Editor’s Note: Evan Low is a California State Assemblyman (D) for the South Bay and Silicon Valley. This piece reflects his thoughts on Democrat John Chiang, the current California State Treasurer and candidate running for Governor of California in the 2018 race. The opinions expressed in this piece are solely his own.
My political journey cannot quite be described as typical. I did not run for office because the pothole in front of my house was not getting fixed and I did not decide when I was in first grade that I was going to run for president the day I turned 35.
In 2010, as the youngest Asian American Mayor, I felt certain obligations to the community. On the campaign trail and in office, I was subjected to racial epithets:
“Do you root for the USA or Japan in the Olympics?”
“I am fourth generation Chinese American.”
“You speak English so good.”
To which I replied, “You mean I speak English well?”
During the gubernatorial debate last month, I realized I could be a part of a historic first – electing California’s first Asian American governor. I looked up on the stage in San Jose and saw a progressive vision for our future being presented by someone who actually looks like me and I was overcome with emotion. John spoke perfect English and was articulate. He was someone I could relate to.
John’s story is so similar to that of my family and other Asian American families across the state. His parents came here with a simple goal: a better life. They worked hard and were able to give John a better life than they ever could have dreamed. I can only imagine how different my life would have been had I had someone like John to look up to in public life while I was growing up.
Today, I toured the Rainbow Community Center with El Cerrito Mayor @gabriel.quinto5 in honor of #HarveyMilkDay. Harvey’s courage — standing up to intolerance and hate — has given millions hope that no matter their skin color, what neighborhood they grew up in, or who they love, we can all achieve something great.
I could go on and on about John’s qualifications, from serving for over 20 years in public office to overseeing the finances of what is now the world’s fifth largest economy. John defended worker’s pay against Governor Schwarzenegger in 2008 and refused to pay state legislators when they failed to pass an on time budget. John is clearly qualified and not afraid to make tough choices.
Our community is grateful for John’s public service. And I am thankful to John for helping me realize how proud I am to be an Asian American.