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California State Government June 6, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

Who I am and what I have accomplished.

By John Chiang

Candidate for Controller; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate
The road leading my life in public service.
I have devoted my professional life to making elected leaders and government accessible to all Californians and personalizing government services to touch the lives of the citizens they serve. I am the son of immigrants from Taiwan. Growing up I faced a world in which racism and community divisiveness were at their peak in America and being challenged by some of our nation's finest leaders and heroes -- Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, the first Asian Pacific American family in the neighborhood, my family faced the very challenges the rest of America was witnessing across the nation. Despite these dfficulties, I learned the importance of determination, commitment, consensus building and above all community service -- lessons I learned by following in the footsteps of my mentors, teachers and especially my mother, by her enthusiasm as an active volunteer in our community.

I arrived in Los Angeles in 1987 and began work as a tax law specialist for the IRS. For more than a decade, I acquired a breadth of experience working as an attorney for then State Controller Gray Davis, and as a staff member to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, U.S. Congressman Mel Levine, State Controller Candidate, Don Perata, and Kathleen Brown during her race for Governor.

In the late 90s, fate brought my first opportunity to serve in elected offce. While Chief of Staff for California State Board of Equalization Member Brad Sherman, I assumed the role of acting Board Member when Mr. Sherman was elected to Congress in 1997. I succeeded in my own campaign in 1998 against several well-known political competitors and was recently re-elected to represent the 4th Equalization District, which is comprised of over 8.5 million residents in Los Angeles County. As Chairman of the State Board of Equalization and as a member of the Franchise Tax Board, while in office, I have successfully sponsored more legislative proposals signed into law than any other Board Member and have incorporated my firm belief that every elected office must be accessible to its constituents. I have personalized the BOE office by spearheading free tax and finance seminars to Californians, along with providing free income tax assistance to low income residents, seniors, and veterans as well as non-profit agencies. I have also consistently supported fair property tax reassessment for domestic partners.

I have worked to crack down on the underground economy and ensure fair collection of state taxes. I played a leadership role in helping "Justice for Janitors" organize the janitors in the building where the Board of Equalization has offices.

I have sponsored legislative proposals signed into law that include: filing deadline extensions for financially challenged taxpayers due to mental and physical incapacity and enhancing innocent spouse protection. Additional common-sense proposals were passed that streamlined the administrative process, for example, altering the property tax appeal process by shifting the appea1 filing date to occur after the final property tax amount has been determined.

In keeping with my ideals and commitment to community service, I currently serve on the Board of The Childrens Law Center and The Ethnic Coalition (an organization dedicated to building harmonious race relations). I have previously served as a Board Member of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles; a Member of the Council of Regents of the American Lung Association of Los Angeles County; The Children Affected by AIDS Foundation; an Advisory Board member of Big Sisters of Los Angeles; and as a Board Member of the Organization of Chinese Americans.

My wife Terry Chi and I live in Torrance, CA.

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