Campbell youth are used to making history. In 1972, Rusty Hammer became the youngest Councilmember in our City’s history, winning election at age 18. Three years later, at age 21, he became one of the youngest City Mayors anywhere in America.
Despite this history of youth in civic involvement, too often the youngest residents of our community are left out of public policymaking. While our youth may not be old enough to vote, public policymaking decisions affect them regardless and they ought to be empowered members of the decision making process.
Campbell already has a fantastic and engaged Youth Commission with enthusiastic participation from our teen residents. However, I believe the Commission can be empowered further by strengthening ties between the Commissioners and City Council, further bringing youth into the City policymaking process on issues that affect them most.
I will regularly attend Campbell Youth Commission meetings and empower Commissioners as valued policy experts on youth issues, elevating them as partners in the City policymaking process.
I will work to develop policy initiatives they are passionate about and translate their work into City ordinances where applicable. Furthermore, I plan to connect them with other local offices and resources, both as a resource for the Youth Commission itself as well as to support our youth in their future career development.
One of the issues the Campbell Youth Commission has identified as a priority is addressing our student mental health crisis. Students have significant mental health problems over economic stress at home, caused by the struggles of working class families in Silicon Valley, the fear of losing family members to a broken immigration system, and even issues with gangs at Campbell public schools. It’s heartbreaking that children struggle to deal with these issues and that community leaders have largely abdicated responsibility. These issues are further exacerbated by the social isolation caused by extended school closures due to the pandemic.
I plan to implement a citywide mental health policy, inspired by San Jose’s model, in order to raise awareness, increase resources for treatment and prevention, and reduce stigma associated with mental health.
I will work to design and lead a paid internship program for local students to assist in their career development.
I will also partner with local school representatives to get the word out to the entire Campbell youth community, since I know firsthand that some of the most capable among us may lack access to information or need to see themselves as someone who can help lead their community. These opportunities ought to be accessible to all.
As Councilmember, I will explore a ballot measure to lower the voting age for local elections. Additionally, I will work with Campbell school board representatives to explore lowering the voting age for their elections as well.
Too often, our local governing bodies don’t talk to each other. While a monthly joint meeting has been set up between the City and school boards, it is usually sparsely attended.
I plan to proactively work with our education leaders to best serve our community. Where appropriate, I will also actively support our local districts’ policy proposals at the state level, as well as to use my voice and platform to support our children’s education, such as through penning op-eds in local papers.
Decisions will never be guided solely by those able to come to City Council meetings or those who are already in my networks.
Instead, I will reach out proactively to community organizations, including those representing communities which may lack access to information or face language barriers.
As Councilmember, I will use my platform to amplify school initiatives such as fundraising drives, and use my private sector experience to bring in new sources of revenue to our local schools.
I will work with local Campbell school representatives to publicize the availability of alternative and technical education. I will also enthusiastically participate in our schools’ college and career fairs.