Resolutions: Alex Lee is Making Policy on Fast-Forward

It’s a moment he and the textbooks won’t forget.

Alex Lee, the first openly bisexual state legislator, California’s youngest-ever Asian American legislator and the first Gen Z assemblyman, was sworn in Dec. 7 as California’s new District 25 assemblymember at Golden 1 Center.

It was an historic oath of office for a history-making legislator. So he allowed himself a few minutes to drink it in.

“To know the hard work that led me to that point of being elected and sworn in was incredibly humbling and exciting,” he says.

Then, before the buzz died, Lee introduced his first bill, AB 20, which would build a publicly-financed election system and ban corporate campaign contributions.

That Lee is moving fast may not be altogether surprising. The fresh-faced legislator is staring down a mess in 2021, just like the rest of his colleagues. But whether he says it aloud or not, he’s also got something to prove as the youngest guy in the room and part of a generation that is equal parts highly informed, technologically savvy and idealistic. Lee may be the first sneak peek at what politics could look like in five, 10 or 20 years.

Assembly District 25 encompasses San Jose, Santa Clara, Fremont, Newark and Milpitas. Lee was recently appointed to serve on five committees for the 2021 legislative session, and he’s got ambitious New Years resolutions for his constituents.

Lee is working on a bill to ban evictions during the pandemic—the first of many initiatives he wants to bring to fruition in his inaugural year.

He also wants to create a rental relief program for those hit hardest by Covid-19, push for affordable housing, get more people access to health care and “defeat the virus.”

Bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of political will—or the gaping expanse between policy and legislation as well as between law and its implementation—will be a barrier, he says.

Even so, Lee is optimistic that there are enough other Assemblymembers with similar ideals to advance his goals.

He’s also staked his name in his push to eliminate corporate influence in politics. To that end, Lee says his constituents can expect policies that are “inclusive” from his office.

And in between all that, Lee, like many people, is eager to get his life back to normal in a post-pandemic world.

“I always told myself I would get back to my morning workout routine once the pandemic was over,” he says. “Of course, it’s gone on longer than anyone could’ve ever imagined. Either way, I’d like to start off the new year and establish a good routine to once again build my physical and mental health.”

And on Dec. 31, how will Lee judge success in 2021?

“If there is real, tangible change, improvement and a positive impact in people’s lives,” he says. “Not just a pat on the back which is prevalent in politics, but to have people feel like their lives are improving. I think all of these goals are within reason.”

Editor’s note

New Year’s resolutions aren’t for everyone. But for Silicon Valley influencers looking to the other side of this pandemic, they’re a start. 

South Bay thinkers from four sectors—arts, business, tech and politics—were asked to chart the road to an improved future over the next 12 months. It’s likely this group won’t RSVP to the same post-pandemic happy hour. And yet, their New Year’s resolutions all centered around a singular philosophy: 2021 is a year for equity. 

That’s not a new idea in Silicon Valley, where advocates have long criticized how the region could featherbed some of the world’s richest people alongside a staggering homeless population and struggling service class. But 2021, the year of rebuilding, might be the best shot the region has had to fix some of those imbalances, our subjects say. 

In this four-part series, our leaders share how they hope to make it happen. This is part three. Read part one here. Read part two here

7 Comments

  1. Is San José Inside the PR of local politicians? SHAMEFUL!!! The Murkury Newx was already doing this. Politicians do not need another outlet for their PR, the people do!

  2. I hope Mr. Lee does buck the trend and make the lasting changes for our society. Many issues, such as what goes on in Family Court, are taboo for law makers. I have contact Hon. Mark Stone directly for assistance in my own matter. He is the Chair for the Judiciary. There is one judge in particular that I have complained about.

    1) Judge Towery let my son get molested (2) He refuses to order an emergency screening to protect my other children after I complained about what he did to my son and (3) He forces my youngest daughter, against the wishes of both biological parents, to be in the custody of a documented rapist.

    Our elected officials act in adherence to societal norms, which include protecting children from sexual abuse. After reading this article, I have become hopeful and will contact Mr. Lee regarding the aforementioned issues.

  3. BEN Z., what political official have you seen fighting for this child sexual abuse situation? The only recent public official who won’t a recall on this issue is Michelle Dauber and she was made a 🧙‍♀️ The Santa Clara County Family Court is a mafia. Not all judges or attorneys are corrupted, but the culture is there. In the last SCC Children Forum it was the public who were advocating for ending the sexual epidemic and violence against women and children in this county, Domestic Violence, and impunity of these crimes cause by Jeff Rosen’s corruption. No political officials stood up for this cause. Politicians do these PR articles, so you remember their names when you go to vote. Those who have fought for this cause are there and still fighting. They are not politicians. Check who this Alex Lee hangs around with, then you will know who he is and his future political intentions.

  4. Looking forward to solid legislative work informed by, and responsive to, the progressive base of support that propelled Mr. Lee into office. Attacking money in politics is fundamental and good start. (Let’s kick the damned money changers out of the temple.) So too are universal and publicly financed health care and education across the board with taxes on the wealthy providing the fiscal firepower to make it all robust and sustainable. I, for one, will be keeping my feet in the street, while reminding Mr. Lee and other progressives about the urgency to act boldly and decisively.

  5. The very ones who promote banning corporate campaign contributions are the same ones who take campaign contributions from unions. What’s the difference? If you ban corporate contributions, ban union contributions.

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