Former Assemblymember Mike Eng talks about his bid for State Senate during an interview with The Rafu Shimpo. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)
Mike Eng has some unfinished business in Sacramento.
Eng, who is a candidate for State Senate District 22, said he is running to continue the work he started during three terms in the State Assembly.
“The biggest frustration was being in the Assembly for just six years and we were just beginning to break through on issues such as housing, clean water and bullying,” Eng said in an interview with The Rafu Shimpo.
“Being in the State Senate would allow me not to just continue that path, but address new issues that have come up using the same methodology that works.”
The district is an area that Eng has served for many years at various levels of government. He was a mayor and councilmember for Monterey Park and most recently was vice president of the L.A. Community College District Board of Trustees. Eng is married to Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena).
District 22 encompasses the San Gabriel Valley and the communities of Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, South San Gabriel, Rosemead, El Monte, South El Monte, Baldwin Park, Irwindale, Industry, Avocado Heights, La Puente, Valinda, West Covina, Vincent, Azusa, Citrus, Covina, Temple City, Arcadia and surrounding neighborhoods.
During his time in the Assembly, Eng chaired the policy committees on Transportation; Banking and Finance; Business and Professions; and Consumer Protection.
He was the author of Assembly Bill 685, known as the Human Right to Water Bill, and the Homeowner Bill of Rights. During his tenure with the Community College Board, he initiated the district’s first comprehensive student survey, which revealed almost 20 percent of students are homeless and two-thirds experience hunger and food insecurity on a regular basis.
“My committee organized a proposal to do student housing. The transition moving forward is to try to really think out of the old box,” Eng said.
“Public services have become more serious and I’m glad I have experience at three levels of government, because a lot of the issues don’t format into a single government agency, it requires coordination over multiple agencies,” he added.
Eng is running against Baldwin Park Councilmembers Susan Rubio and Monica Garcia and public health advocate Ruben Sierra in the June 5 primary. The district is currently represented by Sen. Ed Hernandez, who is termed out and running for lieutenant governor. If no one wins outright, the top two vote-getters will face off in November.
Hernandez has endorsed Eng to be his successor. Eng’s endorsers also include Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, State Senate Pro Tem Emeritus Kevin de Leon, the California Labor Federation, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, and State Treasurer John Chiang, who is running for governor.
“I believe in the value of a democracy. I can’t control my age, gender ethnicity, but the one thing I can control is perseverance. The one thing is to persevere, and to include everyone and to be respectful. Those are the values that I see are important,” Eng stated.
— GWEN MURANAKA