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Daysog Responds to Questionnaire

What is the priority or focus of your campaign?

Alameda Post - Tony Daysog
Photo Tony Daysog / Twitter.

As a member of the US House of Representatives, I will bring a unique voice to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives with respect to my family’s lived experience, having survived the Nagasaki atomic bomb. I will draw on this family experience to push an agenda for global and domestic peace, focusing first on significantly reducing military spending and wastefulness, and second on reinvesting savings to more productive and progressive activities, such as women’s right to choose, with the following as special areas of focus: universal healthcare; climate change; and making colleges, universities, and trade schools affordable so graduates aren’t saddled with excessive student loan debt.

It is important to note that, in addition to significantly reducing military spending and waste on the “expenditure side” of the federal budget, I will also seek reforms on the “revenue raising-side” of the federal budget. The income tax system Reagan put into place in 1986 is still in place to this day, with the highest earners still not paying their fair share. That combination of the Reagan era military spending mindset and tax code is the root cause of our inadequately-funded social safety net and the acceleration in homelessness, worsening health outcomes, and economic despair, especially in urban centers throughout our nation.

Which unique skills and qualities would you bring to U.S. Congress District 12?

One of the most important and unique skills I possess is “people skills.” I grew up in the West End of our city, literally next door to the now-closed Navy base, in a working class part of the island so diverse that we thought it was normal to grow up among the incredibly rich diversity of fellow Americans who were of Filipino, Guamanian, Afghani, African, Chinese, Latino, European, and Jewish, descent. Most of my friends I grew up with possess that “cultural fluency” that allows us to communicate across cultures, races, sexual orientations, and religions. It is from this racial/cultural milieu that I developed an easy communicative manner in the way I relate to people from all walks of life. I know this helped me in becoming an elected member of Alameda’s City Council, and will help me once I am in Congress.

As a professional urban planner—I earned my master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley, where I also earned my bachelor’s degree in U.S. History—I possess the tools and experience to analyze, dissect, and recommend improvements to governmental plans, studies, and policies across all fields, including transportation, housing, climate change planning, healthcare, and military preparedness.

I am a “child of the 12th Congressional District.” I grew up in Alameda, but my family on my late father’s side, first settled in Oakland in the Fruitvale District. And while I am from Alameda, I also came of age in Berkeley. As mentioned, I studied at UC Berkeley, and long before that, as a kid, I went to Berkeley frequently because I was a violinist in a youth orchestra there and then took summer classes on the UC campus while in high school.

What are the challenges and opportunities you see for the city of Alameda now and in the future?

Housing Challenges: As part of the conveyance of Alameda Point from the Navy to the City of Alameda, both parties agreed to build up to 1,400 homes. In the event the City of Alameda decided to build more than 1,400 market rate homes, per the conveyance agreement, the city would have to require the homebuilder to pay a $100,000 fee to the Navy.  While this fee does not apply to new homes that are set aside as permanently affordable to lower-income households, it has proved to be a disincentive on the part of the City and would-be homebuilders to go above the limit of 1,400 market-rate units. In Congress, I will seek to re-negotiate this fee, so as to give the City of Alameda the option to consider building additional market-rate homes—above the 1,400 cap—at Alameda Point.

Educational Challenges: Our local school district does so much, yet operates on such a limited budget. In addition to supporting local measures such as Measure E, if elected to Congress I will seek to obtain additional federal dollars, especially for lower-income and students with special needs, so we can free up a portion of the school budget and reprogram those funds toward the general student population in a fashion that does not shortchange lower-income students and those with special needs.

Transportation and Climate Change Challenges: If elected to Congress, I will fight for funding for alternative transportation infrastructure, such as a new BART station connecting downtown Oakland-Alameda Point-San Francisco; a new bike bridge over the estuary; and funding for sea level rise programs sought by the City, such as “De Pave Park” at Alameda Point and improving groundwater infrastructure.

Tony Daysog is Vice Mayor of Alameda and a candidate for U.S. Congress 12th District.

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