Chinese Americans running for office in the Bay Area

Updated: 2014-09-02 04:05

By LIAN ZI in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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Chinese Americans running for office in the Bay Area

Peter Kuo, a candidate for California's 10th senate district, plays the violin during his campaign event at Asian Pearl Restaurant in Fremont, California Friday night. [photo downloaded from Peter Kuo's Facebook]

Bay Area sees more candidates

More than 10 Chinese-American candidates in the San Francisco Bay Area are running for elected office in the 2014 elections. They are actively campaigning and have already gained lots of support from local Chinese communities.

Peter Kuo, a candidate for California's 10th senate district, which includes cities such as Santa Clara, San Jose, Milpitas, and Fremont, held a fundraising dinner in Fremont on Aug 22.

Kuo emigrated from Taiwan in 1982 and calls himself "a husband and father of three, small business owner and job creator, solar energy entrepreneur and community leader".

Rather than caring only about Chinese immigrants' needs, he also wants to better serve the whole community in his district, he said. "I'm running to bring common sense solutions to California. I'm running because I've been blessed to live the American Dream and I want each and every Californian to pursue their dream as well. I hope to earn your support," he said.

Kuo also took the ALS ice bucket challenge to donate $3,000 during the campaign event.

This election season, other Chinese-American candidates are also in the hunt.

In District 25, Kansen Chu, who won top spot in June primary, will face Bob Brunton, a 12-year trustee of the Ohlone College Board. Chu released a statement saying: "I will be an assembly member committed to creating jobs and strong economic development, enhancing our public education system, advocating for investment in transportation and water projects, protecting the safety net and safeguarding our environment."

David Chiu, president of San Francisco's board of supervisors, is also excited about his candidacy to represent San Francisco's 17th District in theCalifornia State Legislature.

Chinese Americans are also faring well at the local level. Zhao Yan held a campaign event last week for her candidacy for the Saratoga City Council.

Barry Chang, an incumbent candidate for the Cupertino City Council, will hold a fundraising dinner on Sept 9, where Gary Locke, former US ambassador to China, is scheduled to speak.

Li Yu, one of Chang's supporters, told China Daily that he was moved by Chang's candor and his decades of service to the Chinese community.

At the school district level, Chris Zhang and Kristen Pan Lyn are both running for the Cupertino school board.

Liu Min, a representative of the Silicon Valley Chinese Association (SVCA), told China Daily: "In the US, from as high as the federal level, to as low as the city or school district level, a lot of crucial decisions that impact people's everyday lives are determined by political participation. Traditionally, the Chinese lag behind when it comes to politics, essentially disenfranchising themselves and leaving their fate in the hands of other people."

"SCA-5 awoke a lot of new Chinese immigrants, who now have already known not only to vote, but also to donate and campaign for candidates that represent their values and core interests," said Liu, adding that educating people would be a long process.

Chinese-American candidates enjoy support from Chinese communities and overseas organizations. SVCA released a statement on Aug 21 in support of Kuo and Chang. Wu Bo, representative of United for a Better Community (UBC), also told China Daily that they would vote for Chinese-American candidates to make Chinese Americans' voice heard.