On Nov. 6, 2018, General Municipal Election will take place as Cupertino citizens cast their ballots. During this event, five of the eight candidates will be elected to be Councilmembers for a four-year term. One month ago, the Cupertino citizens who chose to vote by mail were given the election ballots to vote.
With election day approaching, candidate Tara Sreekrishnan finds herself amidst a busy schedule as she talks with Cupertino residents while managing campaign finances. Growing up in the Silicon Valley and having attended both Kennedy MS and MVHS, Sreekrishnan was inspired by her parents who were involved in public service. For Sreekrishnan, who did not see her youth, as she is the youngest candidate at the age of 25, as a disadvantage.
“I think that we’re in a movement in our country where young, capable people, especially women are stepping up and running for office,” Sreekrishnan said. “So I’m definitely proud to be part of that movement. And it’s seen as less of an anomaly now with that movement in our country. And I think it’d be great to have younger people at the table making policy decisions.”
Thanks to her past experiences with campaigning, Sreekrishnan learned the success and failures of a campaign, allowing her to avoid making the same mistakes as she experienced during her previous campaigns when she runs for the City Council. Sreekrishnan believes that Cupertino residents are not engaged before the election results, but when the candidate is officially elected, the reasoning and facts behind their election is not transparent to the community, creating distrust between the residents and the government.
“People feel really disconnected to their city council and elected officials,” Sreekrishnan said. “They feel like their City Council’s unresponsive and they feel a disconnect between a lot of the decisions the city makes.”
To resolve this issue, Sreekrishnan’s campaign included plans to be able to talk with Cupertino residents on a one-on-one basis in order to fully express their beliefs. Throughout her campaign, Sreekrishnan not only focuses on her policies but also shapes her reputation as a potential Councilwoman.
“I’m very solutions oriented. I think about the legislative avenues we can take to tackle our different challenges,” Sreekrishnan said. “I genuinely believe in public service and I want to make a positive change in my community. And I think that’s a message that resonates.”
Like any other first-time political candidate, Sreekrishnan experiences challenges. However, Sreekrishnan believes that these challenges can be viewed in an optimistic light.
“I’m up against almost everyone else [who has] been [an] elected official or incumbent or [a] former council member, so it’s the first time most folks are meeting me,” Sreekrishnan said. “But that’s also an advantage because people want fresh leadership at this point. [...] Another challenge [was] campaigning, it’s a 24/7 job. So that’s been a challenge.”
Regardless of the hardships Sreekrishnan may face, ultimately, she strives to maintain her uniqueness as one of the eight candidates running for City Council.
“Don’t let others try to define you or change your message,” Sreekrishnan said. “You always need to be clear about your message and be in control of your message.”