The Walk-Bike Cupertino board recently met with two candidates for the State Assembly Member for District 26 position to learn their views and experience with walking and biking issues. The candidates are running to replace Evan Low, the current State Assembly Member who is now running for State Representative Anna Eshoo’s seat.
Walk-Bike Cupertino is not a political organization and does not endorse any candidates, but we do acknowledge that our elected leaders decide what infrastructure is built and which bills get passed. Therefore it’s important that the walking and biking community learns what support the candidates will give to these issues.
Both Patrick Ahrens and Tara Sreekrishnan met with our board for an hour each of lively discussion. Omar Din was unable to speak with us. Our conversations touched on a lot of topics, but below are our impressions on issues related to walking, biking, and alternative transportation.
We hope this short summary is helpful to you. We encourage everyone to vote in the Primary in March (if this applies to you), and in the general election in November!
Patrick is currently serving his second term as President of the Foothill-De Anza (FHDA) Community College District Board. He has also served for eight years as the District Director for current Assemblymember Evan Low. He grew up in Cupertino and currently resides in Sunnyvale. He holds an Associate’s Degree from De Anza College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of California Los Angeles, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from San José State University.
Patrick impressed the Walk-Bike Cupertino board with his combination of deep local knowledge and proven track record. He is a proven and active supporter of pedestrian and cycling policy and infrastructure in Cupertino. Patrick was instrumental in helping the city to obtain a recent $5 million grant to rebuild the McClellan Rd bridge at Stevens Creek and created a Clipper transit pass program with VTA to encourage DeAnza/Foothill students to use transit and walk to college instead of driving. This program is now being adopted by other colleges in California. Patrick is the only candidate who is supporting the Stevens Creek Boulevard Corridor Study.
He is extremely familiar with the Cupertino community, our civic leaders, which enabled him to express an in-depth and nuanced understanding of the issues that we are dealing with as a city. His hands-on direct experience working on district issues and building connections with other civic and community leaders in the South Bay was clearly demonstrated in his answers to our questions.
Learn more about Patrick at his website: https://patrickahrens.com/
Tara served as the Deputy Chief of Staff to California State Senator Dave Cortese. She previously served as Chief of Staff and Policy and Outreach Director for Cortese on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. She is currently Vice-President of the Santa Clara County Board of Education to which she was initially appointed in 2021 to complete a partial term. Tara previously ran for a spot on the Cupertino City Council in 2018.
Tara has a strong background in working on state legislation and a proven climate focus. Tara was one of the co-founders of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action in which students work on projects focused on combating climate change. She has also worked with Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) as a resident voice.
Tara seems very knowledgeable about district issues. While she has a strong climate focus, she did not outline any experience in pedestrian and cycling policy and infrastructure, nor cite any bike/ped issues that she would champion as an Assembly member. With Tara’s strong focus on climate change, it was clear she plans to support bills regarding alternative transportation.
Learn more about Tara at her website – https://www.tarasreekrishnan.com/