Lately I’ve noticed a lot of signs around Fullerton for congressional candidate Jay Chen, who is running against the 20-year incumbent Ed Royce. Chen is a democrat, and Royce is a republican. Royce is one of the most conservative members of congress. He comes from a long tradition of conservative OC Republicans, stretching back to Richard Nixon, and probably before.
I generally disagree with Royce on a lot of issues, like financial deregulation, military spending, and cutting federal school grants. I used to be in a hardcore punk band that had a song called “I Don’t Want You Representin” which was about Ed Royce.
Jay Chen is a newcomer about whom I know very little. I’ve seen his signs. I’ve seen his democratic headquarters on Commonwealth avenue in downtown Fullerton, right next to the police station. I am intrigued by Jay Chen, and I will probably vote for him simply because he is not Ed Royce. But I want to learn more about this guy.
This morning, the Daily Titan ran an article entitled “Dem. Jay Chen Speaks at OLLI Politics Event,” which was about a talk Chen gave at Cal State Fullerton, put on by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Here’s a little of what I learned from the article.
Jay Chen has been on the John Stewart Show! Why? Because back in 2010, when Chen was a member of the Hacienda Heights school board, he faced a recall election for approving funds for a Chinese language learning class.
According to the Daily Titan, “The activists claimed the board was trying to implement Chinese communist notions into their curriculum by accepting money from the Chinese government to fund the school’s program.” WTF? I know Red-Baiting was common practice during the Cold War, but I guess it’s alive and well in Hacienda Heights.
Chen, whose parents were immigrants from Taiwan, is not a communist. He is a democrat. He does speak Mandarin (as well as Spanish and English) but he is also a business owner, which makes him a capitalist.
From reading the article in The Daily Titan, I learned that Chen supports The Dream Act, which allows a pathway to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants who are pursuing education. I highly support The Dream Act, so that makes me like Jay Chen.
On a related note, Chen also “supports a federal guest workers program to address the labor needs in jobs that Americans do not want to fill. He also feels that without a program, immigrants are being exploited with low pay and little worker’s rights.
Chen seems to be an advocate for immigrant rights, specifically for the children of illegal immigrants, which I think is one of the huge civil rights issues of our time. I like Chen for this reason.
I think the political demographic of Orange County is changing. While there is still a large conservative/Republican and even Tea Party constituency here, there is an emerging generation of more liberal-minded progressives.
I will continue to follow Jay Chen’s campaign with great interest.