Together with family, friends and staff, we watched Dr. Judy Chu being sworn in as the Congressional representative for California District 32. Congratulations to Representative Judy Chu! And congratulations California – we are fortunate to have such an experienced, dedicated elected official representing our state in Congress, especially during these difficult times.
Sitting with Rep. Chu’s family, friends and staff, we reminisced about her background. She has long been a fierce public servant and she understands the importance of navigating the electoral pipeline. From my perspective, as an advocate to build the pipeline of future leaders, her story is important.
Rep. Chu began political life in her San Gabriel neighborhoods, but she’s no typical valley girl! During her more than 20 years as a public servant, Rep. Chu has served on the Garvey School District as a Board member, was a three term Mayor of Monterey Park, was elected to the California State Assembly, and was elected to the Board of Equalization where she served as Chair. Rep. Chu has fought to protect working families, end discrimination, save healthcare, protect the environment, protect women, protect consumers, improve education and worked to close special interest tax loopholes. Now she has distinguished herself as the first Chinese American woman to ever serve in Congress winning her seat with 62% of the vote in the March special election. With her background, we can all rest assured that Rep. Chu will bring her passion, commitment, and integrity to represent our State in the Nation’s capitol.
Congratulations Rep. Chu, you are a shining example to the power of the pipeline!
So, where are all the women leaders of tomorrow? California is facing a crisis in the feminist fight for equality. Only 33 women currently serve on our state legislature and just 6 women have ever held an Executive Branch office. Each election cycle we lose more women to term limits and the pipeline of new women leaders has slowed to a trickle. There are many reasons, but research shows women are choosing not to run because of the daunting hurdles facing our female candidates. Raising huge amounts of money to run a viable race, making personal sacrifices, and all too often defending themselves from gender based biases from their opponents.
Unfortunately, the pipeline for future women leaders is dwindling on every level. City councils, supervisory boards, and boards of education are all reporting fewer numbers of women running and winning locally. Watching Rep. Chu being sworn reminded me once again how important it is to elect women at each level of government.
We need more women to run for office. Rep. Chu’s election to serve California in Washington, D.C. confirms the power of the pipeline! Rep. Judy Chu probably never thought she would be working in the House chamber when she first ran for the Garvey School District Board. Today she will cast her first votes as a member of Congress — I encourage women to follow Rep. Chu’s example because when you start small, you can accomplish big things. Congratulations again to Congresswoman Judy Chu!