By GWEN MURANAKA
RAFU ENGLISH EDITOR
History could be made next Tuesday as James Lau seeks to be the third consecutive Asian American to represent the 53rd Assembly District, which includes Torrance, Redondo Beach, Marina Del Rey and Lomita.
“I will be a very strong advocate and voice for our community,” said Lau. “What separates me is my experience and background at actually having worked on these issues.”
Lau, assistant executive director of the state League of Conservation Voters education fund, faces a crowded field for the Democratic nomination to replace Ted Lieu, who is running for state attorney general. The winner will face Republican Nathan Mintz, Green Party member Lisa Ann Green and Libertarian Ethan Musulin in November.
Former Assemblymember George Nakano, who held the seat prior to Lieu, was an early endorser of Lau’s campaign.
“Among the candidates that’s running, James has the most experience working with the legislature. He knows the process that goes on in Sacramento,” said Nakano.
Lau, 35, was raised in Idaho where his parents ran a Chinese restaurant.
“I grew up in the restaurant business, washing dishes, cleaning tables. It was such hard work, they taught me that we needed to study hard and get a good education,” said Lau.
He graduated from USC where he spent a summer as a canvasser for the Sierra Club, urging residents to contact their legislator to take action on sensitive environmental issues.
In Sacramento, Lau served in policy positions for former state Sen. Teresa Hughes and former Assemblym Jerome Horton. He said tackling the state’s budget will be his top priority in office.
“The state budget has an impact on education. Torrance, Redondo Beach, and Manhattan Beach school districts are laying off teachers because due to the state budget they don’t’ have enough money,” said Lau. “Let’s fix the state budget so we can get more revenue for education, also help with our health programs and the environment.”
“I encourage readers of Rafu to come out and vote, we can make history here,” said Lau. “The population here is over 10 percent Asian. Other districts have a lot higher percentage, but it’s up to the voters to do it.”