Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

City of San Jose, Mayor

Cindy Chavez

As a mother and former Vice Mayor of San José, I have the values and experience to take on the toughest challenges facing San José families. I pushed the Children’s Health Initiative, guaranteeing every child in San José access to health insurance. I’m running for Mayor to improve our quality of life, and that means all of us.

  1. In a recent poll by Choose Children 2022 of likely general election voters, more than half of parents with children under age 18 say they are likely to move out of the Bay Area in the next few years. What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how will you make our region a place where all families can thrive?

    An Affordable Housing Future: I was an architect of the voter-approved Measure A, with 4,400 affordable homes built or in the construction pipeline. We need to take steps to make sure our city is once again affordable for working families to live, raise a family, and retire here.

    Public Health & Safety: When I served on the San Jose City Council, we were the safest big city in America. When I am Mayor, we will be again by investing in our public safety.

    Middle Class Jobs for the 21st Century: We need to work directly with community colleges and high schools to engage young people early by sharing job opportunities. We need partnerships that support education and the career ladder.

  2. As we have learned over the past three years, without quality, affordable, childcare, parents can’t go to work. What will you do to address challenges accessing childcare and preschool programs in our diverse communities?

    Childcare services not only ensure our next generation gets the nurturing they need, they help to improve the socioeconomic status and quality of life of a family. We need sustained funding to help scale childcare and to ensure quality, affordable childcare and early learning. On the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, I led the creation of the Office of Children and Families Policy Advocate to serve and legislate by prioritizing the needs of our children and families. This Office will be responsible for multiple initiatives including expanding childcare, especially in high need communities, and early learning.

  3. Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the opportunity gap that children in low-income families and children of color confront (e.g., lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors, and enrichment activities). If elected, what will you do to increase equity of opportunity?

    I believe that closing our digital divide is critical to closing our achievement gap in education. When the pandemic first hit, I worked to close the digital divide through a broadband expansion plan that secured $7 million in funding to provide tablet computers and mobile wi-fi hot spots for children who lacked the digital access they needed to learn. As Mayor, I will build on this work so that we can reach true digital equity, including through broadband expansion efforts that I’ve already launched at the County.

  4. What steps will you take to support inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities and their families to be fully included in our community?

    I spearheaded the Santa Clara County Office of Disability Affairs to ensure equity, access, and opportunity for everyone of differing abilities in our County, especially our children. As Mayor, I will work with or State Legislature, the County Office of Education as well as non-profit partners to fight for adequate funding, training, and staffing for special education so that all students have access to a high-quality education. We know that inclusion in the classroom increases graduation rates and academic performance for not only students with disabilities, but all students.

  5. There is a mental health crisis among children, youth, and those who care for and educate them. If elected, how will you use the resources of your new role to improve access to mental and behavioral health services?

    To address our growing mental health crisis among our youth, I will continue my work to expand school-based wellness centers across school sites to meet students where they are. I led the expansion of behavioral health services in our County, including increasing outpatient services, increasing the amount of intensive residential care for those with mental illness, the establishment of a Permanent Supportive Housing program serving those with serious mental illness, the expansion of the County’s hospital system by adding two additional campuses, the preservation of medical beds, the NAMI Warmline/Help Desk program, the 24/7 Sobering Center and the Behavioral Health Triage Center.