Republican Politics Guru Wants to End California ‘One-Party Monopoly’

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Chen, a member of the Hoover Institution who guided the political agenda for the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio and was a health policy adviser on the re-election campaign of former President George W. Bush, launches his candidacy for the State 2022 controller on Tuesday.

Seeking a position he admits to be decidedly wobbly, the four-degree Harvard academic is determined to convince California voters that the Democrats’ one-party regime is leading to “political sclerosis.” He centers his campaign on responsibility and his desire to spur “creativity in thought” when it comes to California’s biggest problems, including homelessness, water problems and the soaring cost of living. life.

“Everyone’s political interests in Sacramento are aligned with each other, so there’s no one to hold anyone accountable,” Chen said in a recent interview in Los Angeles about an hour outside of Rowland. Heights where he grew up as dedicated Lakers and Dodgers. fan. “If you’re a member of the one-party monopoly in Sacramento, your motivation is to make other Democrats happy and that creates a situation that you don’t dig deeper into.”

Chen entered the race early, and so far has not faced competition from any other prominent Republican. Democrat Malia Cohen, who sits on the state equalization board, also announced an offer for the comptroller position.

Chen says he would harness the power of the comptroller’s office to figure out why California spends tens of billions of dollars on homeless people, for example, “Yet it doesn’t seem to be improving in big cities like LA and San Francisco “. He wants to do a thorough audit of how the state is using its Medicaid dollars and is eager to investigate how the state’s employment development department ended up paying up to $ 30 billion. in fraudulent claims.

“I don’t see this campaign through an ideological lens; I see it through a competence lens. Core competence,” he said, noting that the controller has the power to independently initiate audits. not only from the state government, but also from local authorities. governments if state money is involved. “I think people will see my journey as someone who spent a lot of time thinking about how to solve big problems and got that done.”

Chen is aware of the daunting challenge that exists for any California Republican vying for a statewide position given the ideological makeup of the state. But he notes that there is a pattern among GOP candidates in California who have been successful in recent congressional elections in tough districts, including U.S. Representatives Mike Garcia, Young Kim, and Michelle Steel. They won, in part, he argues, because they represented different life experiences and backgrounds, and he wants to be a part of that conversation as the son of immigrants from Taiwan.

Chen’s father came to the United States in the 1970s to complete his medical training as a physician; and his mother to pursue graduate studies in chemistry. He was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where his father was a doctor.

The family eventually moved to Rowland Heights with “the dream of a beautiful house, a garden and good weather,” he said. His parents’ experience helped shape Chen’s view that there should be a “path to legalization” for immigrants, which he defines as “some form of legal status” where they do not live in. shadow and are able to “participate fully in society.” “

Chen believes that one of the problems that state-wide GOP candidates have faced in recent years is that they have not been “the right messengers,” in part because they weren’t. haven’t represented California’s diversity and “the kind of people Californians can understand.” To.”

“We need to be able to push forward creative ideas that respect conservative center-right values ​​or priorities, but that are in tune with where we live and where we are,” he said.

Chen said he would vote for Newsom’s recall in the Sept. 14 election, although he has yet to decide which Republican candidate he will support.

He dismisses former President Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine American confidence in the 2020 election: “Joe Biden was elected, and that’s it.” But with a smile, he dodged the question of whether he voted for Trump, who is deeply unpopular in California: “I’m looking forward, I’m not looking back.”


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