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Tuesday November 8, 2022 — California General Election
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California State SenateCandidate for District 10

Photo of Aisha Wahab

Aisha Wahab

City Councilmember/Businesswoman
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Housing At All Income Levels - addressing the housing affordability crisis
  • Supporting Small Businesses that Create Local Jobs - tackling income inequality and opportunity inequality
  • Public Safety for All & Protecting the Environment & Combating Climate Change

Experience

Experience

Profession:Hayward City Councilmember
City Councilmember, Hayward City Council — Elected position (2018–current)
Chair, Alameda County Human Relations Commission — Appointed position (2011–2017)
Commissioner, Alameda County Public Health Commission — Appointed position (2011–2014)

Education

San Jose State University BA (current)
California State University East Bay MBA (current)

Community Activities

Board Member, Afghan Coalition (2012–2021)
Board Member, Abode Services (2016–2018)
Board Member, Tri-City Volunteers (2015–2016)

Biography

Aisha Wahab is a community leader fighting for solutions to put the American dream within our reach. When she won her seat on Hayward City Council in 2018, Aisha made national headlines as the first Afghan-American woman elected to public office in the United States. As Mayor Pro Tempore & City Council Member of Hayward, Aisha has implemented policies that reduce economic inequality, expand homeownership opportunities, support small businesses, and strengthen safety nets for seniors, women, children and working families. For Aisha, working to establish and improve these programs is personal. 

Before she could tie her own shoes, Aisha was placed in foster care after her father was brutally murdered and her mother died at an early age. Her experiences inform her understanding of the struggles many silently face. Aisha was fortunate to be adopted by a young, self-employed couple in the Bay Area who taught her the values of hard work, perseverance, and pride in their American identity. 

Like so many Bay Area residents, Aisha and her family have struggled with the cost of living. In 2011, her family home was foreclosed on, her parents lost their business, her father’s health began to deteriorate, and Aisha was laid off from her job. After being priced out of Fremont, Aisha and her family moved to Hayward where she began to attend council meetings and advocate for affordable housing. 

Aisha ran for Hayward City Council to amplify the voices of renters and build a community that everyone can afford to call home. She was proud to earn the greatest number of votes for the city council in 2018. She continues to work as an advocate and organizer for seniors, women, and children. Aisha is dedicated to addressing issues including housing affordability, civic engagement, education, and economic inequality. Prior to her career in public service, Aisha worked at non-profits, community organizing, and technology.

 

Aisha previously served as the Chair of the Alameda County Human Relations Commission and a Board Member for the nonprofits Afghan Coalition, Abode Services, and Tri-City Volunteers. She has also served as an Alameda County Public Health Commissioner and an organizer and speaker at the Bay Area Women’s March. In 2013, she was selected to join the White House Roundtable of Afghan-American Leaders. Aisha has a B.A., M.B.A., and a doctoral student with a focus on reducing economic inequality.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)

Describe what proposal(s) you would support to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing for middle and low income people in California?
Answer from Aisha Wahab:

Housing at all income levels is a priority for me.

On Council, I've increased affordable rental housing by 1,000% (1000 units to 10,000 units), affordable developments to be a part of new developments, and ensured a down-payment assistance program. I want to continue this work for all Californians. 

I’m going to protect our housing market (single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and rentals) from predatory practices of institutional investors - and protect the true mom & pop landlords.

The laws haven’t caught up with the current practices. Firms like Zillow purchase “affordable” homes before a regular person can even make a bid or see it online. We have a problem when firms benefit from the foreclosure market, or when monopolies in some cities raise rents.

I will ensure that all developments create affordable housing at mixed-income levels.

Developers and cities have been playing a game of hot potato when it comes to who is responsible for creating affordable housing; cities state the developer is responsible for pricing homes, and developers state that they adhere to city requirements. In fact, it is inherently in the best interest of cities to have higher-cost homes as the increased property taxes are revenue for the city. While developers often pay in-lieu fees rather than create affordable housing as it’s quicker and cheaper to do so, people are being priced out.

I’ll prioritize policies that support our first–time home buyers, buyers that plan to make the home a primary residence, and incentivize opportunities for home-ownership for people that earn a decent income but still are unable to compete in the housing market.

This will ensure that speculative investors are unable to out-compete regular people. It will allow families to actually be able to purchase their first home and be given priority preference. We need to prioritize our residents above all else. 

I will ensure people’s transition into safe housing is permanent with services that support their ability to stand on their own two feet permanently.

Non-profits need to be held to a standard of impact, permanent impact, not just people served. The support individuals receive needs to be measured from entry of a program to 1-year post-exit of a program to see the benefits. Accountability is missing in service providers and that should be a priority. 

 

To reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, as set forth in a 2018 executive order what, if any, proposals, plans or legislation would you support?  Please be specific.
Answer from Aisha Wahab:

I’m committed to investing in a robust infrastructure that will not only create jobs but will reduce carbon emissions in line with the timelines projected by scientists.

We need to reduce carbon emissions and pursue net-zero emissions (carbon neutrality) by 2027 (not 2045). We need to reduce wildfires and protect against drought. Green infrastructure will allow us to do just this.

I’ll hold bad actors responsible and protect the people, animals, and land impacted.

Fires, habitat destruction and more have been taken place with soft slaps on the wrist. It is the responsibility of our policymakers to ensure that people and the environment is protected from bad actors regardless of who they are. 

I will prioritize our local response and ensure that efficient processes are in place to maximize the safety of our communities. 

I'll ensure that our water, electricity, and whole way of life are protected against environmental catastrophes by creating regional models of response. This includes grounding wires, solar on all government buildings and more, and power grids that are available to all local residents when outages take place based on this local parallel model. 

California needs environmental assessments, response mapping, and redundancy built into the local regions. 

 

What programs or strategies would you suggest to meet the educational needs of young, low-income Californians?
Answer from Aisha Wahab:
I’ll prioritize funding our public education. I’ll fight to reduce class sizes and give every kid the attention they deserve. I will ensure that teachers have the resources they need to educate the future of California. For folks that have a growing family, want to improve their quality of life, or change careers; options need to be available that meet their needs. We need accelerated programs, classes available in the evenings and weekends and online that allow for people to gain new skills to grow in their field or explore other opportunities. I’m committed to making sure we are connecting businesses and schools and teaching the skills needed for tomorrow. Local students should be able to go through a program for California’s most in-demand jobs. There should be no need for outsourcing if local talent can move through training quickly and get paid to do it.
Water

What programs, proposals, projects, or legislation would you support to meet the water needs of all Californians?

No answer provided.

Who gave money to this candidate?

Contributions

Total money raised: $965,393

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

1
American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees - CA People Small Contributor Committe
$19,400
1
California Federation of Teachers
$19,400
1
California Nurses Association
$19,400
1
California Teachers Association/Association for Better Citizenship Small Contributor Commitee
$19,400
1
Operating Engineers Local 3
$19,400
1
SEIU California
$19,400
1
SEIU United Healthcare Workers West
$19,400
1
Sheet Metal Workers Local 104
$19,400

More information about contributions

By State:

California 95.88%
Texas 0.85%
District of Columbia 0.77%
Maryland 0.56%
Other 1.93%
95.88%

By Size:

Large contributions (98.91%)
Small contributions (1.09%)
98.91%

By Type:

From organizations (67.09%)
From individuals (32.91%)
67.09%32.91%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

A roof over our heads, food on the table, a  job with benefits, affordable education and healthcare, internet access, clean air — the basics have become unattainable for far too many Californians. I’m running for State Senate to fight for hard-working families in the Bay Area and to get us back on track.

Videos (1)

— April 27, 2022 Aisha Wahab

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