Helen Wang has spent decades in the medical field and small business world. Now, the retired registered nurse, administrator and businesswoman wants to bring those experiences to life in City Hall.
Running for a seat on the San Jose City Council, she said she wants to represent District 10 by improving roads, policing the community and maintaining the quality of life for residents when Councilmember Johnny Khamis terms out this year. The longtime Almaden Valley resident and Taiwanese immigrant said she wants to ensure that transparency, accessibility and fiscal responsibility are priorities citywide.
One of Wang’s clearest positions is her adamant support for helping small businesses thrive in the nation’s 10th largest city. If elected, Wang, the only Republican in the race, said she wants to focus on reducing red tape and taxation. Wang was not immediately available for an interview for this profile.
“I believe in supply and demand, free market economics,” Wang previously told San José Spotlight. “I believe the city is going the wrong direction in terms of fiscal sustainability, including pension issues, and someone needs to start looking into some of the issues like permitting that have been going on for far too long.”
Aligned closely to Khamis’ staunch opposition to any new taxes, Wang would not support a tax if its revenue is destined for the general fund. As such, she does not support Measure E, an initiative on the March primary ballot which would apply a transfer tax to the sale of properties that are valued at $2 million or more for affordable housing. The money, however, would be pooled into the general fund, causing concern for Wang.
“I hope to cut waste, look for efficiencies and be transparent with citizens in terms of our real bonds and measures costs,” Wang said.
Many, if not all, of the candidates in the primary election have prioritized tackling the homelessness crisis. Wang agrees that building near transit and alternative housing solutions like “granny units” should be considered.
But she has also advocated for the idea of dedicating a medical facility to the mental health and addiction issues that many in this population face.
After working as a registered nurse and administrator for more than three decades in San Jose, Wang has suggested that the county-owned St. Louise Regional Hospital could help reduce the number of people on the street and get them back on their feet by providing job training. Wang said this, combined with support for conservatorship services through legislation like Laura’s Law, would be the best use of resources.
“We need to fix the problem rather than just moving homeless people from location to location or putting the mentally ill in jail,” Wang said.
Her direct experience working with the community through a medical lens not only sets her apart from her competitors when discussing these issues, but it’s also is why former U.S. Congressman and state Sen. Tom Campbell endorsed her campaign.
Campbell said Wang has been an “energetic, selfless” part of the community.
“She took care of the medical needs of thousands at the urgent care clinic she ran, and she volunteered at San Jose’s homeless shelter,” Campbell said. “Wang’s civic and business involvement is practically without peer among all I knew during the 11 years I represented San Jose and Silicon Valley.”
Name: Helen Wang
Family: Husband, Dr. John Longwell
Political affiliation: Republican
Education: Monterey Peninsula College
Profession: Retired nurse and businesswoman
Current or previous elected or appointed positions: Small Business Task Force of the City of San José, President and Director of the Silicon Valley Chinese Technology and Business Association and Small Business Committee Transition Team
Top 3 priorities: community policing, fixing roads and maintaining the quality of life
Top 3 endorsements: Former U.S. Congressman and state Senator Tom Campbell, former California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and District 29 State Senator Ling-Ling Chang
In one sentence, why vote for you? Wang believes in a transparent and efficient government that is fiscally responsible and sustainable, and believes the government is the servant of its citizens and businesses.