Representation Matters





KLIV owner Robert Kieve recently posted a commentary regarding a series of fundraising letters sent by two former County Supervisors and myself on behalf of my campaign for the District 4 Supervisorial seat.

The letters highlight the very real gender imbalance in leadership at all levels of governance, particularly in Santa Clara County — once known as the “Feminist Capital of the World”.

Mr. Kieve apparently took this to mean that I expect voters to support me because I am the only woman in the District 4 race. He obviously did not read past the subject lines of the emails.

I am not running for this seat because I am a woman, and I would not ask people to vote for me due to an immutable characteristic such as my gender or ethnicity. I believe every one of us should vote for the candidate who we believe is the most qualified and has the most relevant experience for the office.

My emphasis on the gender imbalance is not to suggest that balance is important for the sake of parity. Ample research has shown that as more women serve on legislative bodies, those bodies become more inclusive, and more transparent.

And while it seems these days like truth is becoming a subjective endeavor, we have to agree that women’s experiences differ from those of men. They aren’t necessarily better or worse; but they are different. I’m not asking anyone to vote for me simply because I am a woman. But the fact I am a woman is not unrelated to my qualifications for the job.

As a mother of three, a school board member, and a professional woman in Silicon Valley, I understand the issues and challenges we all face through a plurality of lenses. But I do not and will not view policy through the singular lens of gender.

What I’ll bring to the table as a supervisor is the ability to consider issues that directly impact our most vulnerable populations, assess the services being provided, identify gaps, eliminate redundancies, and ensure that needs are being met in an efficient and effective manner.

Neither Susie Wilson, Blanca Alvarado, nor I suggested that my gender alone should be a reason to vote for me or financially support my campaign.

What we point out is that representation matters, that women bring something of tremendous value to the table, and that without more voices of intelligent, principled women at the table, our community cannot be fully served.

I am grateful to be given the opportunity to respond, and believe the exchange represents an excellent opportunity for us to explore the issue, because representation does matter. We've included the audio clips above. I hope you all find the dialogue illuminating. Check out my Facebook page for ongoing commentary and share yours as well.