Ro Khanna campaigns at town hall meeting
THE SANTA CLARA
April 28, 2016
At a town hall meeting on Monday, City of Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor and councilwoman Kathy Wanabe officially endorsed Democratic candidate Ro Khanna who is currently campaigning to represent California’s 17th District in Congress. According to Gillmor, this is the first time she has ever endorsed a candidate for higher office.
“I have never had a lot of faith… in politicians, especially anything more than just our local level. With very few exceptions, (those serving in higher offices) are representatives that really forget about us, that really don’t come back and really advocate for us,” Gillmor said.
The event, which brought a crowd of about 35 community members to a small building at Agnew Park in north Santa Clara, was advertised as a town hall meeting with Mayor Gillmor, but was more of a campaigning event for Khanna. Following opening remarks by the Congressional hopeful, where he described his platform and qualifications, Gillmor and Wanabe each spoke briefly about the contributions Khanna has made to Santa Clara.
According to Gillmor and Wanabe, Khanna supported Stand Up For Santa Clara by attending community meetings which were held at the height of the tension between the city and the 49ers organization earlier this year.
On its website, the organization describes itself as “a coalition of concerned citizens working to drive positive change in Santa Clara city politics” who formed last month after the Santa Clara city council “took action to sell the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park to the NFL team.” Khanna also supported the completion of the now-operating Northside Branch Library, which faced an uncertain future in 2014 after the council encountered funding issues.
“It took a lot of guts for him to stand up and go against the establishment, the 49ers and everyone else who was really trying to take this from the kids,” Gillmor said. “He didn’t have to do it. He didn’t have to get involved, but he did it.”
Gillmor and Wanabe were critical of current representative Mike Honda, who is currently serving his second consecutive term representing the 17th district. In 2014, the first year he ran against the incumbent, Khanna lost by a margin of just 3.6 percent.
Gillmor was particularly critical of Honda for allegedly taking credit for helping to keep the Franklin Street Post Office open, amongst proposed redevelopment, despite not actually being involved in preservation efforts. Gillmor added that she has “virtually no association” with Honda.
“You would think that somebody who was an educator, somebody who has access to one of the most wonderful libraries in the world, the library of Congress, that he would have been there to support us but he did not,” Wanabe said about Honda’s alleged lack of support during the Northside Branch Library funding crisis.
The hour and a half long event concluded with Khanna taking questions from community members and engaging in discourse about both local and national issues. He said that there is a widening gap between members of Congress and their constituents, adding that “being locally grounded is so important.” He also reciprocated Gillmor’s praise by commending the initiatives she has taken since she took office in February.
“It may take years and it may take perseverance, but I fundamentally believe in that possibility of politics making a difference–an impact–and I think these types of forums are just reinvigorating for me,” Khanna said in his final statements to the audience.
Contact Jenni Sigl at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.