Council member talks life lessons, internships with Junior class

Career, academics and background part of Greg Tanaka’s Advisory presentation.


Councilman Greg Tanaka talks to the Junior class at Palo Alto High School during Advisory today about his background and career. Photo by Lauren Wong

In a speech starting with his family’s historical connection to Hiroshima and ending with his transition to politics, Councilman Greg Tanaka spoke with the Junior class today at Palo Alto High School.

Hosted by the Work Experience class as an addition to the job fair, Tanaka described several internships his Congressional campaign is offering for students. He talked about his family’s history in the Japanese internment camp Manzanar, his experience growing up in a community that differs from Palo Alto, his business career and his path to politics.

Tanaka’s campaign circles in part around topics heavily talked about within the Paly community. One is his stance against anti-Asian crime. As a Japanese-Chinese-American, Tanaka speaks to this on a personal level. “We should also work on expanding the AAPI political participation and representation to make sure our voices are heard,” he is quoted saying on his website. 

Some of Tanaka’s other supported issues include freedom of speech, global minimum tax and entrepreneurship. 

In his earlier years, Tanaka was not set on politics, but succeeded in science and math. He struggled in high school at first, in part because of the school environment. A regret he has was not taking part in more than just STEM activities. 

“I wish I did speech and debated or got more involved with clubs and events,” Tanaka said. 

His advice to students is to find the thing you’re good at and go from there. 

“The best investment you [can make] is in yourself,” Tanaka said.