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

City of Gilroy

Jan Bernstein Chargin

I support the right of all families to thrive and pursue their goals, and recognize that many families struggle due to poverty, disability, or the legacy of discrimination. They need housing that is affordable at every income level, good jobs, nutritious food, healthcare, equity in education, and transportation options.

  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?

    The top three issues are the lack of housing that is affordable at the lowest income levels, the difficulty of commuting, and the high expense of childcare. I will pursue policies that encourage smart growth, to bring jobs closer to housing, higher density along transit corridors, and the expansion of childcare options for working parents.

  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?

    To ensure the availability of local care, I would work to eliminate barriers for in-home care providers, and encourage zoning for childcare centers adjacent to residential neighborhoods and job centers. We also must ensure that childcare workers can afford to live in our community by developing housing affordable at every income level. We can partner with Gavilan College to ensure that there are trained childcare professionals to fill these roles, and with Santa Clara County to attract childcare subsidies for low-income workers.

  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?

    To increase equality of opportunity we must ensure that children can grow up in stable homes in safe neighborhoods with access to food and enrichment activities. The city must provide opportunities for the arts, music, and recreation for children regardless of income, and make sure that every neighborhood has access to parks and bike trails. Addressing the housing shortage is at the heart of ensuring that families have stability and are not spending a disproportionate share of their incomes on rent.

  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?

    Every aspect of our community must be inclusive of children (and adults!) with differing abilities, both physical and mental. This includes accessible playgrounds and public facilities, as well as consideration of the needs of people with vision and hearing differences. It also includes public education on neurodiversity and the range of experiences and behaviors that exist, and to eliminate the stigma of existing in society with physical or neurological differences.

  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?

    The City of Gilroy must actively partner with Santa Clara County to ensure that behavioral health services, including crisis mental health intervention, are available and accessible. Too often families must travel long distances with children in crisis to access care. Those who aren't able to travel do not get served. We must ensure that our growing population has local access to services that help ALL families to thrive.