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Assemblymember Ash KalraAssemblymember Ash Kalra represents California’s 25th Assembly District, which encompasses the majority of San José, including downtown and open space areas in southeast Santa Clara County. He was first elected in 2016, becoming the first Indian American to serve in the California Legislature in state history, and was re-elected to his fourth term in 2022.

Assemblymember Kalra is the Chair of the Committee on Judiciary and also serves as a member on the Housing & Community Development, Local Government, and Natural Resources committees. He is Chair Emeritus of the California Legislative Progressive Caucus and works to ensure that key legislative priorities are successfully passed on civil rights, criminal justice, economic and worker justice, environmental justice, and housing justice. Previously, he served as Chair to the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment and Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care.

Assemblymember Kalra has dedicated his tenure in public service to equity and social justice issues. To confront racism and systemic bias in our systems of justice, he authored the historic California Racial Justice Act of 2020 (AB 2542), a landmark bill addressing racial discrimination in criminal sentencing and convictions and a follow up bill in 2022 (AB 256) to apply the Act retroactively for persons with past convictions. 

As a longstanding champion of a single-payer health care system, Assemblymember Kalra introduced AB 1400 in 2021–the statewide legislation also known as CalCare–which would guarantee comprehensive, high-quality health care for all Californians as a human right. He has advanced a number of issues to assist our aging population, like expanding the Assisted Living Waiver program, and to protect our public health, like reducing worker exposure to lead poisoning. To safeguard nursing home and long-term care facility residents, he authored AB 323 in 2021, which updated citation penalties and standards for negligent care.

Assemblymember Kalra has consistently put forth solutions to help alleviate our housing crisis and encourage compassionate and thoughtful assistance for people experiencing homelessness. In 2019, Assemblymember Kalra authored AB 1745 to extend the authority for the City of San Jose to develop emergency bridge housing communities to help the city’s homeless population transition into permanent supportive housing. Assemblymember Kalra secured $2 million in the state budget to extend the City of San Jose’s eviction diversion program, which has prevented over 100 households from forced eviction by providing targeted gap assistance to low-income households on the brink of eviction and he has secured additional funding for the city’s Responsible Landlord Engagement Initiative. Additionally, he authored AB 1469 to allow Valley Water to assist unsheltered people living along streams or other areas near natural water within the district’s jurisdiction, to provide solutions or improve outcomes for the unsheltered individuals.

Assemblymember Kalra has established himself as an environmental leader. In 2019, he was the first state lawmaker to commit California to protect 30% of lands and coastal waters by 2030 (AB 3030) in order to preserve biodiversity and combat global warming. In the District, Assemblymember Kalra is a vocal advocate for protecting open spaces like Coyote Valley and has secured $10 million for Santa Clara County to purchase Laguna Seca for permanent land conservation and $1.5 million for Lake Cunningham water quality and shoreline improvements.

He previously served on the San José City Council for eight years and was formerly a Deputy Public Defender for Santa Clara County for 11 years, representing clients in dozens of felony jury trials. As a public defender, he represented indigent clients in both felony and misdemeanor matters, and a majority of his time was spent in drug treatment court where clients were given the opportunity to complete a rehabilitation program and turn their lives around. 

Assemblymember Ash Kalra was born in Toronto, Canada, and moved to California as a young child, residing in the same South San José neighborhood where he grew up. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a law degree from Georgetown University.