Diamond Bar Councilwoman opens bid for Assembly seat
INDUSTRY — Diamond Bar Councilwoman Ling-Ling Chang threw her hat in the ring for the 55th Assembly District on Friday, becoming the first Republican to put in a bid for the seat.
In front of supporters and members of the media, Chang announced she was running for Curt Hagman’s State Assembly seat at the Pacific Palms Resort. The district spreads across three counties and includes portions of Brea, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar, Industry, La Habra, Placentia, Rowland Heights, Walnut, West Covina, and Yorba Linda.
Hagman, who was elected to the Assembly in 2008, will have termed out by the general election in November 2014.
Chang said she has been encouraged to run by friends and other elected officials. The 36-year-old Taipei native has garnered endorsements from Rep. Ed Royce, R-Rowland Heights, and State Sen. Bob Huff, R-Brea, as well as Los Angeles County Supervisors Don Knabe and Michael Antonovich.
“As a councilmember, Ling-Ling Chang provided the leadership to balance every budget while maintaining healthy reserves,” Royce said in a statement. As an assembly member, she will lead the fight to create new jobs by reducing the regulatory burden on California businesses.”
Chang promised to make jobs and economic development her top priority.
“Sacramento needs more leaders who will focus on creating jobs and removing obstacles to building a stronger economy in our state,” she said in a policy paper.
The candidate plans to create more jobs by providing tax incentives to small businesses that hire new workers. She would also reform the tax code to cut the time employers spend on tax forms.
moderated the press conference on Chang’s behalf, called her “the future of the Republican party.” He said the young Taiwanese immigrant reflected the changing face of the party as demographics shift in the Golden State and in particular, the east San Gabriel Valley, western San Bernardino County and northern Orange County communities.
“When you find somebody that does a good job, then you should promote them,” Huff explained. “Ling-Ling has done very well, which is why I chose her as my District’s Woman of the Year in 2006. We need people of her caliber in Sacramento.”
The biggest hurdle Chang faces is the blowback from her decision to also run for re-election to the Diamond Bar City Council this November. She and her supporters said opponents will use that against her during the campaign.
When asked why she’s running for both spots at the same time, she said: “My heart has always been in Diamond Bar. I hope to serve at a higher capacity for Diamond Bar.” Earlier, she said she would still have a year to serve in her second term on the City Council before joining the Assembly, should she win.
Though she did not mention her opponents, five other Republicans are rumored to be interested in the seat: Walnut Valley Unified School District Trustee Phillip Chen, who has a fundraiser scheduled for next month; Hagman’s chief of staff, Mike Spence of West Covina; Diamond Bar Councilman Steve Tye and Placentia City Council members Scott Nelson and Jeremy Yamaguchi. None of them have declared officially.
Other challenges include money, said MeiMei Huff, who is leading fundraising for Chang’s campaign. Huff said the candidate will need $1 million, half for the June 3, 2014 primary and the other half for the general in November 2014. She said she’s talking to the Chinese community in Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties for campaign contributions. “The Chinese community, they don’t see county boundaries. It is based on relationships,” Huff said.
Chang was elected to the Diamond Bar City Council in 2009. During her time as mayor, from 2011-2012, the city opened a new city hall and library and she helped balance the city $21 million budget, while maintaining a $17 million reserve.