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WVUSD Board Member Phillip Chen Announces Assembly Run

Chen has raised more $334,000 so far for the 55th Assembly District race.

Phillip Chen, a Walnut Valley Unified School District board member, announces his bid for state asembly. Aug. 8, 2013
Phillip Chen, a Walnut Valley Unified School District board member, announces his bid for state asembly. Aug. 8, 2013
Phillip Chen, a Walnut Valley Unified School District board member, announced his candidacy today for the 55th Assembly District.

Chen held a press conference at the Seafood Village Restaurant in Rowland Heights. The reserve deputy and advisor on health issues to Supervisor Mile Antonovich, is running for Assemblyman Curt Hagman's seat. Hagman, R-Chino Hills, is termed out of office.

Chen is the second candidate to publicly announce plans to run for the seat. Diamond Bar Councilwoman Ling-Ling Chang also is in the race.

So far, he has raised $334,000, reported through June 30.

He said his run is the culmination of years of dedication to public service that goes back his teen years.

"This is something that has been long coming," he said.  "It's been a natural progression for me. For me, this is an opportunity to do more.

Chen, an adjunct professor at USC, spoke on a couple of issues of concern to him, including healthcare, education, and public safety.

He called for an increase in the capacity of state prisons as an alternative to Assembly Bill 109, legislation created to ease overpopulation by allowing non-violent and non-sexual offenders to serve time in county jails instead. He also said that more behavioral health and drug treatment programs are needed for those released.

The Diamond Bar resident said that more local control of funds are needed for social service, health, and education programs. He added that he has taken a no new taxes pledge.

Chen, a Republican,  said he feels confident he can work across party lines.

"It's about finding common ground," he said. "It's about finding the solution for California."

Several public officials came out in support of Chen, including Walnut Mayor Antonio "Tony" Cartagena and Councilwoman Mary Su.

"We need to have the best candidate to represent our district, somebody who has a wealth of experience, somebody that is highly qualified, who can articulate our problems in our district," Cartagena said,  "and that is Phillip Chen."

Su touted Chen's local, county, and state experience, as well as his education and experience as a small business owner.

"We need a good representative, new blood who is willing to take care of your needs and my needs," Su said. "He is the one who can turn it around, make California better, and improve our quality of life."

Also there in support of Chen were Mt. San Antonio College Trustees David Hall and Judy Chen-Haggerty.

Healthcare, education, and public safety comprise 91 percent of the state budget and that is where Chen's experience lies, Hall said.

"When we send this guy up there, we know that he's not going to be a talking head," Hall said. "He's not going to be an empty suit. And he's not going to have the wool pulled over his eyes by all these staffers and all these lobbyists who just want to tell you 'go vote this way.'"

Cynthia August 08, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Sam, I can't tell what Ling-Ling has accomplished since she left Harvard; she's been involved for awhile with a non-profit that does exactly what? What kind of salary does she receive from the NP? How many other employees at the NP? (i.e. Can she productively manage a staff or is she a lone ranger?) She's not a mother; that would give her good life experience to make decisions about education at the state level if she were. Just some concerns.
Melanie C. Johnson August 08, 2013 at 11:29 PM
@Sam - I checked with Phillip Chen for you. He owns some commercial properties. That is his small business.
Michael August 08, 2013 at 11:51 PM
Cynthia, Ling-Ling Chang-Chang has done a lot for DB: she voted to keep all businesses out of the old Honda dealer, making sure it remains an eyesore for years (pleasing her City of Industry bosses), she also did nothing to improve the Shell station eyesore- I think it adds a "rustic charm" to the city. Ralph's left during her time adding much needed empty store fronts in DB. She also announced her candidacy at Roski's Pacific Palms in COI, naturally. She will do a GREAT JOB representing COI needs; over 70 people live there.
Cynthia August 09, 2013 at 12:07 AM
Love the tongue-in-cheek, Michael. :) What would be her agenda in running for Asssembly, then? To further represent COI, or _______________ ?
Sam Ho August 09, 2013 at 02:37 AM
Having an ownership share of some properties that you don't actively manage does not make you a small business owner, just as owning stock in Google does not make you a large business owner. I suspect some title inflation here, including in the "Professor" title, which should only be used by tenure-line academics as opposed to anything adjunct. But I gotta say it's refreshing to hear someone with such lofty education credentials state that one of his top goals is to grow state prisons. Definitely not your typical educator!

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