Running for Lake Forest City Council District 1: Richa Sharma
Where appropriate, add specifics about office sought: i.e., State Senate District 1, State Assembly District 2, Temecula City Council District 1, etc.
Lake Forest City Council District 1
Party affiliation (not needed in non-partisan races, including county, city and school offices)
Andy Sharma (husband), Shubh Sharma (son), Ayan Sharma (son), Leo Sharma (dog)
Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?
MS Computer Science, Cal State Long Beach. Diploma Early Childhood education
Small business owner, Lake Forest Montessori (4 years), Customer Service in Software Technology (16 years)
Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office
The single most pressing issue facing our (state, district, community, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
The current pandemic and recovery from it poses the most significant economic challenge to our city. Just like small businesses, our city is also facing a decline in revenue. In the year 2020, the city’s revenue has dropped by 20%. It is imperative that city finds creative ways to cut expenses, and equally imperative, that it does so without sacrificing programs that strengthen the community.
My small business has faced tough times because of COVID related shutdown. An adversity, I recognized as an opportunity and challenge that I had to rise up to. Challenge to keep everyone’s jobs and stretch my business dollars in a way that it was beneficial for everyone. I will carry this axiom to the City Council and find means to save our tax dollars.
Through the ongoing course of this pandemic, I have interacted and worked with multiple agencies (SBA, County, City). I will work with the chamber of commerce to help local businesses garner more knowledge on various grants that can help them ride this crisis.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
My experience makes me ready from day one.
1) I have worked in a large global organization and now I run my own business in Lake Forest. I work very well within a team and recognize the significance of consensus in achieving progress.
2) My small business creates many direct and indirect jobs. I am the best candidate to help our businesses come out stronger at the other end of the pandemic.
3) As a trained software technologist with 16 years of experience, I can identify avenues to deploy technology for efficiency and savings.
4) I have extensive experience working with the government and various local and state regulatory agencies.
If you are a challenger, in what way has the current officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform
My campaign platform rests on following four pillars:
1) Public Safety
a) Pledging adequate public safety funds to law enforcement.
b) Encouraging more neighborhood watch groups’ to collaborate and better communicate with each other and law enforcement.
2) Opportunity (Business Development)
a) Attract new businesses to Lake Forest by highlighting the benefits:
– Lower rents than Irvine
– Access to South Irvine and Lake Forest residents
b) Encourage residents to buy local through community outreach programs.
c) Advocate more cross-selling among local businesses via various initiatives at the local chamber of commerce.
3) Efficiency (Fiscal prudence)
a) Review existing spending and find opportunities to reduce expenses by re-negotiating with vendors.
b) Drive efficiencies and improve civic engagement by deploying technology-enabled services.
4) Quality of life
a) Recreation: Budget adequate resources to preserve open spaces
b) Education: Work with developers and the school district to establish a new school
c) Senior programs: Continue investments into senior programs
d) Traffic: Partner with neighboring cities to streamline traffic flow.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
My passion is to serve. As a software professional, I worked with various demanding customers of a global technology firm and consistently received rave customer reviews.
I, frequently, volunteer my time in community service. I’m the OC chapter director for North-South Foundation, a nonprofit that encourages STEM education among children.
After the birth of my children, I got passionate about childhood education and worked in the direction of acquiring an early childhood education diploma. Now, I run Lake Forest Montessori that serves the families of our city.
I’m experienced in running a business successfully through normal or challenging times. In short, I get things done. The city council will benefit from my experience.
If you win this position, what accomplishment would make your term in office as a success?
I will call my term successful if we can achieve the following:
1) Increasing safety ranking of Lake Forest. Currently, we are ranked 46th safest in CA while all neighboring cities rank much higher in safety than us.
2) Bringing more small businesses into the city
3) Driving more civic engagement via technology-enabled services
Why should voters trust you?
I am an honest and hardworking woman with a stellar reputation built by decades of integrity driven hard work. My business, Lake Forest Montessori, serves our community with childcare needs. When families bring their children to our school, they put trust in me to keep their child safe. I believe they can depend on me to represent them effectively.
What are your views on fiscal policy, government spending and the use of taxpayer dollars in the office you are seeking?
As a businesswoman, I spend every dollar wisely. To me, the tax dollar is sacred. We need to find opportunities to improve efficiency, reduce waste in spending to balance the budget.
Is there any reason you would not serve your full term of office, other than those of health or family?
The best advice ever shared with me was …
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I’m blessed to be living in this community. My husband, I, and our two teenage boys have received much love and kindness and I feel that this is my time to give back. I believe in good Karma and paying it forward. Thus, I have pledged to donate my city salary to local charities. My neighbors are my friends and my friends are also my family. God bless.
Do you have a question to ask your candidate? Do so in comments! or email your Patch Editor.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .