Judy Chu

Judy Chu
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 27th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Brad Sherman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 32nd district
In office
July 14, 2009  January 3, 2013
Preceded by Hilda Solis
Succeeded by Grace Napolitano
Member of the California State Board of Equalization
from the 4th district
In office
January 3, 2007  July 14, 2009
Preceded by John Chiang
Succeeded by Jerome Horton
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 49th district
In office
May 15, 2001  December 4, 2006
Preceded by Gloria Romero
Succeeded by Mike Eng
Personal details
Born Judy May Chu

(1953-07-07) July 7, 1953
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mike Eng (m. 1978)
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
Alliant International University
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 趙美心
Simplified Chinese 赵美心
Hanyu Pinyin Zhào Měixīn

Judy May Chu (Chinese: 趙美心; born July 7, 1953)[2] is an American politician. She is the first Chinese American woman elected to the U.S. Congress.[3] She serves as the U.S. Representative for California's 27th congressional district, serving in Congress since 2009. She is a member of the Democratic Party.

Chu was previously Chair of the California Board of Equalization, representing the 4th District.[4] She had also served on the Garvey Unified School District Board of Education, the Monterey Park City Council (with five terms as mayor) and the California State Assembly.

Chu ran in the 32nd congressional district special election for the seat that was vacated by Hilda Solis after she was confirmed as Barack Obama's U.S. Secretary of Labor in 2009.[5] She defeated Republican candidate Betty Tom Chu and Libertarian candidate Christopher Agrella in a runoff election on July 14, 2009.[6] Chu was redistricted to the 27th District in 2012, but was still re-elected to a third term, defeating Republican challenger Jack Orswell.

Early life, education, and academic career

Judy Chu is the second of four children of Judson and May Chu, who were married in 1948 in their ancestral home of Xinhui, Jiangmen, Guangdong. They subsequently moved to Los Angeles, near 62nd Street and Normandie Avenue, where Chu was born and grew up until her early teen years, when the family moved to the Bay Area.[7][8]

Chu graduated with a B.A. in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles. She then earned a Ph.D. in psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology.

She taught as a psychology professor at the Los Angeles Community College District for 20 years, including 13 years at East Los Angeles College.[4][9]

Local politics

Chu in 2007, while still a member of the Board of Equalization

Chu's first elected position was Board Member for the Garvey School District in Rosemead, California in 1985. In 1988 she was elected to the city council of Monterey Park, where she served as mayor for three terms.[4][9] She ran for the California State Assembly in 1994, but lost the Democrat primary to Diane Martinez; in 1998, she lost the primary to Gloria Romero.

Chu was elected to the State Assembly in a May 15, 2001, special election after Romero was elected to the State Senate. She was elected to a full term in 2002 and was reelected in 2004. The district includes Alhambra, El Monte, Duarte, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino and South El Monte, within Los Angeles County.[10]

Barred by term limits from running for a third full term in 2006, Chu was elected to the State Board of Equalization from the 4th District, representing most of Los Angeles County.

U.S. House of Representatives



Chu decided to run for the 2009 special election for the California's 32nd congressional district after U.S. Congresswoman Hilda Solis was appointed to become President Barack Obama's U.S. Secretary of Labor. Chu led the field in the May 19 special election. However, due to the crowded nature of the primary (eight Democrats and four Republicans filed) she only got 32% of the vote, well short of the 50% vote needed to win outright.[11] In the run-off election, she defeated Republican Betty Chu (her cousin-in-law and a then-Monterey Park City Councilwoman) 62%–33%.[6][12]


Chu was heavily favored due to the district's heavy Democrat tilt and with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D+15, it is one of the safest Democratic districts in the nation. She won re-election to her first full term with 71% of the vote.[13]


In August 2011, Chu decided to run in the newly redrawn California's 27th congressional district.[14] The district has the second highest percentage of Asian Americans in the state with 37%, behind the newly redrawn 17th CD which is 50% Asian.[15] Registered Democrats make up 42% of the district. Obama won the district with 63% in the 2008 presidential. Jerry Brown won with 55% in the 2010 gubernatorial election.[16][17] Representative Chu won re-election by defeating Republican Jack Orswell 64% to 36%.[18]


Chu was sworn into office on July 16, 2009.


Chu believes that the immigration system is outdated and in need of reform. She has worked to pass the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (H.R. 15). She strongly supports the DREAM Act and has worked for its passage. She has introduced the Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation Act (POWER Act, or H.R. 2169), introduced to stop disreputable employers from exploiting immigrants.[19]

In July 2015, Chu went before Congress to speak out against what she sees as the "shocking" treatment of women and children held in for-profit detention facilities in the U.S. Comparing them to Japanese internment camps, Chu states the prolonged detention re-traumatizes families, breaks apart the parent-child relationship, and has serious cognitive effects on children.[20]


Chu cosponsored the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010 which authorizes the President of the United States to support measures providing abortions and other reproduction assistance to women in developing countries. In 2010, Chu voting against measures proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives to strip government funding to Planned Parenthood, and opposed restricting federal funding of abortions.[21][22] Chu has received ratings of 100 from all Pro-Choice affiliates including Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.[23] She has also received ratings of 100 from the NARAL pro-choice California in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 [23] while receiving very low ratings given by Pro-Life organizations in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.[23]


In 2009, Chu voted to increase the debt ceiling to $12.394 trillion. In 2010, Chu voted to increase the debt ceiling to $14.294 trillion. In January 2011, she voted against a bill to reduce spending on non-security items to fiscal year 2008 levels. In 2011, Chu voted against the Budget Control Act of 2011, which incrementally raised the debt ceiling.[24]

Defense of Civil Liberties

Chu opposed the "See Something, Say Something Act of 2011," which provides "immunity for reports of suspected terrorist activity or suspicious behavior and response." She said, "if a person contacts law enforcement about something based solely on someone's race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin, they would not receive immunity from civil lawsuits."[25][26]

On July 24, 2013, the United States House of Representatives voted on Amendment 100 to the H.R. 2397 Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 which if passed would have ended the authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act.[27] Chu voted "Aye" to pass amendment 100 and end the blanket collection authority; however, the amendment did not pass with the "Noes" blocking the amendment 217-205.[28]

Internet policy

In 2011, Rep. Chu became a co-sponsor of Bill H.R.3261 otherwise known as the Stop Online Piracy Act.[29]

Apology for the Chinese Exclusion Act

On June 18, 2012, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution, introduced by Congresswoman Chu, that formally expresses the regret of the House of Representatives for the Chinese Exclusion Act, which imposed almost total restrictions on Chinese immigration and naturalization and denied Chinese-Americans basic freedoms because of their ethnicity. This was only the fourth time that the U.S. Congress issued an apology to a group of people.[30]


In June 2011 the House Ethics Committee began an investigation after receiving information suggesting that two of Chu's top aides had directed staffers to do campaign tasks during regular work hours. In the course of the investigation it was found that Chu had sent two emails to her staff on how to respond to aspects of the Ethics Committee's inquiry. While the Committee found no evidence to support that Chu was aware of the actions of her staff, they did find that the emails represented actions that interfered with the committee's investigation of the matter, and on December 11, 2014, Rep. Chu was formally reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee for interfering with their investigation of her office.[31][32]

Committee assignments

Chu and husband Mike Eng, with Nancy Pelosi, at Chu's Swearing In ceremony for the U.S. House of Representatives



Personal life

Chu married Mike Eng in 1978. Eng took Chu's seat on the Monterey Park City Council in 2001, when Chu left the council after getting elected to the Assembly, and in 2006 he took Chu's seat on the Assembly, when Chu left the Assembly.

Chu's nephew, Lance Corporal Harry Lew, a US Marine, committed suicide while serving in Afghanistan on April 3, 2011, allegedly as a result of hazing from fellow Marines after Lew allegedly repeatedly fell asleep during his watch. Chu described her nephew as a patriotic American and said that those responsible must be brought to justice.[33]

See also


  1. 美首位华裔女国会议员赵美心回广东省亲 – See image (Archive)
  2. "California Births, 1905–1995". Familytreelegends.com. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
  3. "Judy Chu trounces rivals in congressional race". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. 2009-07-14. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  4. 1 2 3 "Vice Chair Judy Chu". California Board of Equalization. 2007. Archived from the original on 13 February 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2007.
  5. Larrubia, Evelyn (2008-12-23). "Solis' House seat draws interest of prominent politicians". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-12-24.
  6. 1 2 Blood, Michael P. Democrat captures US House seat in LA county, Huffington Post, 15 July 2009.
  7. "趙美心是心理學博士". Singtaousa News. 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
  8. Merl, Jean (July 16, 2009). "Judy Chu becomes first Chinese American woman elected to Congress". Los Angeles Times.
  9. 1 2 Chu, Judy (2002). "Political Philosophy for Judy Chu". SmartVoter.org. League of Women Voters of California Education Fund. Retrieved 14 May 2007.
  10. "Biography at California Assembly website". Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  11. "CA District 32 – Special Election Race – May 19, 2009". Our Campaigns. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  12. "CA District 32 – Special Election Runoff Race – Jul 14, 2009". Our Campaigns. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  13. "CA – District 32 Race – Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  14. Galindo, Erick (August 8, 2011). "Judy Chu announces plans to run for new San Gabriel Valley congressional district". Pasadena Star-News. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  15. "Demographics of the new congressional districts – Spreadsheets". Los Angeles Times. 2011-07-29. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  16. "Final 2011 Congressional Spreadsheet" (PDF). Redistricting Partners. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  17. "Final 2011 Congressional Spreadsheet 2" (PDF). Redistricting Partners. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  18. United States House of Representatives elections in California, 2012
  19. "Immigration". U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  20. "Rep. Chu Joins Progressive Caucus, House Judiciary Democrats at Forum on Family Detention". U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  21. "Political Positions of Judy Chu". The Political Guide. The Political Guide. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  22. "Rep. Chu Continues Fighting to Protect the Health and Lives of Women". Congresswoman Judy Chu. Congresswoman Judy Chu. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  23. 1 2 3 4 Issue Rating at votesmart.org
  24. "The Political Positions of Judy Chu". The Political Guide. The Political Guide. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  25. Kamboj, Kirti. "H.R. 963: The 'See a Minority, Report a Terrorist' Act of 2011?". Hyphen Magazine. Hyphen Magazine. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  26. Dye, Shawn (August 8, 2011). "Watch Rep. Judy Chu Argue for Protections against Racial Profiling". Unfinished Business.
  28. FINAL VOTE RESULTS H R 2397 RECORDED VOTE 24-Jul-2013 6:51 PM
  29. Bill H.R.3261; GovTrack.us;
  30. 112th Congress (2012) (June 8, 2012). "H.Res. 683 (112th)". Legislation. GovTrack.us. Retrieved August 9, 2012. Expressing the regret of the House of Representatives for the passage of laws that adversely affected the Chinese in the United States, including the Chinese Exclusion Act.
  31. "Official Letter of Reproval US House of Representatives, Committee on Ethics" (PDF). US House. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  32. House, Billy (2014-12-11). "Chu, Gingrey Rebuked by House Ethics Panel". National Journal. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  33. McAvoy, Audrey. 3 Marines will go to trial for alleged hazing, Associated Press, 26 October 2011.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Judy Chu.
Political offices
Preceded by
Matthew Martínez
Member of the Monterey Park City Council
Succeeded by
Mike Eng
Preceded by
John Chiang
Member of the California State Board of Equalization
from the 4th district

Succeeded by
Jerome Horton
California Assembly
Preceded by
Gloria Romero
Member of the California Assembly
from the 49th district

Succeeded by
Mike Eng
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Hilda Solis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 32nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Grace Napolitano
Preceded by
Mike Honda
Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
Preceded by
Brad Sherman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 27th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mike Quigley
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
John Garamendi
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