The American Dream
As a child of immigrant parents, John and his siblings grew up in a much different time. His parents arrived in this country, each dreaming of a better future. While their determination and relentlessness led to a middle class neighborhood with better schools, they still experienced bigotry, as the first Asian American Family on the block. But John’s parents never gave up on a better life for his family and that’s why he will never give up on the same for you.
John is running for Governor to make sure the future his parents were able to provide for him becomes a reality for the future of all California families. John will continue to fight for the millions of Californians who feel economically sidelined by the opportunities enjoyed by past generations, — fighting specifically for those who now feel homeownership, college affordability and a dignified retirement is wholly out of reach.
The Government Innovator
Elected California’s 33rd State Treasurer on November 4, 2014, John serves as our state’s banker, overseeing trillions of dollars in transactions every year. Conducting the State’s business in the most transparent manner possible is his top priority and the results are proof.
As Treasurer, John has made it easier for taxpayers to hold their government officials accountable by launching a website to make pay, benefits and borrowing costs for state and local governments available online, spanning back three decades. When Wall Street banks — like Wells Fargo – began ripping off innocent Californians by the millions of dollars they didn’t have, John hit them where it hurt most. Thanks to John’s grit, Wells Fargo was cut off from their most profitable lines of business with the largest state in the union– California.
Recognizing Californians deserve better when they plan and prepare for retirement, John was one of the architects of Secure Choice, a state sponsored retirement plan that will help 7.5 million Californians, with almost no cost to the state. California is at the fore front of a national movement and is set to herald in the most significant change to retirement savings since Social Security was enacted in the 1930s.
The Honest Broker
When government officials refused to do their job, John became the enforcer and held them accountable. For example, when then Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, threatened to cut State workers’ pay as leverage in a budget battle, John refused to implement the illegal order. He even held his own party accountable by withholding the pay of state legislators when they failed to pass a balanced state budget on time as required by the state constitution.
As the State Controller, John threatened withholding pay to the Legislature until they passed a budget that was real. A decision that may have been unpopular by his peers, John was responsible to the people who put him there, the voters. Understanding that voters expect their representatives to make the difficult decisions needed to resolve any budget shortfalls by the mandatory deadline, or be penalized. John simply enforced the will and trust of the people who put him there.
In 2008, when California faced the direst recession since the great depression, John went to work for us. As our economy was collapsing, John’s strong leadership and money management pulled us back from the brink of disaster. His fiscal responsibility was instrumental in keeping the State’s credit rating from plunging into junk status and saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
Additionally, as the most vigilant watchdog ever occupying the role of State Controller, John identified over $9.5 billion in fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars over the course of his service. And he didn’t stop there. By restructuring our state debt to generate $4.2 Billion for schools, infrastructure and public safety, John took our failing state economy and brought it back making it the 6th largest economy in the world.
The Next Governor of California
While California has recovered from the great recession, there are millions of Californians who are still economically dislocated and not within reach of the opportunities enjoyed by past generations of Californians. John knows there is more work to do to ensure more people have access to affordable housing, college affordability and a dignified retirement and as California’s next Governor, will continue to fight for the security of Californians for generations to come.
John graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in finance then attended Georgetown University for Law School. After graduating from Georgetown, he began his career as a tax law specialist with the Internal Revenue Service and later served as an attorney in the State Controller’s Office. When John is not traveling throughout California meeting the millions of constituents he works for, he enjoys spending time with his Godchildren.