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David Chiu

Re-elect State Assemblymember David Chiu to keep AD-17 on the right track.

About the Position

State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent and one seat is currently vacant.

About the District

California's 17th Assembly District includes the majority of San Francisco County. Democrats typically hold this district. Democrat incumbent Assemblymember David Chiu has held this office since being elected in 2014. The most recent election results show 88.1 percent of AD-17 voted for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, and 89.5 percent voted for Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018.

About the Race

In the primary, Democrat incumbent Assemblymember David Chiu led write-in Libertarian challenger Starchild by a margin of 100 percent. Chiu’s campaign has raised $882,528 and is funded by police money, fossil fuel money, and corporate PACs. Starchild’s campaign records are not available on the Secretary of State’s website.

About the Candidate

Assemblymember Chiu, a civil rights attorney, is originally from Boston and moved to San Francisco in 1996. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Assemblymember Chiu served as the president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, a criminal prosecutor with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, and founded Grassroots Enterprise, a public affairs technology company. Assemblymember Chiu has extensive involvement in the community, having served as president of the Asian American Bar Association, as Small Business Commissioner, as board member of Partners Ending Domestic Abuse, and as board chair for the Youth Leadership Institute. He is a longtime supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community, and of improving transportation and protecting California renters. According to campaign materials, Assemblymember Chiu is running for re-election to create affordable housing, improve schools, protect the environment, and defend civil rights.

Assemblymember Chiu’s priorities for AD-17 this year include housing, especially with the onset of COVID-19. He currently sits on six standing committees: Housing and Community Development (chair); Arts Subcommittee; Budget Subcommittee; Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration; Business and Professions; and Judiciary. He also serves as chair of the California Asian & Pacific Island Legislative Caucus. Assemblymember Chiu has sponsored 49 bills about environmental safety, transportation, and housing this year, of which 12 have been successfully chaptered. He scores a lifetime score of 98 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Assemblymember Chiu has supported the most progressive bills that made it to a vote. That said, he also supported a problematic bill (AB 1366), which would eliminate critical oversight of telecom companies.

Assemblymember Chiu is endorsed by several progressive groups, such as Equality California, Evolve, NARAL Pro-Choice California, and the Sierra Club. At this time, he does not have any problematic endorsements. His progressive record with legislation and community involvement speaks for itself, although his lack of campaign finance pledges needs improvement. According to our analysis, Assemblymember Chiu is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

David Chiu

David Chiu is from Boston and moved to San Francisco in 1996. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2014. According to campaign materials he is running for re-election to continue to use his long history as a consensus-building public leader to move policy forward on a range of progressive issues.

In the State Assembly, Chiu was appointed to serve as the Assistant Speaker pro Tempore during his first year, and has authored 48 bills that have been signed into law. Included among those bills is legislation to address the state’s affordable housing and homeless crisis, uphold abortion rights, and improve the sustainability of public transportation. Chiu currently Chairs the Assembly Housing & Community Development Committee, and serves as the Chair of the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, and sits on four additional committees. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Chiu served as the President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for six years, where he authored 110 city ordinances. Chiu spent his early career working as a civil rights attorney for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Senate Constitution Subcommittee. Chiu also founded a public affairs technology company called Grassroots Enterprise, where he served as the Chief Operating Officer.

Chiu has no challengers in this race. He scores a lifetime 98 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator’s progressive voting record. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Chiu has consistently shown great courage advocating or the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians.

According to our analysis, David Chiu is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.