Gautam “Gary” Barve’s baseball cap gives a hint about what makes him tick.
Although his education and work experience are in the high-tech industry, Barve said Donald Trump fuels his passion for politics.
“I began to realize while working in technology that it wasn’t giving meaning to my life,” Barve said. “Having a bold vision for Santa Clara — that’s something that really drives me.”
So he gave up his job as a business development manager for Harbinger Systems to campaign full time, and traded his suit for a “Make Santa Clara Great” red baseball cap.
The 36-year-old wants to bring his business savvy to the Santa Clara City Council and is vying for a seat against Anthony Becker and Robert Mezzetti in District 6.
A proud Republican, Barve said he favors low taxes and limited government. He is against raising property taxes for businesses or individuals.
“Nothing worth achieving in life comes easily,” Barve said. “President Donald J. Trump believes you should find work in life that you are really passionate about, and then do it with 100% commitment. I’m completely dedicated to this.”
Barve credits Trump with helping him battle his “depression-related illness” by bringing him optimism and positivity.
“There’s a video on YouTube, ‘Ten Rules by President Trump.’ It’s a great video. Really inspiring,” Barve said. “I’ve watched it, without exaggerating, 60 or 70 times.”
Public safety, the economy and building a denser downtown are his top three priorities. Barve said he supports defending the police rather than defunding them.
“Some of the recent incidents were horrific,” Barve said, “but most police officers are great people who run toward danger and protect civilians they don’t even know. We should support our police.”
Barve said he would ensure the police department has the resources it needs to protect residents, including during protests.
Working with small businesses through the Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce helped him understand their requirements and struggles, Barve said, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Barve said he would create a small business assistance fund and is in favor of converting restaurant parking spaces into eating areas.
“I think we can do more for our small businesses,” Barve said. “The city is spending its capital. I would redirect those funds to help our small businesses.”
Barve said he could bring Santa Clara out of its $34 million budget deficit with his business experience, especially in negotiating contracts.
“There’s a lot of friction between the 49ers and the City Council,” Barve said. “We have to work collaboratively with them. They’re a great business.”
If elected, Barve said he would immediately eliminate Levi Stadium’s 10 p.m. curfew to increase revenue coming into the general fund. The San Francisco 49ers have blamed the curfew with extremely reduced profits from non-football events.
“If you remove the 10 p.m. curfew, you can sign a lot more artists,” Barve said. “At every event Levi Stadium has, the city general fund on average generates half a million dollars. We need to make sure Levi Stadium is able to sign concerts.”
Barve has a vision for expanding downtown.
“There is a movement to build a thriving Franklin Square downtown,” Barve said. “I suggest we build Franklin Square downtown with high density.”
Barve, who rents an apartment, said having more apartments available would decrease rental costs. He also said building more infrastructure would benefit the city’s economy. “It will generate millions of dollars of revenue for the city,” he said.
Barve, who enjoys listening to Keith Urban while driving, considers himself an honest, dedicated person and a good consensus builder. In addition to his parents and close friends, he considers Peter Kuo, California GOP vice chair, his mentor.
Kris Cannis, a volunteer with the Santa Clara County Republican Party, canvasses with Barve.
“Gary has some real concrete solutions to problems in Santa Clara,” Cannis said. “Gary wants to make sure whatever policies he supports are based on what citizens of Santa Clara want. He has fiscal solutions that will support not only business but citizens.”
Barve said understanding residents’ vision of the city and getting their input is very important to him. He carries campaign signs rather than flyers door-to-door and asks residents if he can post them in their yards.
He had a ready smile as he canvassed along Forbes Ave. last month. Although he and Cannis wore masks, they often only covered their chins.
“Frankly, no,” Barve said when asked if he had any concerns regarding canvassing during COVID-19. “If we follow social distancing and wear the masks, but especially following social distancing.”
Barve introduced himself to residents as a City Council candidate and a Republican endorsed by the Republican party.
“I was wondering if you’d have a few minutes to talk about the campaign,” he said to Santa Clara resident Timothy Ochsner.
“I’m disgusted with the City Council,” Ochsner said. “They’re building all this high-density housing. We already have too many people driving here. They’re trying to get businesses next to housing and building too many houses.”
Barve told Ochsner building high-density housing in Franklin Square was part of his political agenda, but reassured him he would safeguard Prop. 13 and bring his pro-business policies to tackling the city’s budget shortfall without raising taxes.
Ochsner agreed to post Barve’s campaign sign on his lawn.
Barve was born in Summit, New Jersey. His family moved to Santa Clara before making its home in India when Barve was four. Barve received his undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from Pune University in India and a Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurial Strategy from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Through the years, Barve visited relatives in Massachusetts and at age 22, moved there and worked for a financial software company as a business analyst. In 2013, Barve moved to Santa Clara for work.
“I have a bold vision for Santa Clara,” Barve said. “If I’m elected to the Santa Clara City Council I will do everything I can to realize that vision.”
According to campaign finance reports, Barve has raised $18,245 and spent $20,158.76 this year until Sept. 19.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
AT A GLANCE
Name: Gautam ‘Gary’ Barve
Political affiliation: Republican
Education: MBA in Entrepreneurial Strategy from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
Profession: Self-employed computer engineer
Current or previously elected or appointed positions: N/A
Top 3 priorities: Economy: increasing revenue for Santa Clara without increasing taxes; Safety: Defending, not defunding, police; Solutions: Real practical solutions, and not rhetoric
Top 3 endorsements: Santa Clara County Republican Party, Silicon Valley Association Of Republican Women, Peter Kuo, vice chair, California Republican Party
Special talent: N/A
In one sentence, why vote for you?: I will keep my promises and make Santa Clara great.
Contact: Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected]