By Nathan Wayne
Some politicians will spend their lives trying to get to the top without doing anything effective. A good example of a model politician is Senator Ling Ling Chang. On February 21st, 2020, I had the pleasure of interviewing her at the District Office in Brea.
Senator Ling Ling Chang was born In Taipei, Taiwan. She grew up in Walnut and Diamond Bar. After attending UC Riverside she developed an interest in politics and in helping her community. Her first political position started when she served for the Diamond Bar Community Foundation Board. She became Board President and was later appointed to Parks and Recreation Commissioner.
She ran for the Diamond Bar Water Board in 2005 and was underestimated, but won with a 51.8% vote and served four years. Later, her campaign for the Diamond Bar City Council began, where she served five years. After serving on City Council, she became a State Assembly Member, and finally Senator. Senator Chang has always been innately shy, but this is her theory: “I believe you should step outside your comfort zone in order to grow.”
Senator Chang is actively involved in STEM for youth. After our interview I attended a Senate App Challenge with her. She was President of Youth Science Center, a non-profit promoting STEM education, and while being Senator she has created innovative ways for children to learn.
One of the main issues Senator Chang has been working with is the homeless crisis. She is currently working with cities who are dealing with the homeless to find a unique “multi-pronged approach”. She is making sure that elected officials at the front lines have the proper materials to work hand in hand with the homeless. She prefers to be addressed as a “public servant” rather than a politician because she feels like that is a better job description.
Even though Senator Chang is a busy woman, she likes to have fun, too! During the little free time the Senator is given, her three Long Haired Chihuahuas get lots of attention. Another interesting time occupier of hers are extreme sports; “I used to surf and I recently Snowboarded after a long hiatus… I like tackling more of the challenging sports, I did a day trek up Mt. Whitnney and I really enjoy these things”. She is trying to learn different languages in her little free time. Right now her main languages are English, Mandarin, and Taiwanese. Ronald Regean is her main political inspiration. When she was young she wrote a letter to him and asked him to stay in office longer because she did not understand that his terms were over and she was so inspired by him.
One of her first few bills she got signed was to allow state employees to use services like Uber, Lift, and Air B & B, etc. “It was a really tough battle, but we got it signed by the governor and the Sharing Economy Caucus used my bill as a model for the Federal Government”. When I asked her if she ever thought she was going to be involved in politics her response was; “Never ever ever, not in my wildest dreams or my worst nightmare”.
At the end of the day, politics is a dirty game, but Senator Ling Ling Chang has shown us all that it really doesn’t have to be that way. Her methods of passing bills that help our community without always offending other opinions are very effective. Her strategies that help develop our state without hurting the economy are game-changing. But best of all, her influence on our community has a huge impact.