Hacienda Heights, CA
I was elected in 2007, and since then have helped bring edible school gardens, renewable energy, and college application workshops to our campuses, as well as Mandarin language classes to our elementary and middle schools.
I have been at various points of my life a chef, travel writer, sailor, soldier, chocolate maker, consultant, translator, rent collector, salesman, diplomat, activist, elected, and improviser.
What do you do?
I serve on the school board for the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, which services 20,000 K-12 students and about 30,000 adult school students, and is one of the largest districts in the San Gabriel Valley (and has a very large Taiwanese American population). I was elected in 2007, and since then have helped bring edible school gardens, renewable energy, and college application workshops to our campuses, as well as Mandarin language classes to our elementary and middle schools. I also get involved with political issues and candidates that motivate me (President Obama being one of them). However, if you ask my significant other, Karen, she would probably say the only thing I do is play Modern Warfare 2.
Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?
Taiwan is delicious (street food heaven), high-tech (they make most of the LCD screens we park ourselves in front of all day), and democratic (that is, when they aren’t practicing MMA in the legislative chamber… but even that is entertaining). What’s not to love?
What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?
From my political lens it looks very bright. Taiwanese Americans have ascended to top positions across the nation, from California State Controller, to New York Comptroller, to President of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. In the near future I think we will see a Taiwanese American governor. I just hope that more Taiwanese Americans will recognize the need to engage in U.S. politics with at least the same fervor as they react to Taiwanese politics; instead of buying a plane ticket to cast a vote in Taiwan, why don’t you donate that money to John Chiang’s campaign? In the long run it will help you and our community that much more.
Any additional information you would like to share?
My current favorite Taiwanese food is ba-wan. My mother has found an amazing supplier based out of San Diego. You also can’t beat a freshly grilled xiang chang, with its skin charred just so, ready to burst and dribble sausage juiciness down your chin and ruin your shirt.
Befriend me via: electjaychen.com, facebook.com/jaychen, twitter.com/jfchen