A former California legislator might run for another state seat representing parts of Silicon Valley.
Kansen Chu is mulling over whether to run for the California State Assembly seat in District 24, according to state campaign finance and committee filings.
Chu, 71, said he’s taking the time to talk to close community members and supporters, and weighing his options before committing. He has filed documents with the state under “Kansen Chu for State Assembly 2024.”
“I’m definitely willing, able and ready to run, but at this point I’m not ready to disclose, to announce it yet,” Chu told San José Spotlight.
Assemblymember Alex Lee currently holds the District 24 seat. The district includes Fremont, Milpitas, Newark and portions of San Jose and Santa Clara. Chu unsuccessfully ran for the seat in 2022, courting voters in a race where Asian American residents made up more than half the vote.
Fremont Councilmember Yang Shao said he heard indirectly that Chu was going to run for the District 24 state Assembly seat. He said he believes Chu is a good leader, having known him since 2014 and is aware of Chu’s advocacy on issues like public safety and small business development.
“Experience counts,” Shao told San José Spotlight. “Over the years he has accumulated so much experience in governance at different levels, and he has developed deep roots in the community.”
Chu got his start in politics as a Berryessa Union School District board member in 2002. He went on to represent District 4 in the San Jose City Council from 2009 to 2014. From there he ran for state Assembly in District 25, where he served from 2014 to 2020. Chu made a surprising departure from state politics to ultimately lose his bid in 2020 for a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. He came back full-circle to the Berryessa school board in 2021, which he left last December.
Chu said going back to life in Sacramento politics wouldn’t be an issue. He said he made the departure from Sacramento for San Jose politics to take care of his family and mother, who has since died.
“The commuting is not a big problem to me anymore,” Chu told San José Spotlight. “The grandkids were younger. Now they don’t need as much of my attention or my wife’s attention.”
Chu is a former software engineer and small business owner, according to his 2022 campaign website. He emigrated from Taiwan in 1976. His previous advocacy issues include expanding student mental health, increasing senior services and programs and improving the environment.
Chu said if he decides to run, he plans to continue prioritizing mental health and public safety.
“I’ve been in public service for almost two decades,” Chu told San José Spotlight. “(I’m) still looking for an opportunity to serve.”
Silicon Valley Chinese Association Foundation board member Tony Xu said Chu listens to his community. Xu said Chu made an effort to discuss different bills and policies with local organizations when he was in office. The Fremont resident said he’s known Chu since 2014.
“He works very hard,” Xu told San José Spotlight. “He will listen to your needs and he will fight for you and work for you.”
Contact Loan-Anh Pham at [email protected] or follow @theLoanAnhLede on Twitter.
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