Wilma Chan
Assembly Member
16
th District, California

Assemblywoman Wilma Chan (D-Oakland) represents the cities of Oakland, Alameda and Piedmont in the California State Assembly.  She is the Assembly Majority Leader and serves on the Assembly Budget Committee and Education Finance subcommittee. She is a member of the Assembly Committees on Health; Aging and Long Term Care; Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy; Government Organization; and Banking and Finance. Ms. Chan is Chair of the Select Committee on California Children's School Readiness and Health. She is Co-Chair of the Select Committee on Language Access to State Services, Vice Chair of the Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, member of the Select Committees on Water and Air Quality, and California-Mexico Relations. Ms. Chan is also a member of the Legislative Women's Caucus, Environmental Caucus, Internet Caucus and Smart Growth Caucus.

Ms. Chan was elected to the Assembly in 2000, bringing 25 years of community service and ten years of hands-on legislative experience to the Legislature. Before winning election to the Assembly, Ms. Chan was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1994 and re-elected without opposition in 1998. On the Board of Supervisors, Ms. Chan chaired the Health Committee. She was the first Chair of the Alameda County Children and Families Commission, which has been distributing $20 million annually in new funds for the children's services. The Alameda County's Commission was considered the 'crown jewel' because of its comprehensive approach to early childhood development.

Her accomplishments at the Board of Supervisors included expanding the number of school-based health clinics, working with local officials to gain release of 220 acres of the Alameda Naval Air Station land for local needs, and leading lobbying efforts to restore benefits to legal immigrants. She also championed the efforts to build a new Emergency Room and Critical Care Building for the Alameda County Medical Center and Highland Hospital. She initiated a pilot welfare-to-work project in Oakland's San Antonio neighborhood, and developed the strategic plan on the future of health care services in Alameda County.

Assemblywoman Chan is an outspoken advocate on behalf of California children and their families. Her legislative priorities include health care, senior services, early childhood education, environmental health and sustainable economic development. Recently, she is introducing a package of bills to improve children's health and school success, and legislation to increase recycling, protect consumers, assist seniors, and promote civil rights. She has also 'adopted' Fruitvale Elementary School in Oakland and will be working with the parents, teachers, neighbors, community and civic groups to improve the health and education of the 700 students who attend the school. Ms. Chan has also launched 'Computers for Kids,' which will be distributing free computers to local schools. She authored a new law to encourage counties to build school partnerships by donating surplus computers to schools. She helped obtain funding for Woodstock Child Development Center in Alameda, which resulted in a decision to keep the Center open.

In 2001, Ms. Chan convened the Assembly Select Committee on California Children's School Readiness and Health, and held the first state hearings on the link between a child's health and school success. The Committee issued a groundbreaking report of their findings and legislative recommendations in March, 2002.

Ms. Chan led the successful legislative effort making permanent food stamps and cash assistance to low-income legal immigrant families and seniors, and sent the Governor legislation to encourage in-fill housing and new retail in downtown Oakland. She won approval for a study to determine the best way to provide in home support services to all California seniors and people with disabilities on a sliding fee scale and legislation to keep the Oakland Street Academy open. Ms. Chan also won approval of legislation to address seismic safety retrofitting at Oakland's Highland Hospital. She carried legislation to phase-out birth defect and cancer causing chemicals in California. She co-authored successful legislation to increase affordable housing, promote smart growth and increase funding to education.

In her first year in office, Ms. Chan recruited hundreds of volunteers to spruce up childcare centers in Oakland and fix up a park and childcare center in Alameda. She held sidewalk office hours throughout the district in the 'Chan Van' and distributed free energy saving light bulbs to local residents. She organized 500 school children in Oakland, Alameda and Piedmont to make winter holiday crafts which they brought to assisted living centers for seniors.

Assemblywoman Chan has been honored by the National Association of Social Workers-California Chapter, the American Association of University Women, California Hunger Action Network, Alameda County Tobacco Control Coalition, and the Soroptimists, among others. The Alameda Rotary gave her the Paul Harris award.

Ms. Chan was born in Boston, MA and has lived in Oakland and Alameda for nearly three decades. She holds a BA from Wellesley and a Masters Degree in Education Policy from Stanford University. She lives in Alameda with her husband, a public school teacher and her daughter. Her son is a student at UC San Diego.

 

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