Gautam “Gary” Barve hopes to bring a business-centered perspective to the Santa Clara City Council.
Running for the District 6 seat in the November election, the 35-year-old said he wants to represent Republican ideals if elected – starting with reopening the economy immediately.
Although Santa Clara County public health officials make the final call on reopening regulations – which have lagged behind other areas of the state – Barve said he’s optimistic things will change soon. The county surpassed 10,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases Aug. 1.
“I know President Trump is advocating to open the economy,” Barve told San José Spotlight. “We need to open it safely but how long can we keep our businesses closed? I think everyone would agree we built the greatest economy ever before the COVID-19 came, and now our economy needs to be on a comeback.”
Barve is running against Planning Commission Chair Anthony Becker and Robert Mezzetti to win the seat currently held by Councilmember Debi Davis. While representing the south end of the city, Barve said he isn’t focusing on any district-specific goals. Issues that affect the whole city are paramount, he said.
Alongside reopening, Barve said his biggest concern is addressing the city’s five-year, $34 million shortfall. But he’s not a fan of raising taxes, even opposing the city’s plan to ask voters to increase transient occupancy taxes on hotel stays.
His top three priorities to pursue other revenues include removing the 10 p.m. curfew on Levi’s Stadium events – a hindrance to booking talent, according to the San Francisco 49ers – revitalizing Franklin Square Mall and removing the moratorium on cannabis businesses in Santa Clara.
Barve said he’s already working full time on the campaign for the part-time councilmember position, after getting his morning cup of coffee from one of Santa Clara’s three McDonald’s. Previously working within the tech industry, he said he found new meaning in civil engagement and politics.
Serving on the council would be Barve’s first elected or appointed role within the city, and Barve said he thinks his background brings a new perspective.
“I believe I can bring that business angle to bring our economy back up again – I think that is extremely important,” Barve said. “I come from a business and technology background, and I think I can bring that experience to Santa Clara City Council, which I think would be a very, very good addition.”