Favorite President and Why:
Abraham Lincoln because he adroitly steered the Union during the Civil War, which was the most divisive period in U.S. history and his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freed 3 million slaves. His powerful orations rallied the country, elevated the public discourse and appealed to our higher instincts. At a time of deep divisions and political gridlock, Lincoln stands as a powerful symbol of America?s promise and ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable divisions.
Personal Hero and Why:
I was fortunate to grow up in a middle class family that values education. My mom worked as a substitute teacher in public schools, and every day I saw her commitment to inspiring kids to love the pursuit of knowledge. She helped her students see that education opens the door to more opportunities and a better life. There?s no doubt that her passion shaped my decision to become a lecturer at Stanford University and a professor at Santa Clara University.
Person Most Want to Meet (Dead or Alive):
Mahatma Gandhi for his moral courage and commitment to nonviolence, which has inspired generations of civil rights activists worldwide, ranging from Martin Luther King in the United States, Lech Walesa in Poland and Nelson Mandela in South Africa to, more recently, Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. His political creed of satyagraha, or nonviolent civil disobedience, helped liberate not just India, but resonates to this day ? galvanizing democracy movements in Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, etc. More powerfully, Gandhi?s life symbolizes the human quest for undiluted and uncompromising personal moral and ethical conduct, no matter the cost.
Promoting economic competitiveness and opportunity in the 21st century must be America?s top priority. A strong economy produces good paying jobs, grows the middle class, and allows people who worked hard their entire lives to retire with dignity. Unfortunately, during the last several decades we have seen stagnating wages and falling incomes for the majority of Americans. For far too long, our economic policy has been driven by special interests that have made the system cater to them, while working and middle class families have been left behind. As we slowly recover from the Great Recession, the wealthy are doing better than ever while thousands across the South Bay are struggling like never before. We need a coherent economic vision that will provide economic opportunity to all Americans willing to work hard.
I owe my success today to the fact that I was able to attend fantastic schools ? both public and private. But I?m still paying off my student debt, and I know firsthand that affordable higher education is essential to giving hardworking students the opportunity at a fulfilling career with economic security.
Unfortunately, America has fallen behind in its investments in education, and our economic competitiveness has suffered. It?s clear that our priorities are amiss when we have a ballooning prison population at the same time as we are firing teachers, cutting arts and physical education classes, and failing to open new libraries. Our comparative advantage to other nations has always been the productivity and ingenuity of our workers. But today?s global economy is profoundly different from the economy of 10 or 20 years ago. We have lost sight of the most important factor that makes our economy thrive: the knowledge, ideas, and skills of our people.
As a Member of Congress, I will fight to return our focus to making college affordable and preparing students for the jobs of the 21st century. When new technology or outsourcing displace workers? jobs, I?ll help ensure that they have access to retraining programs that enable them to quickly re-enter the workforce in industries where secure employment is available.
Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America's Future
Reason for Seeking Public Office:
My commitment to public service was inspired early on by my grandfather, who told me stories about participating in Gandhi?s independence movement in India and spending several years in jail for promoting human rights. Somewhat serendipitously, I became involved in politics while attending the University of Chicago, where I worked on the campaign of a little-known candidate for state Senate named Barack Obama. Later, I worked on Obama?s presidential campaign.