My brother and I are both proud graduates of Missouri City public schools. Our father commuted two hours every day to work as a chemical engineer in Lake Jackson, and our mother was a bookkeeper for a small business furniture store in Alief.
My first job as a server and dishwasher at a restaurant in Chinatown taught me the value of hard work and the importance of small businesses. Like many immigrant parents, mine had a fairly narrow definition of professional success: doctor, lawyer, or engineer. But I was always interested in public service. At a young age, I began volunteering with my church youth group by teaching English to new Americans and renovating Section 8 houses. The stark contrasts in educational and economic opportunities available to me relative to the people I served underscored the need for economic justice.
My Life Experience
As I grew older, I began to personally experience racism and homophobia. On the first political campaign I worked on, a family friend, a fellow Chinese American, was running for mayor. On the campaign trail, people called him a communist because he was from China. They said he was un-American because he had an accent. But nothing shook me more than waking up to a text saying that our campaign office had been burned down.
Around the same time, I was starting to come to terms with my sexual orientation. Growing up in a conservative religious community, I knew I was going to have a tough time coming out. It wasn’t until Annise Parker was elected as the first openly gay Mayor of Houston that I started to feel a sense of hope and belonging.
That’s why I’m running –
So that every kid in Harris County can look towards the future with a sense of hope and belonging. If elected, I will be the first Asian American and first openly gay person to serve on Harris County Commissioners Court.
My Professional Experience
After graduating from Rice University, I moved to D.C. to work for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, working to fix the damage done to families torn apart by unjust immigration laws and individuals burdened by student loans. I later worked for Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, helping to lead his political action committee where we traversed the country electing Democrats to office up and down the ballot.
After graduating from Northwestern University’s law school and business school and bearing witness to Donald Trump’s election, I was determined to return home to Houston and protect our democracy against Trump’s antics.
During the 2020 Presidential election, I served as the Director of Innovation for the Harris County Clerk’s Office. In this role, I led the history-making team that created and scaled drive-thru voting, a bold change that made voting more accessible for 130,000 people. Republicans tried to disqualify the 130,000 ballots cast via drive-thru voting, but we beat them in the courts -- every single time. Unfortunately, drive-thru voting and the other innovative measures put in place to expand voter access were made illegal by Republicans in Austin during the 2021 legislative session.
I’ve seen the way that expanding access to services and using innovation to bring the government to the people can impact those who have traditionally been overlooked and underserved. There is so much more that we can do if we rally around big, bold change. This campaign is for all of us who have ever felt left behind by our state government.