Meet California's first Gen Z lawmaker

Democrat Alex Lee made historical past in a couple of tactics when he gained California’s 25th District Meeting race on Nov. three. At 25, he’ll grow to be California’s youngest Asian American state legislator ever, the primary overtly bisexual state legislator and the primary meeting member from Era Z.

The district, which encompasses Fremont, Santa Clara, San Jose, Milpitas and Newark, and straddles the East Bay and Silicon Valley, is likely one of the heaviest Asian state legislative districts within the state.

“It’s extremely exhilarating as a result of our marketing campaign used to be in point of fact the underdog, and we had been outspent 15 to at least one,” Lee instructed NBC Asian The us. “The established order didn’t make stronger us, however when we knocked on 30,000 doorways, it paid off and we had a really perfect victory.”

Lee mentioned he had 1000’s of conversations with other people in his district and believes that being attentive to what they cared about used to be why a sweeping majority gave him their votes.

After breaking out of a crowded number one, Lee defeated Republican Bob Brunton with greater than 72 % of the vote. Lee secured endorsements from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and previous presidential candidate Andrew Yang, amongst others.

Alex Lee used to be elected to the California state meeting at 25, making him the youngest Asian American state legislator within the nation.Courtesy Alex Lee

All the way through his marketing campaign, Lee curious about a innovative platform that integrated reasonably priced housing, training, well being deal with all, local weather trade, visitors and transportation and getting rid of company affect in politics.

Lee rejected all marketing campaign contributions from company, fossil gas, developer and police pursuits and mentioned that he would introduce a invoice to get company cash out of politics once he’s taking place of job on Dec. 7.

Lee, who is set part the typical age of California Meeting contributors, mentioned his courting with generation, rising up in a post-Nine/11 international and that he used to be the one candidate who skilled Ok-12 and better training within the 21st century gave him a recent point of view.

“I’m one of the outwardly left innovative contributors, so I do assume I’ll ruffle a couple of feathers with other people of various political persuasions,” Lee mentioned. “It’s my hope and accountability to deliver extra innovative leaders to the state.”

The son of immigrants from Hong Kong — his mom is a nurse at a clinic, and his father is an engineer — Lee used to be born and raised in San Jose and Milpitas and studied political science at College of California, Davis. He gained a scholar Senate race six years in the past and used to be elected president of the college in 2016.

Whilst in school, Lee interned for then-Rep. Mike Honda and a number of other meeting contributors, together with his District 25 predecessor, Kansen Chu. After graduating in 2017, Lee labored as a legislative aide for state Sen. Henry Stern and as a box consultant for Assemblymember Evan Low.

Like such a lot of younger adults, Lee nonetheless lives at house together with his circle of relatives as a result of the top price of residing within the Bay House. Whilst campaigning, he labored for an app-based supply provider to help in making ends meet. He mentioned he used to be fortunate if he made $20 for 2 hours of labor.

Lee mentioned California’s contemporary passage of Proposition 22, which exempts companies reminiscent of Uber, Lyft and DoorDash from having to categorise their gig employees within the state as workers, and used to be the most costly poll measure within the state’s historical past, is a gloomy signal for democracy.

“The tech firms depend on a industry fashion of employee exploitation,” he mentioned. “Some other people ask why I’m naysaying ‘an cutting edge new industry fashion,’ however it’s no longer cutting edge or new; employee exploitation is an previous industry fashion.”

Considered one of his targets is to help in making a extra simply society the place other people don’t need to “slave away for cents at the buck.”

Lee could also be dedicated to legal justice reform. In June, he used to be arrested whilst peacefully protesting the demise of George Floyd.

“Experiencing the fraction I did with my arrest and procedure, or even the best way our native cops exercised the very same police brutality that we see around the nation, is proof to me that this downside is endemic around the nation,” mentioned Lee, whose case used to be ultimately pushed aside. “It’s an institutional downside, and it’s a ways past a pair dangerous apples — the entire tree is spoiled and we wish to replant the orchard.”

He added that no lives, particularly Black and brown ones, are protected “so long as the spearpoint of the justice gadget is so pointed at the ones communities.”

Lee mentioned his personal identities as a queer, younger Asian Pacific Islander tell his point of view and make him extra delicate to the desires of marginalized communities, although he doesn’t in particular belong to them.

“Having a pass segment of identities informs me to be extra conscientious to ensure our insurance policies are inclusive and paintings for everybody,” he mentioned. “I can at all times remember that nuance on the subject of my constituency.”

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