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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election

California State AssemblyCandidate for District 14

Photo of Harmesh Kumar

Harmesh Kumar

Democratic
Psychologist
10,694 votes (10%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Foster strong economic opportunities for all District 14 residents.
  • Bring world class education starting from K-12 education.
  • Bring fiscal responsibility introducing bills to boost industry, job growth and create a safer district 14.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Licensed Neuro-Psychologist
President and CEO of TRS Inc - Jannat Care Services Inc., Self-employed (1993–current)
Member Finance Oversight Committee, City of Concord, CA — Appointed position (2010–2015)
The Commissioner on the Human Relations Commission, The City of Concord, CA — Appointed position (2006–2010)

Education

UCSF Post Doctoral Training in Clinical Nuero-Psychology under the Supervision of Dr. Ronald Ruff (AP - Psychiatry), Clinical Neuro-Psychology (1993)
PGIMER - (Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research) Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Clinical Neuro-Psychology (1990)

Community Activities

Board Member, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County (2003–2014)

Biography

My Life's Work

 

I began my career in India as a psychologist in 1983, working with the World Health Organization’s Collaborative Center for Mental Health and Research. At this time I also taught General Psychology to Masters and Bachelors level nursing students at the PGIMER College of Nursing in Chandigarh, India. In addition, I was the Assistant Editor of the Indian Journal of Clinical Psychology, the official publication of Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists, from 1984 to 1986.

 

I immigrated to the United States in 1990, teaching courses to graduate students at the Rosebridge School of Integrative Psychology. I have always been devoted to research in the neurobehavioral and neuropsychological fields. It was a few years later in 1993 that I co-founded The Hume Center, one of the largest mental health training centers in the Bay Area. I presided over it until 2004.

 

I got involved in community work very soon after my immigration to this country. I began participating in community health fairs hosted by various local organizations, to provide free mental health services to Veterans with PTSD, the Homeless, and Survivors of Domestic Violence. I have always believed that cost should never be a barrier to these necessary services.

 

I then began serving in leadership roles with numerous professional groups and organizations. I originally worked with the Federation of Indo-American Associations and the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin to provide free services, and soon went on to serve as the chair for the local chapter of the Allied Health Professionals in 1994 and 1995, and again in 2010. I also chaired a committee on cross-cultural issues in neuropsychology for the Northern California Neuropsychological Forum from 1995 to 1997.

 

After a few years of involvement with professional groups, I began working in the community. I served on the executive board of the Contra Costa Interfaith Council for more than 12 years, and it was with their help that I was able to start the annual Spring Festival in Downtown Concord in 2004. I also served as the president of the Federation of Indo-American Associations, a Board Member with the Monument Community Partnership in Concord, a member of the Advisory Council for the India Community Center, the chair of Concord’s Human Relations Commission from 2006 to 2010, a member of Concord’s Measure Q committee, overseeing the use of revenue generated by a city sales tax increase, and a Trustee with the Ik Onkar Peace Association, a group affiliated with the United Religions Initiative. It was with this group that I was able to attend the World Parliament of Religions that took place in Barcelona in 2004.

 

My work in Mental Health and Community Development has been recognized by Former President Bill Clinton, as well as members of our Congress, State Senate, State Assembly, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, and the Concord City Council.

 

Today I preside over two organizations. The first is my business, Therapeutic Residential Care Services. TRCS operates several state licensed assisted living facilities across California, serving the elderly and the developmentally disabled. The second is a nonprofit, the South Asian Behavioral Health and Training Center. The SABH Center works to provide mental health, residential care services, and cultural sensitivity training to all people.

 

 

It is this experience that I hope to use as your State Assembly member and why I ask for your support on June 7th, 2016

Questions & Answers

Questions from The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and California Counts, a public media collaboration. (6)

Climate changes and the continuing drought worry many in California. What new strategies do you believe would ensure that California is able to both satisfy its water needs and protect the environment? Please be specific. 
Answer from Harmesh Kumar:

First of all, i do not support the Delta Water Tunnel Project. It will destroy the local ecology. I would like to create local water storage facilities, under local control to be designated for agricultural and household usage. Work to create mental awareness about sustainabilty  of human life and wild life and importance of our natural resources.

Many Californians are concerned about the influence of money in politics. What can the state legislature do to ensure that decision-making by elected officials is not swayed by moneyed interests at the expense of constituents?
Answer from Harmesh Kumar:

It is very clear that outside money plays a significant role in our District 14 as we have seen from numerous mailers being sent to our homes by independent expense committees operated by secret identities. Therefore, we need to create financial transparency to know who is actually funding the candidates. I do not and will not accept any money from special interest groups in my campaign.   

There are a variety of proposals to raise California's minimum wage. Many of these proposals face opposition from business groups who are concerned that they would kill jobs. Do you support increasing the minimum wage in California?  In your answer please explain your position on the relationship between wages and jobs with specific reference to the situation in your district. 
Answer from Harmesh Kumar:

The minimum wages issue is an important one to all families at my district. However, we need to look at cost of living and minimum wage issue at the regional levels because living expesnes and business expenses are different at different locations. We also need to take into consideration the burdens on small business owners who are being suffocated with new mandates with some tax incentives to be able to sustain themselves and are able to offer employment to local residents.    

What are your top three fiscal priorities, recognizing the need to balance the state’s income with its spending?
Answer from Harmesh Kumar:

My top fiscal priorities would be as follows;

  1. I would like to work towards allocating our burget based on the needs of all Californians, not special interest groups. 
  2. I would like to increase funding for education, affordable housing, mental health services and work towards universal health care for all Californians.
  3. I would like to reduce waste and spending on nonproductive services to reduce prison population creating more opportunities to intergrate inmates into the community.
If elected, what solutions do you propose to deal with the high cost of living in the Bay Area?
Answer from Harmesh Kumar:

I would like to propose an affordable housing bond for Californians so to decrease homelessness and to allocate minimum 30% in single family and apartment units to low income families. I would like to propose subsidies to low income families to make ends meet to prevent future homelessness. I would work for my district to help change existing laws which are too restricitve for human growth such as; difficulty in qualifying for affordable housing for ex-offenders, mental ill and elderly in the state. At last, I would like to explore innovative and out of the box new ideas and incentives to provide support to family members who are caring for elders and disabled to keep them at home rather than placing them in skilled nursing facilities so to save money for the taxpayers.

What steps are needed to improve region-wide transportation planning and the growing traffic congestion?
Answer from Harmesh Kumar:

We need to use multi pronged strategies to ease traffic congestion on our freeways. We need to create local jobs and affordable public transportation to move people and goods in a smooth manner. If elected, I would like to bring various stakeholders to explore solutions which are sustainable, cost-effective for the people in my district. There is no doubt that we need to create more funding for improvements of our roads, bridges and other infrastructures. I would also work on exploring the idea to extend Bart into various areas of my district. We also need to develop water fronts like European countries and alternate transportation creaating sustaible job opportunities. 

Who gave money to this candidate?

Contributions

Total money raised: $1,000

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

1
Employees of Wendy's Company
$1,000

More information about contributions

By State:

California 100.00%
100.00%

By Size:

Large contributions (100.00%)
Small contributions (0.00%)
100.00%

By Type:

From organizations (0.00%)
From individuals (100.00%)
100.00%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I am a licensed clinical psychologist and I operate my own private practice in Concord. I turned my lifelong joy of helping others into my profession, and I have worked in the mental health field for three decades. There is a saying that if you find joy in your work you will never work a day in your life, and I have found that to be true.

 

I am also an immigrant, I came to this country from my native India over 30 years ago and embarked on what we call the American Dream. After many years of sacrifice and hard work, I am now privileged to operate a network of well-recognized assisted living facilities across Northern and Central California.

 

However, in my success I have never lost sight of what is truly important about my job, and I take ensuring the well-being and happiness of those I am trusted in caring for very seriously. In addition, I still make time to offer free services to the most vulnerable in our community, such as veterans with PTSD, substance abusers, the homeless, and survivors of domestic violence.

 

I am very proud to live in a place like the Bay Area that is home to such a great representation of the so-called “Great American Melting Pot”. About 15 years ago I created the annual Spring Festival, which takes place in Todo Santos Plaza near my home in Concord, to provide a space for us to share our unique heritage. I have also served on the Contra Costa Interfaith Council. Our communities benefit immensely any time that we can find a way to discover the unity in our diversity.

 

I have had several other opportunities to serve my community that I am proud of. Since its inception, I have been in a position of providing oversight for Concord’s use of revenues generated by a half cent sales tax increase that city voters approved several years ago. Our elected officials must never forget that taxes are generated by the people that put them in office.

 

I chose to run for state government because for many years now I have been disheartened by what I have observed from today’s political machine. It is a blessing that the Bay Area is such as prosperous place, but many times we fail to take notice of those in our communities who don’t share that blessing, and unfortunately most of our elected officials don’t seem to either.

 

 

I ask for your support in the June 7th primary because I have seen the problems and holes in our social safety nets, and other shortcomings of our state government in my experience as a mental health professional, and I want to be a part of real solutions. We have a saying in India, that one must “light a candle” rather than “curse the darkness”, and that is what I wish to do as a member of our State Assembly.

Position Papers

I am your candidate for a better future!

Summary

My journey in California has been very encouraging for I've believed in serving the udner served and keeping the promise of the American dream alive. I've been fortunate to help the most vulnerable especially our veterans, homeless, disabled and the elderly. I am running for this office to serve the people and have all voices heard. I want to bring sanity back to fragmented State policies. Like to invest more in our children starting with pre-school and K-12 education. I want to tackle affordable housing and reunite families with humane changes in our Criminal Justice System, strengthening our middle class bringing back sustainable jobs to District 14 in especially in bio-techenology and renewal energy sectors. 

 

I know I have what it takes to bring about change in Sacramento, because I have a proven record of leadership helping individuals and famiies who needed us the most. I have the courage to oppose the status-quo and work with opposing views to create common-sense solutions to our problems.  

My Focus in this Election

I am the voice of those who are not being heard, we are over-taxed and jobs are moving outside the Bay Area. Our education system is failing our children and making higher education unattainable and unaffordable. Their dreams to find a job and own a house locally are fading very fast. Our priorities are not human friendly and provide few resources to families to sustain. Every $100 we pay in our local property taxes and we only get $10 for local use and $90 is grabbed by the State. This is not a right way to flourish in our district.    

I am not part of the establishment.  I have a vision for better future for the residents of my district. 

I hear on a daily basis the frustration of the disenfranchised voters who believe their parties may have failed them. I am the candidate who will serve the common good.

Hopelessness does not only exist in people living under the freeways but also it has creeped into the lives of youth who cannot find jobs and are burdened with huge amount of loans which they cannot pay. Minimum wages does not allow them to move upward with vertical mobility.

My focus will be to work hard on the following issues;

·         Preventing Crime measures and Reducing Recidivism

·         Meeting Our Transportation Needs – Fixing Pot holes

·         Keeping Law Enforcement Accountable with Humane Training

·      Returning Funding to Local Governments – e.g. $100 we pay in property taxes and we get only $10 for local use

·         Hostile Small Business environment leading to exodus of jobs to outside of California.

·         Decriminalizing Homelessness

·         Making Family Leave Act a right not a priviledge. 

·         Common Sense policies to reduce Traffic Fines for minor offenses.

·         Keeping Insurance Companies Accountable

·         Sustainable Regional Growth with local control

·         Ensuring Access to Quality Health Care

·         The Cost of College

 You can read more on my website:www.drkumar4assembly.com

 

Videos (1)

— May 9, 2016 Organization, Vallejo City of God

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