Meet California's first Gen Z lawmaker

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

The district, which encompasses Fremont, Santa Clara, San Jose, Milpitas and Newark, and straddles the East Bay and Silicon Valley, is without doubt 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 reality the underdog, and we had been outspent 15 to one,” Lee informed NBC Asian The united states. “The status quo didn’t toughen us, however when we knocked on 30,000 doorways, it paid off and we had a super victory.”

Lee mentioned he had 1000’s of conversations with other people in his district and believes that taking note of 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 p.c 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

Right through his marketing campaign, Lee inquisitive about a modern platform that incorporated inexpensive housing, schooling, well being take care of all, local weather exchange, visitors and transportation and getting rid of company affect in politics.

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

Lee, who is ready part the common age of California Meeting participants, mentioned his dating with era, rising up in a post-Nine/11 international and that he used to be the one candidate who skilled Ok-12 and better schooling within the 21st century gave him a contemporary standpoint.

“I’m probably the most outwardly left modern participants, 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 convey extra modern leaders to the state.”

The son of immigrants from Hong Kong — his mom is a nurse at a health center, 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 received a pupil 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 participants, 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 dwelling within the Bay House. Whilst campaigning, he labored for an app-based supply provider to assist in making ends meet. He mentioned he used to be fortunate if he made $20 for 2 hours of labor.

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

“The tech corporations depend on a trade style of employee exploitation,” he mentioned. “Some other people ask why I’m naysaying ‘an cutting edge new trade style,’ nevertheless it’s now not cutting edge or new; employee exploitation is an outdated trade style.”

One among his targets is to assist 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 felony justice reform. In June, he used to be arrested whilst peacefully protesting the dying of George Floyd.

“Experiencing the fraction I did with my arrest and procedure, or even the way in which our native cops exercised the very same police brutality that we see around the nation, is proof to me that this drawback is endemic around the nation,” mentioned Lee, whose case used to be sooner or later brushed aside. “It’s an institutional drawback, and it’s a long way past a pair unhealthy apples — the entire tree is spoiled and we want 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 standpoint and make him extra delicate to the desires of marginalized communities, even though he doesn’t particularly belong to them.

“Having a pass phase of identities informs me to be extra conscientious to ensure our insurance policies are inclusive and paintings for everybody,” he mentioned. “I can all the time needless to say nuance in relation to my constituency.”

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