( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Congressional Candidate Rishi Kumar Helps Communities Affected by COVID-19 Through Neighborhood Pandemic Preparedness Team
ENSPIRE Contributor: Amitha Bhat
Rishi Kumar, the Californian democratic candidate in the upcoming congressional election, is responding quickly to local communities affected by COVID-19. He has assembled the NPPT, or Neighborhood Pandemic Preparedness Team, to address issues brought to light by the pandemic.
As a resident of Silicon Valley, Rishi brings his high-tech, “getting things done,” mentality to his politics. He has set history by being the first Democratic challenger to make it past the primary election in congressional district 18. In 2018, Rishi won the council member position with the most votes in Saratoga’s 60-year election history.
Kumar is an executive board member and delegate for the Californian Democratic Party and identifies as a fiscal moderate focused on issues such as climate change, healthcare, neighborhood safety, and immigration. A unique aspect of his campaign is that he has virtuously pledged to never accept Special Interest Group or PAC money for his campaign. Seema Kumar, his partner, and wife work with him to achieve his community endeavors.
Due to the spread of COVID-19, many local communities have had difficulty handling the ramifications of the pandemic. Rishi has observed these concerns and responded with the Neighborhood Pandemic Preparedness Team.
The “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” team is devoted to making help easily accessible, expanding the framework of the Neighborhood Safety Watch Program, collaborating with elected leaders, and training neighborhood leaders in response to aid. Interns for his campaign are contributing to the efforts of the NPPT by calling and assisting seniors. Each intern is advised to reach out to 250 seniors a week, in order to ensure that the communities around them are safe. Interns are also making cloth masks and face shields for healthcare workers and citizens. Rishi’s campaign has also donated over 2500 masks to Valley Medical Foundation.
The NPPT was based on another program Rishi had pioneered, The Neighborhood Safety Watch program. Through the methods he is using for the NPPT program–identifying new neighborhood leaders and encouraging them to adapt to the new framework–Rishi’s NSW program was able to reduce crime by 47%. This proven success of a very similar program preludes the effectiveness of the NPPT.
Additionally, his website has resources for those affected by the pandemic. There is a wealth of information for seniors, families with children, small business owners, and those who are sick. For those interested in helping others, there are sign up sheets to become a Neighborhood Leader. He also provides the links to official resources that can be used by residents of Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz.
To ease the anxiety of California residents, Rishi sends out a newsletter with emerging information about the pandemic. He also holds weekly town hall meetings with healthcare professionals who can clear any misinformation propagated by the public.
For those stuck at home yet eager to learn more, Rishi has a daily podcast entitled “Reality Check with Rishi.” He covers topics such as healthcare, technology, tech jobs, the economy, and much more. Not only does he have a podcast, but also college admission webinars and coding programs.
Rishi’s grassroots campaign has been taking the initiative to make the Californian, and hopefully the nation’s, quality of life much better. From a Saratoga City Council Member to Congressional Candidate, Rishi Kumar has done the most he can to make his community the best he can.