SACRAMENTO — California State Treasurer John Chiang on May 16 filed paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office to allow him to raise funds for governor in 2018.
Chiang, 53, a Democrat from Torrance, was elected state controller twice before being elected to his current post in 2014.
His campaign released the following statement:
“John Chiang is recognized as one of California’s most creative and effective leaders. As treasurer he renegotiated long-term state debt, securing over $3.2 billion in savings to help pay for vital services.
“As state controller, Chiang identified over $9 billion in waste and mismanagement through aggressive audits, far more than any previous controller.
“Chiang is known for his commitment to openness and accountability in government. He placed the salaries and benefits of all public employees online, created a searchable database for state and local public debt, and publicly tracks revenues and expenditures generated by Proposition 30.
“In 2008, Chiang took on Gov. [Arnold] Schwarzenegger and refused to slash the pay of 200,000 state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour.
“In 2011, Chiang withheld pay from state legislators in order to hold them accountable for failing to pass a balanced budget by the state constitutionally imposed deadline.”
The son of immigrants from Taiwan, Chiang grew up in a Chicago suburb, graduated with honors from the University of South Florida with a degree in finance, and earned a law degree from Georgetown University.
He began his career as a tax law specialist and worked as an attorney for State Controller Gray Davis and as a staff member for Sen. Barbara Boxer. He was appointed to fill a vacancy on the State Board of Equalization in 1997, elected to a full term in 1998, and re-elected in 2002.
Chiang ran for state controller in 2006, winning a primary battle despite being heavily outspent. He was re-elected in 2010. In 2014, he was handily elected state treasurer with 57.7 percent of the vote, the largest margin of any of the seven down-ticket statewide races.
If elected, he would be the state’s first Asian American and first minority governor.
The only other official candidate in the race to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown is another Democrat, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who announced his candidacy in February.
Other Democrats who might run include former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, billionaire Tom Steyer, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Steve Westly.
Possible Republican candidates include San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin.
Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma, a Democrat, and Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) have announced that they will run for state treasurer in 2018.