Biography

Assemblymember Kansen Chu was elected in November 2014 to represent California’s 25th Assembly District, which includes the Alameda County communities of Fremont and Newark, and the Santa Clara County communities of Milpitas, San José and Santa Clara. Assemblymember Chu currently serves as the Chair of the Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media Committee. Additionally, he serves on the Assembly Insurance Committee, Revenue and Taxation Committee, Transportation Committee, and Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee.  In addition to the committees mentioned above, Assemblymember Chu created the Select Committee on Hate Crimes and is spearheading the conversation and policy changes to denounce hate and keep communities safe.  Prior to becoming Chair of the Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media Committee, Chu was appointed Chair of the Human Services Committee where he pushed many policies to help get struggling families back on their feet.

Since elected in 2014, Chu has focused on mental health, public safety, education, environmental protection and justice, and good governance in the legislature. From 2018 to 2019, Assemblymember Chu secured more than $60 million to support training and recruitment of mental health professionals, fight against car break-ins and property theft, senior services, arts education and emergency preparedness.  In addition to successful funding requests, Chu passed bills to increase schoolbus safety, expand access to mental health services, secure more funding for public transportation, improve state’s recycling efforts, expand access to clean drinking water for disadvantaged communities, protect domestic abuse survivors, and move the State away from outdated practice of switching the clock twice a year. 

This year, he is working to hold utility companies accountable for the power shut offs that affect over 3 million people last year. Assemblymember Chu continues his efforts to break down mental health stigma through AB 8 and AB 1838 to put a mental health professional in every single school in California and ensure that our children are able to take time off from school to address mental health crisis.  He is also working to address the lack of affordable housing by requiring big companies to pay into a fund that will support the development of affordable housing within their community.  His other legislative priorities in 2020 include free transit fares for seniors, safer gun storage requirement, and protecting youth from sexual harassment in the work place.

Kansen Chu previously served on the San José City Council for seven years. He was the first Chinese-American to serve on the region’s City Council. During this time, he made public health and environmental issues top priorities, passing initiatives to require citywide green building standards and championed a ban on single-use plastic bags. He also spearheaded the installation of automatic heart defibrillators across San José as a way to save lives.

While serving on the City Council, Chu worked with community members to create the North San José Neighborhood Plan, established the Berryessa Business Association, helped start the Berryessa Farmers Market, and moved the long-awaited Commodore Park project forward. He served on 21 local and regional governing committees and represented San José on the League of California Cities and the Association of Bay Area Governments.

A long-time advocate for education, Chu was elected to the Berryessa Union School Board District in 2002. As a school boardmember, he worked to bolster public education materials, strengthen curriculum and improve public access to school board meetings.

Born in Taiwan, Chu moved to the United States in 1976 as a graduate student. He holds a Master's in Electrical Engineering from Cal State Northridge, and worked as a Microdiagnostics Microprogrammer at IBM for 18 years. In addition, he also owned and operated Ocean Harbor Chinese Restaurant for 16 years.

Chu and his wife Daisy have been married for more than 40 years. They have two adult children, Ann and Walt, a son-in-law Steve, and grandchildren, Kimberly and Connor.