The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

Race for assembly in Cupertino’s district

Six candidates are competing to be elected for assembly in District 26’s primary, only two can win.
Vincent Scrivens
Cartoon of the six candiates. Top row from left: Sophie Yan Song, Patrick Ahrens, Ashish Garg. Bottom row from left: Tara Sreekrishnan, Omar Din, Bob Goodwyn.

The primary elections are on March 5 with six candidates running for a seat as assemblymember for District 26.

The California assembly is the lower house of the state legislature. They create and pass legislation, help determine the state’s budget and set the state’s tax rates and spending.

District 26 is a section of the Bay Area which comprises Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, west San Jose and Alviso.

The primary election in March will decide which two candidates will be nominated to run in the general election which will take place on Nov. 5.

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The “Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act” of 2011 allows California voters to vote for any candidate regardless of their party registration. The two most popular candidates in the primary will be nominated to run in the general election.

There are six candidates running for the position: Democrats Patrick Ahrens, Omar Din and Tara Sreekrishnan; Republican Sophie Yan Song; Libertarian Bob Goodwyn; and Ashish Garg who has no party affiliation.

Here are the descriptions and brief statements of the candidates:

Patrick Ahrens is a De Anza alumni, holds a bachelor’s in political science from UCLA, a master’s in public administration from San Jose State University and currently serves as President of the Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees.

Ahrens had helped the school district receive an $898 million dollar bond, Measure G and worked to initiate $200 million for affordable staff and student housing. Currently, he is working on creating a public health clinic on De Anza’s campus.

He is endorsed by Evan Low, the current assemblymember representing District 26, who he works for as district director. He is also endorsed by all three mayors of District 26, Planned Parenthood and The Mercury News.

Ahrens said his work as an assemblymember will be an extension of what he has already done locally.

“Our community wants to see us work more efficiently as a government to help serve them,” Ahrens said. “They just want to see progress made on some of these issues that ail us and I’m the candidate in the race that is not just saying what I’m going to do when I get to Sacramento, I’m already doing it at a local level and I want to scale it for the rest of California so we can improve our state.”

Ahrens put his personal phone number in his Sacramento ballot statement because he wants to be accessible to the residents of his district.

“I want voters to know how to reach me so their voices can be heard,” Ahrens said. “I work for them and I think more people should remember that they work for the constituents that they serve, and they need to be accessible to them.”

Ahren said his focuses are mental healthcare, housing, homelessness and reproductive rights.

Omar Din is a De Anza alumni and a graduate of Cornell University with a bachelor’s in policy analysis and management. He was appointed as a commissioner of Sunnyvale while in community college and later worked for Evan Low Congressman Mike Honda.

He is currently Vice Mayor of Sunnyvale, a member of the VTA board of directors and worked on the Moffett Park Specific Plan which will create 20,000 new units of housing in Sunnyvale.

He is endorsed by Antonio Lopez, Mayor of East Palo Alto, as well as the Sunnyvale fire department.

Din wrote that the projects he’s done to increase housing have given him experience with what he wishes to accomplish as a member of the assembly.

“As the only candidate with local government experience cutting red tape and building housing to ease the affordability crisis, I am running for assembly to work in innovative ways to solve problems and make our community an affordable place to live, work and raise a family,” Din wrote on his campaign page.

La Voz research proved that this statement is incorrect as Patrick Ahrens and Tara Sreekrishnan also have local government experience and Ahrens had helped fund student housing for De Anza with Measure G.

Din’s focuses are housing affordability, supporting families with child and elder care, supporting small businesses and green infrastructure.

Ashish Garg is running with no party and wants to promote equity in his community. He is a certified public accountant and plans to use these skills to also help with the budget deficit.

He is endorsed by Satish Chandra of the Santa Clara Chief’s Advisory Committee and Muni Madhdhipatla, the Vice Chair Cupertino Planning Commission.

Garg is an advocate for transparency in governance as well as policy which benefits the community.

“I bring a fresh perspective and seek to break away from traditional politics that often prioritize special interests,” Garg wrote on his campaign page. “By advocating a more transparent, accountable, and community-centric governance model, aligning with the aspirations of many who seek a more inclusive and responsive political system. I believe that your local representative should be easily accessible and should be held accountable for his decision.”

Garg’s focuses are on housing, education, healthcare, environmentalism, promoting diversity and helping small businesses.

Bob Goodwyn is a Libertarian Party candidate who had run four times previously. He is a retired airline pilot and a graduate from SJSU. His goal is to reduce government spending and intervention in the economy and people in California.

He is endorsed by the Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County.

Goodwyn said he has run previously as an “information candidate” and is doing so again to inform voters of the Libertarian Party’s ideals.

“Having run four previous times, I am not expecting to win at all … I am doing this as an act of charity,” Goodwyn said. “I see a major driving force (in the state’s problems) is the economic damage caused by government spending and other taxes. The state needs to reverse its course in increasing government intervention and spending. It needs to go back to a non-coercive economic system.”

Goodwyn said issues such as homelessness, unemployment and drug use are caused by government intervention in the economy. He also believes in the privatization of education.

Goodwyn said his focuses are on reducing government spending, reducing taxes, privatizing education and reversing Prop 47 which made non-violent, petty property crime a misdemeanor offense.

Sophie Yan Song is an alum of Tongji University and Chongqing University in China, where she received degrees in accounting and architectural engineering. She was previously an audit committee member for Cupertino and has decades of accounting experience.

“Businesses are acting as collectors and not direct payers of sales taxes. The funds they collect are on behalf of customers, making it crucial for the public to understand which cities ultimately benefit from these contributions,” Song wrote in a Linkedin post. “I believe that enhancing transparency in disclosing the cities that benefit from the sales taxes collected will contribute to a fair and equitable distribution system. I look forward to a constructive dialogue to address these concerns and ensure a more transparent process.”

Song’s focuses are on transparency in the allocation of sales taxes businesses receive.

Tara Sreekrishnan is a graduate of Mills college and has a large list of roles she has filled throughout her history. She is currently a Santa Clara County Board of Education member, a legislative director with the state’s senate and has started a nonprofit which helps students engage in climate action.

She is endorsed by California State Senator Dave Cortese and Assembly Majority Leader Cecilia Aguiar-Curry as well as Sierra Club, 350 Bay Area and California Climate Action.

“Strengthening public education (is important), from early learning, to expanding student mental health, to expanding environmental education to getting students into good high quality jobs and apprenticeships,” Sreekrishnan said. “We need leaders who are willing to understand (Californians) struggles and stand up for them. I’m a huge proponent of more affordable housing and addressing our cost of living.”

Sreekrishnan said that she wants residents of Cupertino to know that she will be accessible and diligent as an assemblymember.

“If folks voted for me, they’d have an assembly woman that was accessible,” Sreekrishnan said. “Someone that worked hard, and that really brought results for the district. That’s my track record that I’m bringing to the table.”

Sreekrishnan said that her focuses are on public education, climate change and housing.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m on March 5 and registered voters who have already received their vote-by-mail ballots have until this day to drop off their forms.

Residents of District 26 who have not yet registered to vote can do so here. For those who have missed the deadline to register, they can choose to complete same-day registration.

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Vincent Scrivens
Vincent Scrivens, Editor-In-Chief (+ News Editor)
Vincent started pursuing journalism because he found it to be a career that has had a significant impact on the modern world. The power to rattle even the most protected establishments and people is quite enthralling to him, and he hopes to gain knowledge and skills from La Voz that can help him do just that.

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