Physician Dinesh Govindarao competes in the San Ramon mayoral race for the second time

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Dinesh Govindarao

Dinesh Govindarao runs in the San Ramon mayoral election for the second time this November.

Abby Kapur, Sports Editor

East Bay Times-endorsed mayoral candidate and physician Dinesh Govindarao returns in second bid this year, hoping to defeat opponents Councilmember Sabina Zafar and Mayor Dave Hudson.

Govindarao placed third out of six candidates in the 2020 election, losing to Hudson, whose campaign emphasizes his 25 years of experience on San Ramon City Councils. Another one of his opponents was Zafar, who is also returning to run in this year’s election with goals of making San Ramon more environmentally friendly and bringing a fresh perspective into the mayoral office. One of Govindarao’s top priorities is to address the housing crisis in San Ramon without encroaching on public spaces or becoming a sprawling commuter city.

“Overcrowded growth is an issue, but at the same time, on the flip side, it’s also making sure that we can have affordable housing so people don’t have to commute from long distances to be able to live here. One of my policies is smart, sensible growth, and planning for smart and sensible roads. One of my policies is [that] we have to be smart and sensible about it. The other thing is to preserve our neighborhoods. We have to really be strategic on how we do this so [that] it creates the least amount of negative impact for the residents.”

Govindarao’s campaign also focuses on his deep roots in San Ramon. He graduated from California High School in 1998, attended U.C. Berkeley, got certified as a physician, and returned to raise his children in San Ramon. Govindarao believes that his personal history in San Ramon makes him more qualified for the position of mayor.

“Someone like myself could be a good bridge, given that I have grown up in the city,” Govindarao said. “I have raised my kids here in the city, my parents are aging here. So [having] seen that full spectrum, I can relate with how things were back in the day, the small town feel, and then also understand, being a minority myself, a lot of our demographic shifts that have occurred.”

Govindarao wants to form more personal connections with voters to fix the disconnect between residents and local leaders that he sees today.”

Since the 2020 election, in which the campaigning was limited due to COVID restrictions and safety precautions, Govindarao has sought to increase his support base by canvassing.

“The kind of person that I am, I like to really try to go and meet people and make that connection,” Govindarao said. “That affected my [last] campaign a lot because I wasn’t able to do that. But this time, we’ve knocked on thousands and thousands and thousands of doors.”

Govindarao wants to form more personal connections with voters to fix the disconnect between residents and local leaders that he sees today.

“A lot of people ask me, and It saddens me when I hear it, this question: ‘Who’s our current mayor?’ That absolutely should not happen. If I was elected mayor, people [would] know I’m the mayor, because I’m going to connect with the people and I’m going to be out there. It’s not an arrogant statement,” Govindarao said. “It’s more of a statement of ‘you’re going to see me out there connecting with people,’ just like [how] I’ve walked pretty much every neighborhood in this city.”

As mayor, Govindarao wants to continue his tradition of canvassing through “walk and talks,” which would be informal meetings in which the mayor can hear the most pressing issues concerning San Ramon residents face-to-face. Additionally, he also wants to start a new tradition of displaying the graduating class photos of local high schools like California High School and Dougherty Valley High School in City Hall.

“We don’t really recognize our graduating class at City Hall. I’d like to see that happen,” Govindarao said. “Let’s celebrate our seniors and get them more involved [because] they’re a part of the city and they’re part of the community.”

As Nov. 8 draws closer, San Ramon voters will decide the success of Dinesh Govindarao’s second bid for mayor. No matter the result, Govindarao promises that he won’t be giving up anytime soon.

“I’m not a career politician,” Govindarao said. “I’m not looking to climb the political ladder. I am here to serve our local city. One of my other candidates wants to be there, [but] this is where I want to serve. This is where I want to be. I’m not going anywhere.”