This interview is a part of a collection with candidates for California’s sixteenth Congressional District.
Democrat Joe Simitian M.A. ’00, a Santa Clara County supervisor, is working to fill Rep. Anna Eshoo’s seat. Eshoo, who has represented the district together with Stanford for the previous 16 phrases, introduced her retirement final November and has endorsed Simitian’s candidacy. The highest two candidates within the March 5 open major will advance to a normal election on Nov. 5.
Simitian attended Palo Alto Excessive College, Colorado School and the College of California, Berkeley College of Regulation earlier than receiving a grasp’s in worldwide coverage from Stanford. His profession in Bay Space politics started as a member of the Palo Alto College Board and Metropolis Council, from the place he grew to become mayor of Palo Alto and was later elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
In 2000, Simitian gained election to the California State Meeting and State Senate, the place he remained till 2012. He returned to the Board of Supervisors that yr and has since centered on housing, knowledge privateness and local weather change.
The Day by day sat down with Simitian to speak about his legislative report, Stanford expertise and profession as a lifelong public servant within the Bay Space.
This interview has been calmly edited and condensed for readability.
The Stanford Day by day (TSD): How did you determine to run for Congress? You’ve had an extended profession in Bay Space politics — why now?
Joe Simitian (JS): The one purpose to run for workplace at any stage is to enhance the lives of the folks you characterize. That’s what working for workplace must be about, definitely on the federal stage within the Home of Representatives.
It is a significantly daunting time in American historical past. A number of good folks, frankly, are strolling away from participation within the system. When good folks stroll away, the dangerous guys win. We will’t let that occur.
Presently, it’s all of the extra necessary that good folks step up, individuals who can do the job. I imagine I’m one such individual.
TSD: Talking of enhancing folks’s lives, are you able to inform me about some achievements out of your profession that voters ought to learn about?
JS: Let me offer you two examples from my time within the state legislature.
Wherever within the state proper now, if you happen to flip the lights on in a room, greater than a 3rd of that power [will] come from renewable assets. That’s a results of laws I authored and bought handed beneath very difficult circumstances. I took on an enormous, difficult challenge, appeared to the longer term, and mentioned, “We’ve bought to make this occur now.”
Equally, now we have one thing known as transitional kindergarten right here in California. I wrote the invoice that created that new grade. I did it in the midst of a recession … I discovered a strategy to make it self-funding. Tons of of 1000’s of pre-Okay youngsters are going to have the ability to profit from that program [and] be extra profitable in class yearly, yr after yr.
If you’re adept and decided, and the argument’s in your facet, good issues can occur. [I’m] happy with the truth that I’ve been capable of make good issues occur at each stage the place I serve. Most significantly, that’s proof optimistic I’ll have the ability to make good issues occur in Congress, as troublesome as that’s.
TSD: What are your high coverage priorities if you happen to’re elected to Congress?
JS: There are some very clear and compelling points that confront the subsequent member of Congress from this district.
Reproductive freedom — a girl’s proper to decide on — is clearly on the high of the listing. We all know we are able to’t rely on the Supreme Court docket to respect the precedent of Roe v. Wade. Meaning now we have to get the job completed legislatively.
There are greater than 20 states across the nation who’ve already used the Dobbs resolution as the idea for rolling again reproductive freedoms. That has an impression right here in California as nicely, as a result of a number of these people are left with no different selection however to journey to a state that respects their reproductive rights. Even when that weren’t the case, this is a matter of our time — one which calls out for congressional motion and management.
I discussed local weather change. On this district, folks perceive and respect the science. However this isn’t an mental or tutorial challenge. The impacts of local weather change are very actual and really obvious within the sixteenth Congressional district. When you’ve been to Pacifica or Half Moon Bay, you have got seen these communities actually crumbling into the Pacific Ocean.
You probably have walked alongside the bayside, you recognize that sea stage rise is actual. When you reside within the wooded foothills of San Mateo or Santa Clara County, you recognize that the chance of wildfire is larger and higher, and individuals are understandably involved. All of that cries out for a extra pressing effort to deal with local weather change on the federal stage. We have to do extra, and we have to do it sooner.
Healthcare is an space that I believe we’ve made progress, definitely the Reasonably priced Care Act has confirmed itself. However there are nonetheless too many individuals on the market who don’t have entry to high quality well being care or medical health insurance. We nonetheless have far too many medication which are life important that value an excessive amount of.
TSD: You grew up in Northern California and also you’ve been in public service right here on your complete profession. How have these experiences formed your candidacy?
JS: There are 15 cities and cities within the sixteenth Congressional District and I’ve represented 14 of the 15 cities. I’m uniquely positioned as a candidate to say that I perceive the views, values, expertise and desires of oldsters who reside in all 14 of these 15 cities, together with San Jose.
Figuring out [and] being of the district is necessary. It’s additionally to my profit, frankly, that individuals right here have seen my work and, I hope, will vote for me as a result of they know I’ll take the identical power, ingenuity and forward-looking method to Congress.
TSD: You talked about San Jose. What are the precise challenges and desires of San Jose?
JS: San Jose, uniquely among the many 15 cities and cities, is a metropolis of one million folks. It signifies that town goes to have city wants which are considerably totally different than among the smaller, extra suburban communities within the district.
The challenges of homelessness, for instance, are going to be totally different in San Jose. That doesn’t imply that housing isn’t a difficulty throughout the district, it definitely is. However transportation points are totally different and it’s an city middle. 1 / 4 of town of San Jose, roughly, is within the sixteenth Congressional District.
TSD: Rep. Anna Eshoo has endorsed your candidacy. How necessary ought to her help be to voters who’re nonetheless making their resolution?
JS: Voters will search for cues and clues in a number of totally different locations. I used to be tremendously grateful for Congresswoman Eshoo’s endorsement and help as a result of she is aware of the folks on this district. She is aware of my work and he or she is aware of what the work in Congress entails. That makes her a reasonably credible choose of who’s nicely suited to characterize these people.
TSD: Rep. Eshoo is retiring at 81. You’re of roughly the identical technology, political technology—
JS: No, no, no, no, no. It’s greater than a decade [of] distinction. So let’s be clear about that.
TSD: Honest sufficient. However with all due respect, is it time for this district to have a brand new technology of political management altogether?
JS: Greater than 150 domestically elected officers who endorsed my candidacy made that judgment. They mentioned, “Joe Simitian is any person with the power, ingenuity and forward-looking perspective on the district to serve us nicely within the years forward.” There isn’t one other candidate within the race who has that sort of broad-based help up and down the peninsula. They arrive in all shapes, sizes, ages, varieties, and so they all reached the identical conclusion.
Undergraduates are going to have a unique tackle what the problems of the day are than mother and father in center age, or people who’re apprehensive about social safety and Medicare. The job of [a] member of Congress is to characterize all of these pursuits and to be efficient. I’ve made that case.
TSD: Are you able to inform me extra about your time as a grasp’s scholar [at Stanford]? Did anybody particularly affect you?
JS: I took a overseas coverage class from Coit “Chip” Blacker who had served [on] the Nationwide Safety Council workers again within the day. It was a fantastic alternative to speak to somebody who had completed overseas coverage work in a hands-on method. There have been a variety of programs and choices that gave me expertise and material data that I take advantage of day-after-day.
Individuals overlook that ours is a really worldwide space … To characterize this space, you could have an understanding not simply of the district, however of the planet. That was one thing I used to be capable of improve by advantage of the time I spent on campus.
TSD: What do it’s a must to say to the Stanford neighborhood? Why ought to voters on campus help you?
JS: I’ve a grasp’s in worldwide coverage research from Stanford. For me, that was a fabulous alternative to get some mental train [and] hear from among the most interesting minds within the nation in regards to the challenges we face on a world scale. Though I’ve lived proper subsequent door to the College for a few years now right here in Palo Alto, spending the time on campus was a beautiful alternative to get a way of Stanford as a novel neighborhood. The distinctive id of the campus neighborhood is one thing I very a lot respect and perceive and would carry with me to Washington.