — this is why I was reelected with the highest votes in 64 years of my city.
  • I’m the only candidate in this race who fights for the people and wins. For example — I challenged San Jose Water stopping nine rate increases.
  • I'm the only candidate with a concrete plan to tackle Climate and protect women’s reproductive rights.

The drum is beating for change! Time to pass the torch. I would be honored to have your vote by Nov 8.

Closing Statement: What question do you wish had been asked tonight, why and how would you have responded?

Rishi's Response:
The topic of “Privatization of Senior Medicare” should have been asked.

Thanks again to the League for this engaging discussion. I really enjoyed it. I wish we had a question today on the privatization of Medicare, which is happening in our congressional district as we speak.

I am here to protect the healthcare of America’s seniors. 65 million seniors are in for a big surprise when they discover that Washington politicians have sold Medicare to the highest bidder. Anna Eshoo, who chairs the House Health subcommittee, has failed to sound the alarm and take corrective action.

Eshoo is not telling our seniors that Congress has worked to replace traditional Medicare with inferior plans designed to increase healthcare industry profits by denying seniors the care they need. The push to privatize Medicare continues today: on January 1, 2023, the new ACO REACH program goes live.

With this new program, seniors will be forced to deal with middlemen who manage care through for-profit businesses with incentives to restrict your care. These businesses will pocket billions of Medicare dollars not spent on patient care.

Many of Eshoo’s House colleagues and I are vehemently opposed to the privatization of Medicare, but not Eshoo. Many public interest organizations and Democrats in the House oppose ACO REACH. But Eshoo supports it! As chair of the House Health subcommittee, Eshoo has accepted more than $4 million from the healthcare industry. This conflict of interest is unacceptable. It is time for her to pass the torch. I would be honored to have your vote by November 8.

June 2022 Candidates Forum

Rishi's Opening Statement

Thank you to the League of Women’s Voters for hosting the 2022 Candidates Forum. In the next 10 minutes, I will outline the policy differences between myself and Anna Eshoo. We respect Anna Eshoo’s 44-year stint in political office. But it is time for new blood as there are urgent issues waiting to be addressed.

I would like to also thank everyone who supported my November 2020 general election run. In largely the same congressional district, we were honored to win 127,000 votes - better than any Eshoo challenger in the last 30 years, and we’re back this year for Victory!

The video of the November 2020 Candidate’s Forum where Congresswoman Eshoo and I vigorously outlined our policy differences can be found at RishiKumar.com/debate.

My Congressional run is about ethics in politics. I will NEVER sell out. America needs leaders with integrity and I’m ready to serve in the newly formed 16th congressional district.

America’s future is in jeopardy! America’s politicians stay too long, do little, while crime, gas prices & inflation spikes, our education system declines, and draconian mandates like SB-9 facilitate a historical California land grab- thanks to the nexus between politicians and land developers.

I will champion Medicare for All and legislate Roe (vs Wade).

I will push for term limits in Washington and refuse to accept PAC, Big Pharma, or special interest group money.

As a hi-tech executive, councilmember of Saratoga, and Mechanical Engineer by education, I have always rejected real-estate campaign money. I reduced crime, defeated many greedy San Jose Water Company’s rate hikes, stopped frivolous tax increases, appealed to the PUC to stop the gutting of California’s solar program, questioned HCD’s RHNA numbers and stopped massive development in a high fire-risk environmental zone.

I was humbled to be reelected with the most votes in 64 years of my city’s election history for tackling the tough challenges AND delivering results.

Our neighbors are telling me “We need new blood in public office.” I would be honored to earn your vote on June 7. I will always fight for YOUR interests, Never special interests. Visit RishiKumar.com

Question: What role, if any, should the government play in helping Americans gain health insurance?

A Huge role! Our healthcare is expensive and is one of the reasons why so many Americans go bankrupt every year. I will champion Medicare for All. America needs it but unfortunately Anna Eshoo has failed to support Medicare for All despite almost every other member of congress in the Bay Area supporting it.

She chairs the House Health Subcommittee but here is the conflict of interest - she is the #1 recipient of Pharma money in the U.S. House - and has sadly pushed for legislation to increase prescription drug prices, - even going against President Obama.

Eshoo has claimed credit for many bills like Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, but she did not legislate them - she has sponsored only 4 bills - which are trivial in scope compared to these monumental bills. Visit RishiKumar.com/ReportCard for the details.

Eshoo misleads us by saying that she supports “Universal Healthcare” - I am not sure what exactly it is. But one thing is clear, she doesn’t support Medicare for All. Eshoo has referenced voting for bills as a key accomplishment but that’s the bare minimum. Her leadership with critical issues of today has been lacking and she has failed to legislate. Compare her to other newbies in Congress right here in the Bay Area who have done many monumental bills already.

Question: What is your view of the Digital Services Act just passed by the European Union? Should we consider such services?

The EU has been forced to protect data privacy of their citizens because our Silicon Valley congressional Rep. Anna Eshoo has failed to be in front of these challenges - these tech companies they are regulating are here in our congressional district. I have watched our Washington Congressional tech hearings become spoof videos on YouTube, and unfortunately our Congress has failed to protect our American people and find solutions. Big Tech shouldn't be allowed to hide behind Section 230. Silicon Valley tech thrives upon profits as a motivation, but they should also be good world citizens - that is the call to action. As a tech executive, I have the context and the background to find real outcomes that will protect residents and their children’s data privacy, and address the social dilemma issues. Visit RishiKumar.com/tech for details

Question: How would you use your federal position to address local issues such as the housing crisis? What resources would you use to address the housing crisis?

Housing is a giant decades long problem of California, but the Sacramento approach is flawed - blanket legislation like SB-9, SB-10 and SB-35 is just a great California land grab, trojan-horsed as affordable housing, and only profits land developers. High-density housing with disregard to infrastructure is bad urban planning and will eventually lead to huge tax increases. Read my position paper at RishiKumar.com/ManagedGrowth.

Eshoo has been missing in action regarding this crisis for the last thirty years and we are facing an exodus. We need affordable housing near jobs and transportation, not poor urban planning that destroys residential neighborhoods, open spaces, and our precious coastal assets.

Question: What more can Congress do to combat climate change?

Climate change is a ticking time bomb and we need urgent action. Review my detailed climate policy at RishiKumar.com/climate. Silicon Valley needs to rollout clean-tech innovation, founded upon the Green New Deal. We need to ensure that we are adopting fast acting solutions like ocean photosynthesis with algae farming or Direct Air Carbon Systems, not JUST planting trees that take decades. At the 2020 Candidate’s Forum we debunked Eshoo’s claims of climate legislation as a cosponsor of the Green New Deal. The Green New Deal had hundreds of cosponsors, but we are yet to see an original climate bill from her. Eshoo supported fossil fuel subsidies by voting in favor of H.R 4447. Not good. I will treat the climate agenda with urgency!

Question: How concerned are you about how polarized our country has become? Is our democracy at risk? What plans do you have to guarantee our democratic future?

Unfortunately, our country today is very polarized and cities/ neighborhoods are divided. Some of our neighbors fear a civil war is brewing. Our politicians, media, tech companies are responsible in some way as they pander to their political bases or ideologies. We need to come together to solve the challenges that lie ahead. We are NOT the Blue States or the Red States, we are the United States. Visit RishiKumar.com/Bipartisanship

Question: How would you address the economic pressures facing America? Gas prices and economic inflation are big issues.

Unemployment fraud during the pandemic was estimated at $400 billion. What a colossal waste of our taxpayer dollars. It seems there is no accountability in government. Why not use software algorithms to flag such fraud? If only a Silicon Valley Congressional Rep had led the way. We need fiscal best practices in every strata of government - especially in Washington. We absolutely need to reduce our deficit and come up with fiscal approaches grounded in economic principles. Visit my policy page RishiKumar.com/Inflation.

We’ve also got to restore the integrity of our supply chain and bring manufacturing- jobs back home. Renegotiate trade agreements. We need to alleviate this energy crisis by opening up new energy sources and even grab market share. Eshoo has no plan for this and in fact has voted in favor of every trade agreement that has led to American jobs leaving our country. I will bring them back as your Congressional Rep..

Question: In light of the recently leaked Supreme Court document regarding Roe v. Wade, what would you do if you were in Congress?

Reproductive rights and Medicare for All go together. I champion both and will push to codify Roe (vs wade). Anna Eshoo has failed to legislate and is against Medicare for all. She has failed to champion Women’s Rights - she has voted against protection from sexual assault in the military. She voted against Fosta-Sesta. Actions speak louder than words. Review her voting record at RishiKumar.com/ReportCard.

Question: What support can you bring to BART, high speed rail, highways, and related infrastructure?

High speed rail has been promised for decades and it still isn’t here. VTA’s Light Rail has the poorest ridership and is bleeding cash every day. I was transferred by IBM to Silicon Valley from Michigan during the dot com boom in 2000. Traffic was a mess and it still is today and there is no plan in sight! My plan is to make public transportation a more viable option - Find my plan at RishiKumar.com/traffic.

I respectfully draw attention to Norm Mineta’s contributions - he was such a force! Co-authored several landmark transportation laws - in comparison to Eshoo who has been missing! We’ve ignored bumper to bumper traffic for thirty years here. We need vision and action!

Question: What will you do specifically to make coast side constituents feel represented? How will you deal with issues such as coastal erosion, beach overcrowding, and other issues specific to this area?

Coastal residents urgently need a California fire insurance plan to help homeowners whose insurance has been canceled - I will push for it. Look at my Fire Safety policy for the coastal community at RishiKumar.com/FireSafety. Some of our coastal neighborhoods have flooded frequently for decades. The threat of debris flow is real. Now places like Half Moon Bay are anticipating a huge population growth. I won’t ignore the Coast and have already made many trips there meeting with hundreds of neighbors on topics such as the Rockaway Quarry in Pacifica. Visit RishiKumar.com/Coast for details

My next town hall meeting happens to be in Pacifica - please RSVP at RishiKumar.com/MeetRishi and join me. I would love to meet you.

Rishi's Closing Statement

It is an honor to be running for Congress and it will be my honor to have your vote.

I am excited about this opportunity - a hard fought 127,000 votes in November 2020, and with your support we’ll win together on June 7

It is time Silicon Valley had a Congressional Representative who understood things like data privacy, crypto currency and the AI/ML automation economy. We respect Anna Eshoo’s long stint, but she has failed to legislate and the world needs new leadership, a new energy and a getting-things-done approach.

I am ready to serve. I would be honored to earn your vote by June 7. Visit RishiKumar.com

October 2020 Candidate’s Forum Overview

Candidates Forum Summary

Yes, the Candidates Forum was the culmination of 20 months of our grassroots campaign of a thousand volunteers, over 50 town hall meetings, over 100,000 doors, and a million phone calls, engaging diligently with Silicon Valley’s challenges. The contrasting tale of two candidates at the Candidates Forum was stark; apparent were the lack of accomplishments and the out-of-touch nature of the failed 28-year incumbency of Rep. Eshoo.

How did it fail? 4 bills in 28 years! We looked at Rep. Eshoo’s ballot statement over the last 28 years. The primary and general election ballot statements. There were no accomplishments mentioned! There is a reason why Rep. Eshoo never talks about her accomplishments. Her weekly updates have lines such as, “ I voted for this, I co-sponsored this.” That is because Rep. Eshoo has a whopping 4 bills that turned into law in her 28 years. Two bills renamed a post office and federal building. Another redesignated a month as National Scleroderma Awareness Month and the 4th modified provisions to determine payments at children’s hospital. Yes inconsequential 28 years.

On healthcare, I identified the “elephant in the room.” Rep. Eshoo chairs the House Health Subcommittee, is the #1 recipient of Pharma money ($1.8M) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and has sponsored legislation to increase our healthcare costs. Rep. Eshoo claimed she accepts (PAC) money “for campaign signs and stamps”. $785,700 is a lot of money for signs and stamps! Rep. Eshoo did not state the truth. She gives away money to DCCC - find the details below. We have refuted the many endorsements of Rep. Eshoo, especially her A-rating from End Citizens United.

On the raging California wildfires, Rep. Eshoo said that California’s fire plan has not been updated for 100 years. Seemingly, she’s made no strides to address this life-threatening challenge. I articulated a clear plan for solving this problem, which includes forest management and fighting the climate crisis.

On transportation, Rep. Eshoo discussed bringing the high-speed rail to Silicon Valley. This project has already failed! I discussed a new vision — the “21 minutes, 21 counties” plan to address the valley’s challenges with housing, traffic, and homelessness while expanding our economy.

Tech is one of the core reasons I’m running: I’m tired of career politicians who don’t understand Silicon Valley’s innovation economy. I pointed out Rep. Eshoo’s failures with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s misuse of people’s data — with Facebook located in our Congressional district. As a valley hi-tech executive, I have the perspective of what it takes for Silicon Valley’s economy to prosper in a post-Covid-19 world.

My run seeks to bring ethical integrity into politics by NEVER accepting PAC money or Special Interest Group money. I bring a result-driven outcome to challenge the Washington status quo and divisive partisan politics. America is ready for a new leadership.

Highlights from the Candidates Forum

Yesterday was a tremendous honor for me! A proud moment to be on our political system’s Candidates Forum stage; representing a people-centric agenda, expressing some very original thoughts devoid of partisan politics. We sifted through flamboyant talk and smoking mirrors, to point out the fiction and myth. The failures too!

We nailed it during the Candidates Forum! Our politicians of today game the system, mostly because people don’t pay attention and keep getting re-elected. It takes a serious challenger to discover, uncover and lay out the facts from the “throw dust into the eyes” fiction. This is what 3rd party entities have been talking about for years, but no one was paying attention. Read on…

We made some very good points throughout the hour-long discussion. Below is a summary.

POINT #1: At the candidate’s forum, Congresswoman Eshoo said she accepts PAC money (total $745,000) to pay for lawn signs and stamps. We take $0 from PACs and Special Interest Groups and are running a great campaign, powered by thousands of volunteers, for the last 18 months. As far as I know, Rep. Eshoo has not been campaigning a whole lot. Lawn signs cost ~$3000 and a stamp $0.55. We made a point, that politicians who respond to PAC money, ultimately respond to the PAC’s agenda. They are bought! I will NEVER be bought! On the city council, I rejected developer money. Politicians should do the right thing.

This is exactly the story playing out here in our district.

POINT #2: Congresswoman Eshoo was proud of her endorsements. Endorsements are hollow. We pointed out: Why would she get an A-rating from End Citizens United when she has accepted so much of this dark money? We have refuted almost all of Congresswoman’s endorsements here.

POINT #3: Congresswoman Eshoo was found very weak on Climate Change legislation — 3 weak bills in total that she did not sponsor, but ones that have not even put a ding into climate change. Rep. Eshoo said she cosponsored the Green New Deal. This is how politicians create the wow effect and have done not a whole lot. Cosponsorship does not mean much as we have 101 co-sponsors of this resolution. What original impactful bills were initiated by her? The original sponsor(s) of the bill — who innovate and construct the scope of a bill — typically try to get as many cosponsors to legitimize their support and move it to the next round.

POINT #4: On transportation, Congresswoman Eshoo said she will bring the high-speed rail to Silicon Valley. Really? Out of touch? We have a pragmatic vision plan that has been missing from Rep. Eshoo’s agenda and America so far.

POINT #5: A missing fire plan. What did Rep. Eshoo do as the elected leader? See below

Rep Eshoo’s 28 years — 4 bills

Rep. Eshoo has a whopping 4 bills that have turned into law in her 28 years in office. Two of Rep. Eshoo’s bills renamed a post office and federal building. Another designated a month as National Scleroderma Awareness Month. The fourth modified provisions to determine payments at children’s hospitals.
NOTE: The clear standard for success established in United States Congress for legislators is not co-sponsorship of bills, but bills that are sponsored “bills in your name”. You may recall that Rep. Mike Honda was found similarly lacking when Rep. Ro Khanna challenged him, that ultimately led to Rep. Ro Khanna’s upstart victory in 2016.

Rep. Anna Eshoo’s lack of legislative accomplishments is especially problematic considering what she missed out on. For example, under Rep. Eshoo’s watch, Facebook - located in our congressional district - harnessed private citizen data. Silicon Valley voters deserve a representative who understands when to step in to protect the people from a misaligned tech mission, or call out our challenges and propose solutions. But on the contrary, in 2009, she introduced legislation that favors Pharma, not people, giving pharmaceutical companies 12-year exclusivity periods for biologic drugs, beyond the length of their patents, to protect them from competition by the generic drug industry. The bill fortunately ‘died’ like many of her other bills.

Democrats don’t have the vote to pass anything because the Senate blocks everything? The argument is flawed. Rep. Eshoo was elected in 1992. Democrats controlled the 103rd (1993-1994) and 111th Congress (2009–2011) with majorities in both houses of Congress. That was the best time for Rep. Eshoo to legislate some solid bills. Unfortunately, we didn't see that. 28 years is a long, long time and 4 bills falls short.

Cosponsorship of bills should have some value, right? Rishi called it out: most of Rep. Eshoo’s work is a “tag along” and co-sponsorship. No, she has not exactly been the chief innovator by introducing bills that passed and became law. For example - Rep. Eshoo claimed cosponsorship of the Green New Deal at the debate. Senator Markey is the original sponsor and gets the majority of the credit. I pointed out that there were 101 co-sponsors of the Green New Deal. Notably, Senator Markey has introduced game changing legislations - since his days in the House.
Here is a comment from social media. “It seems like Ro Khanna with 3 years in congress has made 53 shots on goal trying to sponsor legislation -- and gotten 2 things passed. Anna Eshoo has sponsored 157 in 28 years of which 42 were only done this year (2019-2020) and gotten 4 passed. A lot of bills seem to have tens or even hundreds of co-sponsors, so co-sponsoring seems like a pretty easy thing to do. I think it's important to have representatives who generate ideas, try to build consensus around them, and get them passed, which is admittedly no easy feat.

As a Silicon Valley elected leader, with tech roots defining my “getting things done” approach, I have aspired to operate at a high level of excellence as an elected leader. I spend an incredible amount of time every week to make a difference. We focused our efforts for months to address the tough challenges and demonstrated results. This level of engagement with our community is the reason why I was re-elected with the most votes in city history. I treated my elected leadership role very seriously. Thousands of people had trusted me with their vote, and I couldn’t let them down. Silicon Valley tech has never been about activity for the sake of activity, but about results - in every domain. That is my DNA.

Question to ponder: What is the outcome of mediocrity in Silicon Valley?
The choice is ours.
Rep. Eshoo has not been a strong enough voice, and is even out of touch, on the important issues of today, and it’s time for change.
I would be honored to have your vote in this election.

Disingenuous about PAC money

An interesting fact was brought to my attention based on Rep. Eshoo’s response to a question at the Candidates Forum.
The person expressed great concern with the integrity that Rep. Eshoo brings as an elected leader, based on her response.
Rep. Eshoo in her answer to a question explained the money she accepts ($785,700 in PAC money) as needed for “signs and stamps.” Scroll down to find the video.

It is disingenuous to say one thing at the Candidates Forum, while the reality is something else.

The truth is her campaign funds are actually given away to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) as ‘rent money’ to keep the chair position. Watch the portion of the Candidates Forum here. My response is here.

If you follow this link, you will find $300k as “expenses” — donated to the DCCC. This is paid out to DCCC every year. Please read this Intercept report. It says it all.

NOTE: I will ALWAYS reject all PAC money, Special Interest Group money and dark money. That is the integrity that I seek to bring in politics. On the city council, I returned land-developer money to keep it simple.

Candidates Forum insights from our neighbors


  • Fires — Eshoo talks about no fire plan for 100-year but didn’t offer a solution to get one. The problem is government neglect and constraints by environmentalist.
  • Nomination of Barrett for Supreme Court — Eshoo doesn’t know her history or constitution on appointments.

Eshoo — What has she done that’s notable?

P.S. I’d think after 28-years, that Eshoo could finish a sentence without “ah…ah…” She talks about the problems but not her solutions.

INSIGHT #2 — Rep. Eshoo has depth?
She acted professionally and most people will not get that deep into her answers for lack of depth.

“Eshoo was clearly not prepared — presumed weak opponent. You came well positioned to articulate strong weakness / points /w justification/numbers. Which put you on top.”

INSIGHT #3 — Rep. Eshoo just follows Pelosi
I watched the Rishi/Eshoo Candidates Forum from start to finish. Congratulations to Rishi on a very strong performance! He clearly had a much firmer grasp on the facts than Anna. I made a donation to his campaign and I endorse Rishi’s candidacy.

In my research, I note that Anna votes with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time, unlike Ro Khanna and some other Democratic House members who think for themselves and occasionally vote differently. Anna seems to be nothing more than a ‘rubber stamp’ for Nancy rather than an independent thinker. You can see it here:

The Candidates Forum really shined a light on the difference between the candidates. Rishi was the winner

INSIGHT #4 — A Rep. Eshoo supporter switches side
I have voted for Anna Eshoo over and over again, and watching this Candidates Forum, I have to agree that Rishi was prepared and came out strong. I especially like his plans for unlocking the traffic gridlock pre-Pandemic, we all experienced-and once Covid-19 is over, will likely re-experience. With so many people at home and off the highways, it is too bad Rishi’s underground transportation system couldn’t be under construction right now. We do need some younger leaders with more innovative ideas. As my Saratoga City Councilman, Rishi Kumar has re-invigorated neighborhood watch programs, listened to countless residents concerning their immediate needs, organized our youth into activities that will prepare them for college and beyond, and follows up on his words, putting them into action. While I was fully prepared to send Anna back to Washington, Rishi’s answers during the Candidates Forum won me over.

Congratulations Rishi Kumar!

INSIGHT #5 — Rep. Eshoo’s failure with fire.
I have to agree with you that Anna Eshoo has become way to complacent. She did get the CNA (Critical Needs Assistance) filing cut-off from FEMA for our CZU wildfire extended one whole week. Most folks caught in the so-called “mandatory evacuation” thought they would end up in a sleeping bag at our County Fairgrounds, in Watsonville, (in the midst of COVID-19), so we went to our friends and relatives instead. Some went as far as Morgan Hill to stay in retail lodging, and were charged, but not reimbursed, by either where they were staying, or FEMA?

Many, many folks did not even know about the $500 grant for CNA, despite it being extended only a week, by Anna.

When they did find out, on the 13th of this month, it was already too late to file? FEMA is reputed to help those affected by natural disasters, and, with nearly 1,000 houses lost, one might erroneously hope for some help?

This problem was created by FEMA not reaching out and stating that $500 grants were available? Those worst affected were the elderly who have resided here for decades, who are already financially challenged, live where there is only dial-up access to the internet, or cannot make it to the library to get online? My 82 year old friend had problems with his old computer and missed the filing date by the time he sorted it out? My 78 year old friend got pushed out of filing because all she has is dial-up, and could not get to the library. Another mid 60’s long time resident did not even hear of it until after FEMA closed out filing?

This fire took so long to get some containment that many were stranded away from their places longer than the extended filing cut off? A September 12 cut off was ridiculous when so many were not even allowed back to still standing houses because there was no water, or no power, or trees blocked their access.

And even then, with burnt up cell towers, their phones were useless.

Should you communicate with Anna, would you be kind enough to let her know?

And prod her to get it reopened for a month?

Best wishes in your effort to replace Anna

Rep. Eshoo’s $785,700 for campaign signs and stamps

At this Candidates Forum, a question was asked as to how I would strengthen the democratic process. I stressed the pervasive influence of corporate money in politics (39:17), and reaffirmed my pledge to NEVER accept any money from PACs or Special Interest Groups, keeping the focus on people. I call it a “people-centric agenda.” This is the reason why I perhaps was the only elected leader from amongst 30 others who challenged San Jose Water Company — fighting these rate increases for 4 years now and have either reduced, rejected or suspended 8 rate increases.

During my response, I brought up Rep. Anna Eshoo’s campaign contributions from PACs — a total of $785,700. Rep. Eshoo tried to justify it: “I use the money for campaign signs, to send out messages, and to buy stamps.” Well, I do all that and more, with a team of a thousand volunteers, without accepting any PAC money. Yes, it is possible! This integrity is what I brought to my city council — I rejected all developer contributions. When PACs came calling last year after I announced my congressional run, I refused the meeting.

At the Candidates Forum, I also talked about the need to overturn Citizens United, and referenced Rep. Anna Eshoo’s A rating from End Citizens United, and how flawed it was, as she is the #1 recipient of pharmaceutical money in the United States House of Representatives, and has passed legislation that increases the price of our healthcare.

I invite you to please support my grassroots run that seeks to bring ethical integrity into politics by making a campaign contribution today.

Together let us make change happen in our district. We only accept campaign contributions from people like you and me.

I am against the political establishment that caters to the lobbyists over the people and I am keenly interested to roll back the power to the people, ensuring that every politician will bring a people-centric agenda to Washington. To meet the current challenges of the United States, I called for changes in Congress to reinvigorate our democracy and overcome the divisiveness and partisan politics in Washington.

At the Candidates Forum, I called out the urgency of restoring integrity to politics by purging the big money from our political system. We can handle our challenges with Covid-19, fires, economy, healthcare and more via changes to our political system and by electing the right leaders.

I provided an alternative vision: a resolve to challenge the status quo and end divisive partisan politics in Washington, along with tangible, people-centric policy solutions and a results-driven outcome. The time for new leadership — for real change — is now! America is ready!

This tweet by Jon Sakoda perfectly captures the state we are in today:

“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

Big Money in Politics

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.

Unlike my opponent Rep. Eshoo, 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?

Please support our run for the people by displaying our lawn sign. Make your request at here — our team will drop it off at your door. If you had displayed our lawn sign during the primary election (❤️🇺🇸 🙏🙏👊 👊🇺🇸❤️), time to display it again today for the next 75 days to November 3rd election day.

Help us fight the big money in politics by making a small contribution.

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo — my opponent this November — has expressed outrage against Citizens United. But it’s all a fashion statement. In a January 2015 press release, she wrote that Citizens United “cast a dark shadow over our democracy by bringing us dangerously closer to an electoral system where the voices of average Americans are easily drowned out by special interests, shadowy front groups, and a handful of billionaires.” And yet, she continues to accept hefty sums of PAC money and Special Interest Group money, most notably from large pharmaceutical companies; As the top recipient of donations from the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, Rep. Eshoo went against President Obama and passed laws that made it easier for Big Pharma to keep drug prices high.

But what is more interesting is that End Citizens United, the organization whose agenda is to purge big money from politics, gave an A rating to Rep. Eshoo. Is this how we want our system to work? Reward politicians for fashion statements?

After the Stanford Daily shared their concern for Rep. Eshoo’s ties to Big Pharma, Rep. Eshoo herself ADMITTED to receiving millions from the industry while justifying it. We don’t buy the justification.

It’s time to stop making excuses. I will not change my stance with this. 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.

As an elected leader, I believe in making fearless citizen-centric choices to address the top challenges of my community. I challenged San Jose Water company and have either reduced, rejected or impacted eight water rate increases. I will fight for the issues important to our families and our neighbors, not the special interest groups.

We must eliminate the loopholes that allow millions of dollars into campaigns and sway elections. We need to level the playing field for the citizen-centric policies that our country desperately needs to address the needs of the post-covid-19 world.

Rep. Eshoo’s high-speed rail to Silicon Valley versus Rishi Kumar’s transportation vision.

Apparently, a few of our neighbors have been speculating: “Rishi is a great councilmember. Yes, he won with the most votes in Saratoga’s election history, and solved some tough challenges. Yes, he understands tech as a tech executive. But is he ready for United States Congress? Is he ready to be “Congressman Rishi Kumar?” There were doubts! Yet they were overlooking that Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Dublin councilmember made the leap successfully replacing Rep. Pete Stark in 2012, right here in East Bay. They overlooked the fact that Rep. Ro Khanna, who had never won any political office or served in one, made the leap, beating Rep. Honda in 2016, right here in the adjoining congressional district. The world is ready for change, more so today!

All these lingering doubts were set to rest with the Candidates Forum!
The Candidates Forum made it clear that Rishi is ready — just watch 48:24). We were miles ahead in comparison to Rep. Eshoo on the issues, and on innovative, pragmatic ideas to solve our country’s tough challenges, with well-articulated policy positions. If you watch it for 10 minutes, it will be apparent to you. This was the first time Rep. Eshoo and I got to sit side-by-side (on zoom) and expound our positions.

But there were still doubts about Rishi — is Rishi ready?

The Candidates Forum made it clear (watch 48:24). We were miles ahead in comparison to Rep. Eshoo on the issues, and on innovative, pragmatic ideas to solve our country’s tough challenges, with well-articulated policy positions. If you watch it for just 10 minutes, it will be apparent to you. This was the first time Rep. Eshoo and I got to sit side-by-side (on zoom) and expound our positions.

It was ultra clear: There is a stark contrast between the two of us. Rep. Eshoo at the Candidates Forum talked about a high-speed rail to Silicon Valley. We all know that this is NEVER going to happen — this project has already failed. Whereas, what we discussed was an innovative vision plan — 21 minutes, 21 counties — that we have been talking about for years. Scroll down to find the details of this plan.

John Pimentel, a former deputy secretary for Transportation in California where he worked with the first California High-Speed Rail Commission in the early 1990, had this to say about the high-speed rail project. “Despite funding uncertainty, HSR started building the “Valley Line,” a 119-mile-long, conventional diesel-powered rail system that is impractical because it would connect the greater Wasco/Shafter metroplex (population 45,000) to Madera (population 61,000), and redundant because taxpayers already subsidize Amtrak’s underutilized Central Valley passenger rail system. There’s no hiding that this proposed Valley Line is a quintessential government white-elephant project. Each endpoint is 120 miles from its ultimate destination in San Francisco or Los Angeles with seismically active mountain ranges in the way, and it will demand massive operating subsidies. ….As a native of the Central Valley, I know economic development there is a laudable goal but selling bonds and paying interest to build a dysfunctional rail system is not a rational mechanism to create jobs there.

After 28 years of Rep. Eshoo, do you want the same old? The traffic jams are going to be back in the post-covid-19 world. Or do you need a “New Energy and New Leadership” to solve Silicon Valley’s challenges?

I invite you to please support my grassroots run that seeks to bring ethical integrity into politics by making a campaign contribution today. We are the only candidate in this race who rejects all PAC money and Special Interest Group money. We only accept campaign contributions from people like you and me. Together let us make change happen in our district.

Here is the question from the Candidates Forum
Question: Bay Area residents see traffic congestion and the lack of an integrated public transportation network as major problems; what is one innovative solution a member of Congress can implement to address this?

Contrast: I spoke about our pragmatic vision plan that has been missing from Rep. Eshoo’s traffic and transportation vision plan or ballot statements in 28 years. Silicon Valley’s population is shrinking. In 2017, there was a net loss of 3000 people who left Silicon Valley, compared to a net 24,000 that moved into Silicon Valley in 2015. If this continues, how will Silicon Valley continue to be the innovation capital of the world — with the loss of our young talent? My infrastructure plan for a more connected Silicon Valley known as 21 counties in 21 minutes, which involves utilizing tunnel-based high speed transportation, net zero greenhouse gas, to revolutionize transportation for Silicon Valley and California, is the answer to problems like traffic, housing, homelessness, and climate change. The plan will also expand our economy and create jobs in so many new pockets of California. An absolute win-win.

In comparison: Rep. Eshoo’s approach to address our traffic challenges — piecemeal, tactical approaches which are not taking us far — See this explanation on her ballot statement.

I provided an alternative vision: a resolve to challenge the status quo and end divisive partisan politics in Washington, along with tangible, people-centric policy solutions and a results-driven outcome. The time for new leadership — for real change — is now! America is ready!