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Rishi Kumar refutes Representative Anna Eshoo's endorsements

Rishi Kumar Portrait

Endorsements coerced, newspapers became tabloids

Dear neighbors,

This race has not been easy. When you challenge a 30-year Democratic incumbent, you tread on a road that is not traveled, and you are also an easy target. The establishment of Silicon Valley has cast aspersions, made up false rumors, and pressurized people to pull endorsements. Our lawn signs for example have disappeared — while other lawn signs next to ours are left untouched. Even news reports targeted us with “an axe to grind.” There were moles planted within my Fellowship program during the summer, who were taking our campaign data and twisting it around for nefarious purposes. We experienced constant NextDoor attacks! Nothing surprised me; this is exactly what I have been dealing with politically for years. In 2013, when I won the Executive Board and Delegate position, the establishment insiders refused to accept my victory, deeming me as an “outsider” that they hoped would “just fade away”. People were genuinely displeased about my win and I couldn’t understand why. I will probably write a book on all of this someday.

Entitlement and establishment old guards! That is the unfortunate nature of what is wrong with politics today. There are too many gatekeepers, and the wrong people inside. This is the reason why Rep. Anna Eshoo has not had a serious challenger in 30 years. Yes, they don't make it easy! It’s been a constant struggle for me to push forward in this race, get endorsements or to raise money. But I have done it with my head held high and always played the ethical game. I run because I care and I seek to bring integrity into politics — to make it easier for the next “Rishi Kumar” to tread this path of political integrity. I do not today have the fancy endorsements and PAC money of Rep. Eshoo - but please see why we have refuted her endorsements and why they have a hollow ring. And we will NEVER accept money from PACs and Special Interest Groups.

The recent discussion on such topics with Rep. Eshoo over zoom was my opportunity to raise some of these very issues. It was the culmination of 20 months of our grassroots campaign, over a thousand volunteers, over 50 town hall meetings, over 100,000 doors, and a million phone calls, engaging diligently with Silicon Valley’s challenges. I have personally visited neighbors in each of the 31 cities and census designated places that includes corners of Santa Cruz and San Mateo County that our congressional leaders have likely never stepped foot into. During the pandemic, we called 86,000 seniors offering help with groceries, medication and masks. Hundreds of our volunteers helped thousands of neighbors. That is the diligence I will bring as your next Congressional Representative.

Our Congressional District deserves better! After this discussion, the contrasting tale of two candidates was stark; apparent were the lack of accomplishments and the out-of-touch nature of the failed 30-year incumbency.

Please have an open mind about our run. I am keenly invested in solving the challenges of every resident in each of the three counties. I am not a career politician and I bring pragmatic real-world perspectives. We are the only ones who have taken the time to publish detailed policy papers on our website.

As you vote over the next few days, please think it over very carefully - the same policies, partisan politics of an old guard Washington insider career politician, or would you like to take Silicon Valley in a new direction with the real world perspective? Let us win and together we will get a lot done.

I would be honored to have your support.

- Rishi Kumar

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Refuting Rep. Eshoo’s End Citizens United’s A Rating

For far too long, our Congressional representatives have been unable to make progress on the most important issues of our time. Pandemic Preparedness, Healthcare, climate change, racial inequality, police reform — you name it, and I share your frustration. And it’s all because of two words: Citizens United.

Thanks to that dreadful Supreme Court case, lobbyists, special interest groups, and corporations have been flooding our elections with billions in donations, directly influencing the way our elected officials legislate. Let me be clear: that’s not the Congress I believe in, and that’s not the way I’ll do business when elected as your Congressman.

That’s why last month, my campaign sent a letter to End Citizens United (ECU), an organization dedicated to overturning the Citizens United case. I respectfully requested that End Citizens United review and reconsider its ‘A’ rating for Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-16), awarded on January 15, 2020. It is my belief that her record is in stark contrast to the principles and values behind the End Citizens United movement, and pose a serious threat to American democracy. I wrote to ECU not only because of my belief that everyday Americans need to take our democracy back — but also because my opponent, Anna Eshoo, has an alarming record that should concern every voter in this country.

As the top recipient of donations from the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, Rep. Eshoo went against President Obama and passed laws making it easier for Big Pharma to keep drug prices high. Her former staffers are lobbyists and Vice Presidents for major pharmaceutical companies. And when pressed by reporters, her response?

“I’m not out to punish them.” Try telling that to the 37 million American adults who can’t afford their prescriptions.

It all comes down to this: Should the Chairwoman of the House Health Subcommittee aka Rep. Anna Eshoo — a position that wields exceptional power in shaping healthcare legislation for every American in this country — really be the #1 recipient of Big Pharma and healthcare money in the House? That’s a blatant conflict of interest, and not how our democracy should operate.

It’s time to stop making excuses. 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.

Read my full letter to ECU here.

Would you please share my tweet on this topic?

Would you please consider contributing to help our grassroots campaign bring this fight to Washington?

Refuting Rep. Eshoo’s endorsement by The Stanford Daily

Invitation Email Screenshot

Congresswoman Eshoo was endorsed by Stanford Daily earlier this year.

Rishi Kumar was also invited to the interview with — see email excerpt on the left. “We expect 2–3 of our editorial board members to conduct the interview, which should take around 30 minutes.”

Arriving at the 456, Panama Mall building expecting a 2–3 editorial board, Rishi was surprised to be interviewed by a single sophomore student. The interview was recorded.

Quote from the Stanford Daily endorsement article:
“Democratic challenger Kumar has campaigned on getting big money out of politics, pointing to the significant corporate lobbying directed at Eshoo. In her career, Eshoo has accepted close to $1.8 million in contributions — more than any other member of the House — from PACs for and individuals affiliated with the pharmaceutical industry. She is currently the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Health, tasked with regulating pharmaceuticals.

Eshoo responded to this critique in a statement to The Daily, admitting she received significant contributions from the health care community. She said the reasons for these contributions included her “expertise, tenure and geography,” among others, noting that as a senior member of the House she has run 16 times in a district that has a large concentration of biotech firms employing many people who are her constituents. Nevertheless, we are concerned by the donations she has accepted from the pharmaceutical industry.

Campaign contributions happen due to “expertise, tenure and geography” as Rep. Anna Eshoo states, or perhaps they are meant to subvert and stymie the people agenda?

“Expertise, tenure and geography” are simply buzzwords to distract us from the real issue: our politicians are being bought by major pharmaceutical companies.

How much of an influence should large corporations have in Congress? Do we want the voice of American people stifled and suppressed?

By endorsing Anna Eshoo, The Stanford Daily is endorsing more of the same in politics. Big money in politics is the reason why America is in the pickle it is. This is the reason why new progressive candidates and politics is emerging that seeks to clean up American politics.

Shouldn’t we be looking to bringing ethical integrity into politics as the very future of America hinges upon it? We believe that such an endorsement contradicts Stanford’s role as a pioneer in political issues and an educational institute that is a beacon of innovation.

Big Money has polluted American politics for far too long. Is this the example that Stanford wants to set for its students?

As the only candidate who has pledged to NOT accept PAC money and NOT be bought by large corporations, we urge Stanford Daily to reconsider it’s endorsement of Anna Eshoo.

Read the article here.

Refuting Rep. Eshoo’s Sierra Club endorsement

We are already starting to see some of the devastating effects of climate change in California with wildfires running rampant across the state. That’s why now more than ever, we need a climate-forward candidate who has a solid foundation for which we can lean on for solutions to this climate crisis. As someone who values the Sierra Club’s esteemed history and stance on climate issues, I believe that endorsing Rep. Anna Eshoo for Congress is a mistake.

Rep. Eshoo has a weak history on climate change. Much of Rep. Eshoo’s work on climate change is all talk, no action. She has condemned President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, but when you look deeper, what has she actually done to impact climate change on a national scale? In 30 years in Congress, her track record only consists of passing a bipartisan carbon pricing bill, the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (using efficient technology for the federal government) in 2019 and the Electric CARS act (extending tax credits to help consumers purchase electric vehicles) in 2019; too little, too late. Co-sponsorship of the Green New Deal resolution does not mean much - as it has a total of 101 co-sponsors. What matters is what original policies did you champion. Not a whole lot.

Scientists have been warning us about the life-changing impact of climate change since the 1970s. Rep. Eshoo’s lack of meaningful action in her time as a representative is inexcusable. 100 energy companies have been responsible for 71% of all industrial emissions since human-driven climate change was officially recognized; how has Rep. Eshoo held them responsible? The answer is she hasn’t. We need to take swift, decisive action to combat the growing threat of climate change.

Rep. Eshoo has had plenty of time to take decisive action and simply hasn’t, we can’t trust her to be any different now . What makes it even difficult for Rep. Eshoo is her campaign contributions from PG&E, effectively tying her hands, instead of pushing PG&E for urgent action to upgrade their infrastructure and prevent recurring fires across California.

On the other hand I, Rishi Kumar, am committed to the Green New Deal and upending our transportation infrastructure to further cut down on gas emissions. I have already pushed many efforts to combat climate change. Real impact! I voted in favor of Building Reach Codes that were passed by the Saratoga City Council to advance the construction of healthier, safer, emissions-free buildings. I voted for the formation of Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), a Community Choice Energy initiative which provides 100% clean energy to 13 Silicon Valley cities. Since 2017, SVCE has committed over $1 billion to build new renewable energy plants while saving customers more than $50 million in electricity costs. I believe in real impact — especially with Climate Change being a known ticking time bomb, something that is drastically altering people’s lives and our economy. Actions speak louder than words, and I have proven that I am ready to take action.

How about Rep. Eshoo on transportation? In California transportation is the leading source of greenhouse gas pollution, accounting for about 40% of the state’s emissions. While Rep. Eshoo “plans” to address this problem by vaguely mentioning increased vehicle efficiency on her website, I have a concrete plan to reduce emissions. Rep. Eshoo’s transportation agenda does not provide any strategic vision or long term solution for over 168,000 Bay Area commuters or millions of local drivers stuck every day in Silicon Valley traffic jams. California’s housing crisis contributes to our climate crisis by forcing residents to travel farther commutes in their already inefficient cars to get to work. My plan addresses both the housing and traffic challenge. My plan to introduce a zero GHG, high speed transportation will decrease emissions by providing viable public transportation, alleviate the housing crisis and help create better access to quality jobs, all while being more convenient to our constituents! You can find specific details here.

In September, Rep. Eshoo voted in favor of H.R. 4447, dubbed the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act, passed by a vote of 220 to 185 on Sept. 24. This bill increased federal subsidies for fossil fuels. I would not have supported it. Rep. Ro Khanna did not favor it. It is such bills that continue to exacerbate the climate change issue.

As an environmentally based organization, why support Rep. Eshoo who has made vague promises on this increasingly important issue with no clear direction, when there is a better alternative? I urge the Sierra Club to reconsider its endorsement of Rep. Eshoo and to consider a candidate with a real plan to address our environmental issues.

Silicon Valley and America need a new way forward. I humbly request your consideration to overturn your endorsement of Rep. Eshoo and for helping me take this fight to Washington.

Refuting Rep. Eshoo’s National Women’s Political Caucus endorsement

There are many reasons why endorsement of Congresswoman Anna Eshoo by the following groups is flawed: National Women’s Political Caucus, Democrat Activists for Women Now (DAWN), NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC, Human Rights Campaign and Democratic Women’s Club of Santa Cruz County.

I, Rishi Kumar, WILL better represent women’s interests than Rep. Eshoo has done so in her 30 years as our U.S Representative.

Five years ago I stood with community leaders, and activists, supporting the Recall of Judge Aaron Persky to spotlight Judge Persky’s miscarriage of justice in the Brock Turner case. Judge Persky’s decision to issue a mere six month sentence to Brock Turner for a violent sexual assault brought a disturbing pattern across our country into clear focus.

While our current Congresswoman, Anna Eshoo came out against the recall and supported Judge Aaron Persky, I chose to stand with the residents of our district for our values and for the culture we seek to promote in our neighborhoods. As you know, Judge Persky was successfully recalled by the voters of Santa Clara County. Rep. Eshoo’s decision to side with power is yet another example of her outdated values. Don’t we consider rape a serious crime? We believe in justice irrespective of privilege and power. We have to send a clear message to all men and women that victims of sexual assault will not be forgotten and that justice will be served to those who have committed such heinous crimes. I stand against sexual assault crimes and stand for the culture we seek to promote in our communities. To support the Me Too movement we must fight for the rights of sexual assault/ sex trafficking victims and work vigorously to prevent such crimes.

Furthermore, Rep. Eshoo was one of only 25 members who voted against the Stop Enabling Online Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA/FOSTA). She even voted against HR 1960 in 2013, an act that makes it easier to punish sexual assaulters in the military while providing protection and counseling for assault victims.

I support these efforts in fighting sexual assault, and will always fight to protect the innocent, and to prosecute rapists to the fullest extent of the law. And I will always differ with Rep. Eshoo on such bills - as our run is for the people, not special interest groups. That is the cultural shift that I seek to bring to Silicon Valley and America.

Rep. Eshoo has proven that her loyalties lie with special interests and not with ordinary citizens. “Rep. Anna Eshoo, House Health Subcommittee Chair, has taken more pharmaceutical money than any other representative. She has sponsored legislation backed by the pharmaceutical interests funding her campaigns.” — Donald Shaw, Money-in-politics reporter, co-founder of Sludge Magazine.

“A scathing report by the Federal Trade Commission warned that the Eshoo legislation would ensure sky-high drug prices and stifle innovation on the most promising frontier of medical research.” — The San Francisco Chronicle

As your congressman, I will work for you, not for special interests. I have pledged to reject PAC money and Special Interest Group campaign money. When it comes to crime, I will continue working tirelessly for safer communities, for victim’s rights, and equal justice for all.

I humbly request your consideration to overturn your endorsement of Rep. Eshoo and for helping me take this fight to Washington.

Refuting Rep. Eshoo’s San Jose Mercury News endorsement

Mercury News: An Act of Desperation?

From the day we announced our run on February 14, 2019, we have been constantly undermined and under threat. It continues to play out.

Mercury News has endorsed Rep. Eshoo for reasons that have no merits. They chose to ignore the valid data points that I presented. Interestingly, they chose to attack me rather viciously. They seemingly forgot that we won with the most votes in Saratoga’s 60 years election history -- based on strong people-centric and problem-solving behavior.

Does Mercury News even understand the significance of having an able congressional leader representing Silicon Valley in Washington? This is the most affluent congressional district in all of America. Why? Of course, due to Tech. And we have had a technologically illiterate member occupying this seat for 30 years now. And, Mercury News choses to award mediocrity, with an endorsement? Really?

Worried and nervous? Our run had been ignored for 20 months until October 28th, 2020. But after we brought up the simple fact about Rep. Eshoo’s 4 trivial bills in 30 years in a district wide email on October 20th, we saw Rep. Eshoo react - for the very first time - via an email explanation on October 22nd (strangely with no hyperlinks). Yes, we have a copy of that email forwarded by a voter. The very next day, I got a call from the Mercury News asking for an endorsement interview. Splendid! Are they tied together? Of course! Did we identify the achilles heel? Find out soon.

“Can we do it early? That would be great. I am an early riser,” texted Ed Clendaniel, editor of the Editorial Page at the San Jose Mercury News. They were suddenly operating with a huge sense of urgency. It seemed like they wanted it done yesterday.

We could smell something brewing. Red flag!

We knew the outcome, and it played out as we expected.

At this discussion with Ed, we entered into another debate. This was Round #2, with the Mercury News this time over the phone. We sensed an agenda minutes into the call.

The bottom line is that, they chose to discard facts, the issues with Rep. Eshoo and my proven track record.

I am an activist and I fight for the people

The Mercury News chose to ignore my proven track record as a local elected leader, community activist, always fired up to work for the people and take on the tough challenges.

  • Why did someone like me win with the most votes in Saratoga’s election history - even beating the Mayor quite easily? Election night 2018 was over right when the first vote count data was displayed. Let me say this, I barely scraped through with 71 votes in 2014 during my first run to the Saratoga City Council. For the re-election, I was endorsed by hundreds including congressional representatives, senators, assemblymember, county supervisors, mayors, vice mayors, councilmembers and hundreds of neighborhood leaders. But the establishment of Saratoga always felt undermined and chose not to endorse my run. I am grassroots-driven and people-powered, so this didn’t bother me at all. The reason we won: I took on the toughest challenges that no one on my city council wanted to. That is what activists do. The 2018 win was historical! It told me clearly that if you do the right thing for the people, you won’t need to worry about attacks or rumors.
  • I challenged the system and some of my colleagues were not happy. Just read the Mountain Winery project from earlier this year. I always fight on behalf of the people and there is a tremendous trust established between me and the people.
  • Since August 2016, I challenged San Jose Water Company - without the support of my city council colleagues. I rolled out a water app to make protests a lot easier. Many in Saratoga, San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell and Monte Sereno took action and re-directed their protest letters to PUC. There is a clear proof trail. We collectively either rejected, reduced or suspended 8 water rate increases. My colleagues remarked, “Rishi, we don’t have jurisdiction over San Jose Water.” Change doesn't happen by fluke or magic. It takes focused effort and never giving up. That is the innovative value that a hi-tech executive can provide to citizens in the world of politics. It is all about problem solving - not activity for the sake of activity. As a tech executive, I don’t go for the easy button -- I always push for solutions and results.
    When burglaries rose, I started having neighborhood meetings in Saratoga. Over hundred neighborhood meetings, engaging new neighborhood leaders and finding simple solutions. We started block parties, Neighborhood Watch programs - many different approaches to connect our neighbors. I was told, “Rishi, all this talk of crime will drop the price of real estate in Saratoga.” We delivered results. Burglaries dropped by 47% from 2016 to 2017 - as per the Santa Clara County Sheriff - the largest drop compared to any other city. Do these things happen automatically? My city council colleagues ultimately fell behind and formalized this program, even funding it (and sometimes claiming it as their own). This program thrives today.

Mercury News chose to ignore the Issues with Rep. Eshoo

“Tell her to get a backbone and speak up! Fight for something”
- Yolanda Padilla

“I was done with Eshoo when she joined with ultra right wing Joe Barton of TX to block the quicker path towards drugs becoming generic. When was that? About ten years ago. I’ll be glad to vote for Rishi Kumar”
- John Fox

More of such statements are here

  • 30 years and 4 pieces of legislation that became law: a colossal failure. 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.There were at least 2 occasions where the Democrats had a majority in the House and Senate with a sitting Democratic President. Rep. Eshoo could have passed any law. Simply put, Rep. Eshoo could have done a lot more. Her missing accomplishments in the candidate statement is glaring. We looked through every candidate statement we could find. There is no talk about accomplishments, only a forward looking story
  • Rep. Eshoo is being deceptive when she claims 50 bills with no hyperlinks to back that claim. We couldn’t find anything on her campaign site.Her claim of 50 bills was flat out rejected by a congressional leader when I brought it up, “Not possible. The only bills that matter should be sponsored. Clear standard is bills in your name. Simple”
  • Rep. Eshoo has clearly “gamed the system for 30 years.” Do you see any hyperlinks to these 50 bills? She leads with Electronic Signatures legal binding digital documents.... from 1998. Rep. Eshoo’s issues with tainted money: Deceptive again! Rep. Eshoo when asked about her PAC money at the recent debate, claimed, “my campaign money is needed for stamps and signs.” $785,700 is a lot of money for signs and stamps! The truth is her campaign funds were actually given away to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) as ‘rent money’ to keep the chair position. If you follow this link, you will find $300k as “expenses” — donated to the DCCC. Why not state the truth? You get accustomed to people believing falsehood that is spewed out annually.
  • Rep. Eshoo worked 15 years on a pandemic plan, but failed to codify it. As the chair of the House Health Subcommittee - the onus was upon her for sure. As the co-chair of the Biodefense Caucus, Rep. Eshoo did not hold a single meeting, even though a pandemic plan was on the agenda. Rep. Eshoo had the chance under President Obama to turn them into law as Democrats were a majority in the House and the Senate. But nope! Didn’t happen.
  • But the story of her failures get sordid. Not addressing the people challenges, but harming the people’s interests
    • Recipient of Pharma money in the U.S House of Representatives, while chairing the House Health Subcommittee and has sponsored legislation that increases the price of our healthcare. This is a huge conflict of interest. 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. Don’t believe it? Read the original 3rd party sources link here.
    • Rep. Eshoo is the chair of the House Health Subcommittee -- but did not hold any hearings on the opioid crisis. 700,000 Americans died in 20 years. A travesty! Much of it is due to Big Pharma greed. Her mission as an elected leader is to protect Big Pharma?
    • Out of touch: Rep. Eshoo has been disengaged and did not take any action with the California fires, with the pandemic, with Silicon Valley tech, with our housing and traffic. She wasn't aware of the people-data harvesting by Facebook. Rep. Eshoo demonstrated no empathy at the Calfire hearing. She showed up for a photo opp, and demonstrated ignorance about California using inmates for fire fighting.

Rep. Eshoo is definitely out of touch: She first ran for Congress in 1988. Today, she prefers to hold tele-conference calls. The questions are orchestrated. The controversial questions are not asked. And when she does hold face to face town hall meetings, the activists show up and ask her the tough questions. Here is what transpired when Rep. Eshoo decided to come out -- threatened by my run -- and hold a face to face town hall meeting. All hell broke loose: pent up frustration. Rep. Ro Khanna has conducted dozens of packed, “no parking available” face to face town hall meetings in his 4 years.

Lots of dribbling, but no goals to score: This is what Silicon Valley residents have been talking about. Her weekly updates have been about, “I voted for this, I sent this letter,” but the accomplishments and results have been missing for 30 years.

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.

It is time for change. I will serve with integrity, honor and energy. And I will be there for every resident of our district. That is a promise.

I will be honored to have your vote!

Refuting Rep. Eshoo’s Labor Endorsements

The COVID-19 crisis has left millions of Americans unemployed and stunted our economy. We need to grow our economy and add jobs. America’s highly outsourced pharmaceutical supply chain makes us vulnerable to emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, a future biowarfare or even bioterrorism. It has become a national security issue.

In the past two decades, the American economy has lost over 5 million manufacturing jobs alone. Our country is currently involved in disastrous free trade agreements that leave us economically disadvantaged. To address the Personal Protective Equipment challenge that our front-line American health workers experienced during the pandemic, we must develop a self-reliant supply chain, reduce our economic reliance on China, and bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.

In addition, these unacceptable trade deals must be re-examined and potentially re-negotiated. That’s why I support the push to create an improved version of NAFTA in the form of the USMCA. USMCA incentivizes companies to invest in the United States. I believe the USMCA can serve as a model for trade deals going forward. Improving existing trade deals will bring jobs back to America and address America’s income inequality challenge. This is a key differentiator between Rep. Eshoo and myself. Rep. Eshoo has consistently voted in favor of trade bills that led to depletion of American jobs such as NAFTA and TPP. That is why I have refuted the endorsement of Rep. Eshoo by California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, NUHW and SEIU in a letter that was emailed to these organizations.

As your congressman, I will prioritize rebuilding Silicon Valley’s vibrant economy, creating jobs and opportunity in the post COVID-19 world. As a hi-tech executive, I understand what it takes for our Silicon Valley innovation to succeed and for the gains to spread to our middle class and working-class families — we most promote job growth and income equality, creating opportunities for all. Here is my policy for our innovation economy.

I invite you to discuss this at our Sunday town hall meeting. RSVP here.