In November 2016, Ash Kalra was elected to represent the 27th Assembly District, which encompasses downtown San Jose, East San Jose, Evergreen and parts of South San Jose. He is the first Indian American elected to the State Legislature. Ash was appointed Chair of the Aging and Long Term Care Committee and also sits on the Housing & Development, Judiciary, Labor and Employment & Privacy and Consumer Protection Committees.
Ash is a passionate advocate for environmental protection and has been recognized as a leader on issues surrounding sustainability and conservation. While serving as Chair of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), he led the organization to create action plans and set state goals to ensure we are addressing issues like air quality, climate change and pollution. He has been a champion for preserving open spaces and protecting our surrounding habitat, while also being voice for public safety, better schools, improved public transportation and a healthier environment.
Prior serving on the State Assembly, Ash represented South San Jose on the San Jose City Council, where he was the first Indian American to be elected to City Council. During his time serving as a councilmember, he provided a voice on a number of issue areas, including improved schools and transportation options, and a cleaner environment as well as providing the tools for effective public safety. Notably, he has fought to maintain funding in the face of cuts to public safety, specifically to restore the San Jose Police Department’s burglary unit and the Violent Crimes Enforcement Team.
He has also worked to bring economic incentives to the area, gave a strong voice to extend BART into Silicon Valley, and sat on numerous boards and commissions, including chairing the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority (VTA) in 2014 and San José City Council Transportation & Environment Committee, and has received a number of awards for his leadership and work. Among the many non-profit boards that he has served include the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Asian Law Alliance, Somos Mayfair, and the South Asian Bar Association. Previously, he taught at San Jose State University and at high schools in Washington D.C., and during his tenure on the city council, he was a law professor at Lincoln Law School of San Jose.
Before serving on the city council, Ash spent 11 years as an attorney in the Santa Clara Public Defender’s Office. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he has a degree in communications and has a law degree from Georgetown University.
Ash lives in Hayes, the same San Jose neighborhood where he grew up. He is one of the founders of the Hayes Neighborhood Association.