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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 18

Photo of Rishi Kumar

Rishi Kumar

Councilmember/Hi-Tech Executive
38,826 votes (16.4%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Big Money in Politics: I have pledged to not accept PAC or Special Interest money.
  • Healthcare reform is the imperative. I support Medicare for All.
  • Housing and Transportation is the current Silicon Valley challenge, impacting our quality of life.



Profession:Councilmember of Saratoga / Hi-Tech Executive
Advisory Board, Software Analytics and Vertical Strategy, Solix Technologies (2017–current)
Senior Product Manager, Cisco Systems (2013–current)
Councilmember (2nd term), City of Saratoga — Elected position (2014–current)
Vice President, Business Development, Smart Energy Water Inc (2015–2017)
Senior Director, Cloud Services, Imaginea Technologies (2014–2015)
Various, IBM (1998–2013)


University of Connecticut M.S, Mechanical Engineering (1992)

Community Activities

Executive Board Member (AD28) Third term: 2013, 2015 and 2019, California Democratic Party (2013–current)
Delegate, California Democratic Party (2013–current)


Rishi Kumar is a Silicon Valley hi-tech software executive, mechanical engineer by education, community activist and an elected leader of Saratoga. Rishi is an energetic proponent of data-driven solutions to deliver results "cheaper, faster, better" for his community. He brings the Silicon Valley hi-tech actionable, results driven mindset. As an IBM engineer, Rishi found his calling as an activist stepping up for complex community challenges that he couldn't ignore. As a councilmember of Saratoga, he led efforts to reject San Jose Water company's rate increases and reduce burglaries - two of the top challenges. This led to his re-election with the most votes in Saratoga's election history. Rishi's agenda as a fiscal moderate includes Climate Change, Healthcare, quality of life issues, housing, homelessness and traffic. Rishi brings a innovative problem-solving agenda with a "21 minutes to 21 counties" vision that expands our economy and addresses our issues with housing, homelessness and traffic logjams. A new vision for the future of Silicon Valley is needed. Rishi has the energy and a "getting things done" attitude. Rishi has pledged to NEVER accept Special Interest Group or PAC money. Rishi and his wife Seema live in Saratoga with their two sons.

Who supports this candidate?

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (3)

What financing method(s) would you support to repair or improve roads, rails, ports, airports, the electrical grid, and other infrastructure in the U.S.?
Answer from Rishi Kumar:

Improving and maintaining our crumbling infrastructure is an imperative for America, and more so here in California. But, I am not in favor of increasing taxes for this purpose. My mantra has always been providing services "cheaper, faster, better" and I have always done my utmost towards that as an elected leader of my city. For infrastructure financing, I would like to explore public-private partnerships to complement traditional funding. Silicon Valley's innovation economy benefits from tremendous ecosystem we have here. A thriving partnership between the public and private sectors would create a win-win, delivering new efficiencies and creating a robust model for investment in building and maintaining infrastructure. I am also interested to cut the inefficiencies in the public sector and make room for investment in America that will help our working families. I am not interested in regime change wars, but focusing our energies on definite a better future for Americans and our great country.

What programs or legislation, if any, would you support to help Americans of all ages to secure affordable health care?
Answer from Rishi Kumar:

There are over 30 million individuals in America who do not have adequate access to health insurance. Healthcare has become a significant burden for our working families, overshadowing any wage gains and becoming one of the primary causes of bankruptcies in the U.S. We must provide better, cheaper healthcare options for the people of America.

As your congressman, I will push for healthcare reform. I support Medicare for All. I support H.R 1384 and H.R 1046. I will push back against burgeoning healthcare costs and rising drug prices.

Big Pharma and health lobbyists have penetrated their way into our government. I have taken the pledge to not receive special interest money or PAC money and taken the “No Health Insurance and Pharma Money Pledge.”

Here is my plan for reducing healthcare costs:

·       Establish a single payer system. Many countries of the world have a high quality single payer system. America can, too!

·       Optimize our healthcare spending with preventive care and wellness options.

·       Invest in healthcare analytics and developing an Electronic Medical Record System.

·       Allow importation of  FDA approved drugs from outside USA

·       Establish fair pricing practices that are regulated by 3rd party entities for new drugs

·       Monitor and regulate against rampant annual price hikes

·       Ensure that payers are passing on rebates to patients

We need bold leadership and determination to solve our healthcare challenges. As your congressman, I will provide that leadership and make citizen-centric choices for the American people.

Describe an immigration policy that you would support if presented to the House of Representatives.
Answer from Rishi Kumar:
As an immigrant, I believe that our diversity is the strength of our nation. I will fight to protect immigrant rights, ensuring that we have a fair and just system. Separating children from their parents at our border is wrong and I will do my best to prevent such happenings in our country. I will also seek to ensure that terrorists cannot infiltrate into our country and damage infrastructure or even worse, harm our American people. I will strive to address any ongoing issues with our H1-B visa program to restore it to its original intent, protecting all workers from systemic abuses by profit-driven companies, and increasing the pool of H1-B category visas for the best talents and high-skilled foreign workers needed to further America’s economic success.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $418,795

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Rishi Kumar
Employees of Apple
Employees of Kaiser Permanente
Employees of Broadcom
Employees of Coupa

More information about contributions

By State:

California 97.82%
New Jersey 0.64%
Texas 0.51%
Connecticut 0.37%
Other 0.66%

By Size:

Large contributions (96.65%)
Small contributions (3.35%)

By Type:

From organizations (0.25%)
From individuals (99.75%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

“I am glad to be one of a handful of candidates running for Congress who refuse PAC, and Special interest money. I will fight for the issues important to our families and our neighbors, not the special interest groups with agendas that do not align with the people agenda. We need to ensure any candidate who runs for office remains beholden to the people they serve, not special interest groups. We must eliminate the loopholes that allow millions of dollars into campaigns and sway elections. We need to level the playing field for the citizen-centric policies that our country desperately needs.

**Global Climate Change
**National: Healthcare
**Regional: Housing & Homelessness, Transportation & Infrastructure
** Local: Burglaries

Healthcare: There are over 30 million individuals in America who do not have adequate access to health insurance. Big Pharma and health lobbyists have penetrated their way into our government. As your Congressman, I will push for healthcare reform. I will push back against the burgeoning healthcare costs and rising drug prices. Healthcare cost is one of the primary cause of U.S. bankruptcies. Healthcare has become a significant burden for our working families and overshadowed any wage gains. It is time we explored better, cheaper healthcare options for the people of America. Many countries of the world have a high quality single payer system. America can, too! We should optimize our healthcare spend with preventive care and wellness options.

Housing & Transportation: Our rush hour commute time goes up every year while local laws are being threatened in order to build new housing by any means. I believe that Housing and Transportation are \"two sides of the same coin\". We say \"Build, buid, build\" when it comes to housing. Is anyone thinking about our infrastructure needs? The traffic logjam? How about our quality of life impacts? Our jobs continue to grow, but so do our housing prices. I will work towards a federal transportation vision; the very future of Silicon Valley's innovation economy is at stake

Position Papers

A Mega Silicon Valley : A commute time of 21 minutes or less between 21 counties around Silicon Valley


A commute time of 21 minutes or less between 21 counties around Silicon Valley, providing affordable housing options and a megalopolis economy? Skyrocketing housing costs are pushing people farther away from their work. Our commute times have increased drastically, and people are losing precious time with their loved ones. Housing and transportation are two sides of the same coin. We say 'build, build, build' when it comes to housing, but the accompanying infrastructure needs and urban planning must be a foundation of such development. A cutting-edge, eco-friendly transportation system based on the Hyperloop technology to bring 12.2 million people living in the 21 counties of the Northern California Megaregion within a short commute of Silicon Valley jobs, would bring affordable homes within 21 minutes of valley workers. This will help spread the innovation economy to these 21 counties, while addressing Silicon Valley's problems of traffic congestion, affordable housing, homelessness and companies exiting the valley.

Municipalization of PG&E


“Public Safety power shutoffs have become a PR nightmare for PG&E while creating a huge question mark and concerns for people. The blackouts have impacted lives adversely while the economic impact is staggering! Our citizens are also asking ‘What gusty wind?’ Is this an example of a monopoly and crony capitalism? We grant PG&E a monopoly status at the cost of being governed. I believe they can be governed better!”

“I am concerned with the investor-owned utilities' profit mandates, their continued under-investment in their electric grid, and their reliance on old fossil fuel plants. I support the Green New Deal and believe that to become a clean tech economy, our utility companies have to shake the shackles of shareholder pressure and the profit mission and make better environmental and people-centric choices. The answer is to go with the public utility model and municipalization. It is time for a PG&E public take over so that we can prioritize citizen benefit over profit.”

Expanding Silicon Valley's innovation economy


"I’m running for Congress because I’m tired of seeing career politicians who don’t understand Silicon Valley’s innovation economy. Serious quality of life issues such as the housing crunch and increasing traffic congestion are causing an exodus of Silicon Valley talent. As a valley high tech executive, I have the perspective of what it takes for Silicon Valley’s economy - the 19th largest in the world - to prosper."


"We must prepare the next generation to succeed in an autonomous world. We cannot fall behind with emerging fields such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. Silicon Valley must lead the world in technological innovation!"

"We need to seed Silicon Valley's innovation success to other parts of California and America, so that our working-class families share in the economic prosperity. As your next congressman, I will implement the "21 minutes to 21 counties" Mega Silicon Valley vision plan to address our tough challenges. I will host monthly roundtable with valley CEOs to ensure Silicon Valley's continued success. I will invest in education and mentoring of our youth, and launching Entrepreneurship Incubation Centers to nurture start-ups. I have already launched youth Lego Robotics and Entrepreneurship programs, and served on the California Computer Science Strategic Implementation panel for K-12."

"Restoring Net Neutrality is crucial to a sustainable Silicon Valley Innovation culture. Data privacy and online security is a growing American concern. I support efforts such as The California Consumer Privacy Act that went live Jan 1, 2020, and the EU's General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679. I strongly support the Internet Bill of Rights."


"I have the experience and knowledge to partner with our tech leaders to develop synergies for future success. I am prepared to champion the needs of Silicon Valley in Washington." (see video)

Videos (4)

— January 28, 2020 Kumar for Congress 2020


Today we have big challenges! American voices are being drowned out by dark money in politics. Disengaged elected leaders are crippling our system. But I can champion change. We fearlessly challenged unjust rate increases of San Jose Water Company. We dropped burglaries by 41%... more than any Silicon Valley city. I was humbled to be re-elected with the most votes in city history.

Not all Democrats are the same. This race is about an incumbency of 28 years, who chairs the House Health Subcommittee, is the #1 recipient of Pharma money in Congress, and has passed legislation to increase drug prices. This race is about a “lobbyist-driven”  congress that is technologically illiterate.

 Versus me …..who has pledged to NEVER accept special Interest money, bringing a people-centric agenda, tech expertise and a “getting things done” approach.

This race is about addressing our challenges with housing, homelessness, and transportation logjams, while promoting Medicare for All, Green New Deal and removing big money from politics. We need bold leaders who will courageously forge a new path. I will work hard FOR PEOPLE, NOT SPECIAL INTERESTS. Vote for Rishi Kumar on March 3rd.

— January 28, 2020 Kumar for Congress 2020

How about a commute time of 21 minutes or less from anywhere to anywhere in the 21 counties around  Silicon Valley, expanding the current Seconomy, while addressing our housing and homelessness challenge?How can we address the core challenges that we see today with housing, transportation and homelessness, based on a foundation of a radical transportation system seeding our innovation economy in many parts of California outside Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley is the 19th largest economy of the world but has been currently impacted with quality of life challenges. This is leading to an exodus of people to other cities that promise a better quality of life. How about a Mega Silicon Valley Region built around Silicon Valley’s innovation success with high speed transportation, expanding economic opportunity and providing an affordable housing opportunity for all? The Northern California Mega Region comprised of 21 counties -- including the Bay Area, Sacramento Area, Northern San Joaquin Valley, and Monterey Bay Area - a 12.2 million population.
Silicon Valley’s economic and innovation success will certainly fit well with these counties, while providing much needed affordable housing on the backs of a cutting-edge eco-friendly transportation systems such as the hyperloop operating at top speed of 760mph. 

— January 28, 2020 RIshi Kumar for Congress 2020

Democratic candidate Rishi Kumar  is a hi-tech executive with a people-centric track record as a councilmember of Saratoga who got the most votes in Saratoga's history. Rishi is People-Powered and has pledged to NEVER accept PAC or Special Interest money, whether Big Pharma or Big Oil or any other Big Special Interests. He will make choices independently; not at the behest of lobbyists. He will alleviate the healthcare cost burden for every American.

— January 28, 2020 Kumar for Congress 2020

These endorsement videos are making a strong statement. But, why are residents of our district supporting Democratic candidate Rishi Kumar. councilmember of Saratoga and hi-tech executive for the March 3rd, 2020 California Primary? Here are 5 simple reasons:
#1 Rishi Kumar is running for United States Congress to better the lives of every person who call Silicon Valley home.
#2 Rishi  has taken the pledge to reject PAC money and Special Interest Group money. That is why the people of our district are supporting Rishi's people-centric agenda and trust that he will put their interests first, not lobbyists*
#3 Rishi is meeting with neighbors at their doors in every one of the 31 cities in our district.
#4 Rishi holds 3 face-to-face town hall meetings each month in our district - one in each county – and has been doing so over the last 6 months

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