EDITOR’S NOTE: On Sept. 27, student journalists from Summit Public School: Tahoma held a press conference to meet State Assemblymember Evan Low. See below for a compilation of their stories. More information about Rep. Low can be found on his website.
Staff photographers Justice White, Jannaya Garcia, Jasmine Lewis, Vianey Gonzaga, Amanda Ahn and Nick Inman contributed photos to this slideshow.
Rep. Evan Low speaks about California’s environmental advancements
By Aakash Baliga, Noel Cintron, Parker Leifson and Damian Pimentel
Assemblymember Evan Low has a passion for the environment, and he believes the future of the country is headed on a downward slope if steps aren’t taken to shift the nation’s energy system toward more renewable forms of energy.
On Sept. 27, California State Assemblymember Evan Low came to visit Summit Tahoma to answer questions at a student-led press conference held by the journalists of Summit News. He spoke about the state’s environment and about his belief that the nation’s current energy system is not sustainable enough to support our overall health.
Rep. Low explained in the interview: “If California was its own country, we would be the fifth largest” in global environmental health and economy. The Sacramento Bee shared some statistics that support his claim. According to Rep. Low, other states that don’t have sustainable systems are now asking California for strategies on how to make their states into clean ones.
Even though California has one of the cleanest environments, it still has its flaws, which is why Rep. Low advocates solutions to greater environmental issues.
Rep. Low’s website states, “Clean air and clean water should be a fundamental human right, not a privilege.” Fossil fuels have been dominant in the country’s energy system for decades, and USA Today estimated the country only has 53.3 years of oil left to use, pushing the country to take action fast.
Rep. Low believes communities should work together to form a solution, rather than making the energy industry a war between non-renewable fuel companies and renewable energy companies. “I am focused on partnership over partisanship,” Rep. Low said in a statement after being appointed to the State Assembly.
On Rep. Low’s website, he explains how “as a freshman member of the Assembly, I hope to bring new energy, innovative leadership and a renewed commitment to core values of creating good-paying jobs, keeping government accountable and protecting our environment to the State Assembly.”
Rep. Low strives to protect the state’s environment and to make sure the environment is safe. To this day, he continues to uphold his beliefs and to ensure that California’s environment remains stable and its resources renewable.
Assemblymember Evan Low discusses challenges of being an LGBTQ+ politician
By Sam Leger, Josh Rivera, Polina Runova and Justice White
State Assemblymember Evan Low has overcome discrimination because of his identity as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and he is now working to improve the lives of others who face similar challenges. He attended a press conference held at Summit Tahoma on Sept. 27.
“How have I faced discrimination? You name it,” Rep. Low stated during the press conference. Rep. Low began his career in politics with the intention of getting better representation and protection for minority groups.
Rep. Low has lived through the approval of Proposition 8, a statewide ballot proposition that made same-sex marriage illegal in California. “They eliminated my rights,” Rep. Low said. The proposition was declared invalid two years after its approval, and Rep. Low plans to prevent any repetition of it in the future.
Rep. Low further explained how members of the LGBTQ+ community are discriminated against. He brought up a few examples, such as biased healthcare, unfair business and the fact that blood drives won’t accept blood from gay men.
As a state assemblymember, Rep. Low aims to restrict conversion therapy that has been offered to members of the LGBTQ+ community. He explained that there has been no satisfactory data provided that proves the conversion therapy is beneficial. Instead, Rep. Low said that he intends to make healthcare accepting and that he is prepared to assist people of all genders.
An example can be found in Assembly Bill 2943, a bill Rep. Low helped pass. His website overview of the bill states that “Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) is a prohibited practice under the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act.”
While still having many plans to improve the lives of the LGBTQ+ community, Rep. Low has already taken many steps toward equality. On his website, he lists AJR 22 as one of his legislative accomplishments for 2017. This bill “urges Secretary of Defense James Mattis to continue to allow transgender individuals to serve in the military” and states that the National Guard may not take any discriminatory actions against them.
Another bill that Rep. Low lists as one of his accomplishments is ARJ 16, a bill asking the president to express support for the members of the LGBTQ+ community located in the Chechen Republic and to denounce the government for allowing the severe discriminations to continue.
State Assemblymember Rep. Low spoke of many issues during his press conference and of his plans to help solve them. He admits that our country is not perfect, and he said, “There’s a reason why we have a Women’s March. There’s a reason why we have Gay Pride. There’s a reason why we have a March for our Lives. There’s a reason why we have Black Lives Matter. There’s a reason why we see other communities marching for immigration reform … These issues are still going on right as we speak.”
Assemblymember Evan Low fights for students’ education
By Jannaya Garcia, Priya Kaur, Keith Ng and Cyrus Shakeri
Assemblymember Evan Low, representative of the 28th district in California, believes in improving higher education because he wants to improve employment prospects for young people in his community.
Rep. Low feels a higher level of education should be available to every individual. According to Rep. Low, “We aren’t spending enough on higher education.” He believes that in the present-day it is very hard to sufficiently live without a proper education.
“One needs to earn $275,000 to afford an average single-family home in this community,” Rep. Low said. “Teachers don’t make that much money; principals don’t make that much money. So what kind of community are we living in?”
Rep. Low visited Summit Public School: Tahoma on Sept. 27 and gave a press conference. He discussed steps he would like to see the state take toward better educational opportunities for individuals.
When asked about the state of the education system, Rep. Low declared, “We’ve starved our educational institutions.” Some argue that California has given up admission seats to out-of-state students, instead of prioritizing in-state students because out-of-state students pay more.
Rep. Low firmly believes California needs to allot more funding to education programs. “State budget reflects our state values.” If we put our focus on education, it shows California’s priority is its students, he explained.
“[It costs] over $65,000 a year to incarcerate someone,” Rep. Low said. “Then we are educating someone for a year, which is about $20,000. We are building more prisons than we are universities.” He believes our state spends more money on things such as funding prisons, rather than investing it in education for the next generation.
As of right now, Rep. Low is working with his colleagues on the Committee on Higher Education. He explained, “We need to look at revenue restructuring and reform.” He believes the committee should put aside more money for education, which would be beneficial to future scholars.
“We need to build more universities and institutions for higher education and help financially fund.” Rep. Low’s ultimate goal for the future is that as many adolescents as possible in California have access to higher education, and he hopes to allow more opportunities to students.
Rep. Low strives to help others who face discrimination
By Omar El-bandrawy, Jasmine Lewis, Jesse San Miguel and Caden Vu
Assemblymember Evan Low’s personal experience with discrimination motivates him to strive to help others who are different. He is a proud advocate for minority rights.
On Sept. 27, Rep. Low conducted a press conference at Summit Tahoma. When asked about immigration and the separation of families at the Mexican-American border, he answered, “Children should not be separated. Period. Full stop. There is no humanity in that.”
He believes that America is a “land of immigrants,” therefore we have an obligation to make sure we are “building bridges, not walls.” He stated that these immigrants are seeking asylum. For this reason, he does not support voter ID laws.
“Even if you get yourself educated and get a job, you won’t be able to live in these communities still.” Stating that a salary of $275,000 was necessary to afford a single family home, he remarked that even the governor doesn’t make that much money.
He also said that it was hard to get an education at an in-state college, due to significantly increased tuition and the lack of spending to lower those costs. In contrast, “We spend $65,000 a year to incarcerate someone,” he noted, adding that he feels that the state isn’t spending enough money on education. “Fundamentally, we need to fund education at a greater amount.”
Rep. Low brought up the fact that LGBTQ+ individuals in our community face discrimination. In his own experiences as a politician, he’s faced discrimination for being openly LGBT. As a citizen he faces discrimination, alongside other gay people who are not able to donate blood and not able to join the Boy Scouts. Rep. Low stated, “We should make a society where everyone has the same rights, regardless of identification.”
He also faced discrimination with the passing of Prop 8, the elimination of gay marriage by state law, which he said infringed upon his rights as a citizen. This has driven him to fight for LGBTQ+ rights, talking about the issues of conversion therapy.
Conversion therapy is a program that attempts to force LGBTQ+ children into a heterosexual orientation. When asked about the high rates of teen suicide among the transgender community, he stated that we should be “creating opportunities for all people.”
Rep. Low believes in equality for all people. “We need to be inclusive, not exclusive,” he said, explaining that he uses his position as an assemblymember to advocate for equal rights.
Rep. Evan Low shares his personal experience and views on immigration
By Yasmeen Ali, Vianey Gonzaga, Kaitlyn Kelley and Avi Mehra
Assemblymember Evan Low’s personal experience with prejudice affects his views on immigration. He believes that discrimination based upon prior nationality is unjustified.
In the past, he was asked, “For the Olympics, do you root for the United States or Japan?” His response was, “I’m a fourth generation Chinese-American, not Japanese.”
On Sept. 27, Rep. Low visited Summit Tahoma to participate in a press conference with Summit News journalists. He shared stories about how he was racially profiled in the past and how this bias affects his stance on immigration.
“I’m perpetually seen as a foreigner,” Rep. Low said. “We have all been immigrants at some point in time.”
Despite his family being American for four generations, he still feels prejudice, as if he just immigrated. He believes that no one should be discriminated against, especially those who have just immigrated.
When he tells people, “Both [of my] grandparents served in World War II,” Rep. Low is often asked, “Well, what country did they serve for?”
Rep. Low also gave information about prejudice based upon geography in U.S. history, citing the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the California Alien Land Law. Although this discrimination happened more than 100 years ago, he explained that “in 2018 we are doing the same to those from Muslim majority countries.”
“We do not support voter ID laws,” Rep. Low said. “Just because I have U.S citizenship, does not mean I don’t have compassion. We need to start being more inclusive rather than exclusive.”
Because of the prejudice he has faced, Rep. Low believes that America needs “an equal opportunity for people to get the same quality of life.”
Assemblymember Evan Low works to improve the lives of immigrants and residents in the Bay Area
By Nick Inman, Aurylina Nguyen and Anthony Terkelsen
Assemblymember Evan Low was born and raised in the Bay Area, and he has devoted his life to serving the community. He is trying to improve the lives of both immigrants and residents and to help them overcome the challenges they face.
Rep. Low wants to improve the lives of immigrants coming to the United States. During a press conference at Summit Tahoma on Sept. 27, he said “We build bridges, not walls.”
Rep. Low believes that our country is made up of immigrants. Rep. Low said, “We’ve all been immigrants a time before” and stated that he believes in the positive impact immigrants can have on the community.
Rep. Low also acknowledged the United States’ dark past with immigration by talking about the Alien Land Law that prevented immigration from Asian countries and other “undesirable immigrants.”
Rep. Low has faced discrimination throughout his life and political career. Rep. Low said “you name it,” when asked about the discrimination he has faced. He wants to help immigrants overcome discrimination themselves.
Rep. Low gave an example of the discrimination immigrants face today. He talked about President Trump’s Muslim Ban as an obvious case of discrimination based on religion.
Rep. Low also talked about wanting to include more young people in politics. He intends to do this by lowering the voting age to 17 with ACA 10. He states on his website: “An engaged electorate is crucial for a healthy democracy. We want to encourage everyone to vote early and often.”
Rep. Low began his political career by being elected to Campbell City Council in 2006. He was the first Asian American City Councilperson in Campbell history and was voted the mayor in 2010.
Assemblymember Evan Low was the youngest openly LGBTQ+ mayor in the country at the age of 26. During his time as Mayor, Rep. Low worked to improve local government as described by his website: “While serving on Campbell’s City Council, he helped balance the city budget without eliminating vital services and increase government transparency by streaming City Council meetings online.”
In 2014 Rep. Low was elected to State Representative and became the youngest Asian American representative in state history. He represents Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, West San Jose, Cambrian and Almaden.
Rep. Low talked about why he wanted to be a part of the state legislature representing San Jose, explaining that he got involved because he felt like the government wasn’t working for younger people, also identifying himself as a millennial.
Representative Low talks about community at Summit Tahoma press conference
By Amanda Ahn, William Butler, Erick Godinez, Andrea Martinez and Jacob Silva
Assemblymember Evan Low, a native of the San Jose area, understands the struggles of locals and works to improve them. Rep. Low was born and raised in San Jose and has lived in the community for 35 years.
On Sept. 27, Rep. Evan Low visited Summit Public School: Tahoma for a press conference with journalism students.
Rep. Low shared how his father was able to hold one job in San Jose and still send his four children to college. Now, with the inflated housing price in San Jose, Rep. Low said, “Even if you get an education you will not be able to live in this community.” A 2018 study from Zillow states “the median home value in San Jose is $1,089,500.”
Rep. Low’s website states, “Assemblymember Low is a lifelong resident of Silicon Valley and has been a regional community leader. His work within the community and deep knowledge of issues local residents faced led him to run for Campbell City Council in 2006.”
Identifying as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Rep. Low works to make improvements by fighting for rights for those individuals. Rep. Low said, “We should not convert the LGBT, appreciate who they are, and create greater opportunities.”
As part of his efforts to make a better San Jose community, Rep. Low wants to have better education for students. “We need to fully fund on higher education.” He also talked about how much it costs to incarcerate people versus sending a student to school. He explained how it costs “over $65,000 a year to incarcerate someone.” He compared that to educating someone for a year, which costs “about $20,000.”
Rep. Low pushed to create a welcoming environment for immigrants when he stated, “We’re a land of immigrants.” Instead of prohibiting immigration into the country, he said that he wants to “build bridges, not walls.”