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Sunday, December 10, 2023
ElectionsAn interview with County Supervisor District 3 Candidate: Kansen Chu

An interview with County Supervisor District 3 Candidate: Kansen Chu

Why are you running for County Supervisor?  


As an immigrant who came to the United States for graduate school, I am so honored and humbled to be elected to serve our community as a California State Assemblymember, San Jose City Councilmember and Berryessa School Board Trustee! With decades of public service experience and a strong commitment to independence, integrity and transparent government, I have built strong collaborative working relationships with our regional and state leaders across political party lines. 

I’m giving up an easy win to the Assembly seat to come home and run for a non-partisan position on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors because I want to focus my efforts to address many important issues we are facing in the County which my family has called home for the last 41 consecutive years. I am an independent thinker, and committed to focus my service to make Santa Clara County a better place to work, live, play, and retire for everyone.   


What do you love most about Santa Clara County? 


I love Santa Clara County’s diversity. Not just the cultural, religion, food, but the diversity in opinions. Ever since I started having my Community Office Hours when I was on the City Council, I have received many different opinions and ideas. They help me shape my policy focus to better serve my community.  


If elected, what would your priorities be to improve the lives of residents in our county? 


Public safety; traffic congestion; housing shortages; homelessness; healthcare, especially dental and mental health services, where services are always lacking; quality child care; open space; and park services.


What are some things you see that are happening in local government right now that inspire you? 


I am excited to take on the challenges that are facing my community such as the issues I mentioned in answering the previous question. I am experienced, committed, and ready to work hard for the County I’ve called home for the last 41 years. I am the best candidate for the job and I know that I can make a difference once elected.


How can we help our residents who are facing mental health challenges? What would you propose? 


After serving on Santa Clara Mental Board and serving as Chair of the State Assembly Human Services Standing Committee, I have identified some areas that we need to work on: 

1) There is still stigma around mental health that creates barriers to accessing service. People of all ages are still ashamed of their mental health struggles, therefore they suffer silently and alone. We need to put mental health needs on the same level as physical health and make it as normal to see a psychiatrist as it is to see a family doctor. I have been working on this issue for the past few years as a State Assemblymember. My proposals are to put mental health professionals in every K-12 school and allow for students and workers days off to seek mental health support. These are ways to normalize help, and seek and encourage more acknowledgement of mental health illness. 

2) Training for more culturally competent mental health professionals to better help our diverse population in California is necessary. Cultural beliefs and practices sometimes result in inappropriate or lack of treatment for mental health. Better trained professionals will result in more people seeking support. 

3) Providing school-based mental health services to expand and ensure easy access to help. Research shows that schools are where it is the easiest to reach children who need support. I want to make sure services are available to all children. Early prevention and intervention are key to better outcomes.

Through my work on mental health, I have received recognition by Mental Health America (MHA), and the National Alliance on Mental Illness; both are nationwide mental health advocacy organizations.      


Any proposals for bringing more affordable housing to our region? 


As your Supervisor, I will work with governments, businesses, labor, developers, financial industries, researching institutes, health care professionals, law enforcement, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and the public to address the housing and homelessness issues in our community. I believe that this is not a problem we can solve by just throwing money at it and will require collaboration from many sources. We need to develop a coherent strategy for a long term housing plan and provide short term solutions to address the housing shortage issue.

I have proposed a bill to require large companies to pay an employee tax for housing fund. We cannot keep piling up the burden on residents to fund more housing. Many big corporations are already stepping up and have contributed money to the local housing funds. We need all large corporations to contribute to improve the quality of life for those who work for them, and also the community they’ve called home. 


Any ideas to ease traffic congestion? 


  • Implement the recommendations of the recent Santa Clara County Grand Jury Report on the Valley Transportation Authority, starting out with improving its governance structure. I support a smaller Board with full time elected positions.
  • Bring above ground connection of the long promised Light Rail train to Eastridge Transit Center from Alum Rock
  • Use modem technology to design VTA bus routes 
  • Collaborating with neighboring counties to allow more bus services to cross county lines.
  • Explore the full potential of Personal Rapid Transit (PTR) system in Milpitas
  • Expedite the completion of BART to downtown San Jose  


Do you have any ideas that would help our county government function more effectively? 


I believe in open government and transparency. Government at all levels need checks and balances and that should include those who they serve. An open government will result in more ideas and accountability. We need to work with our community and listen for feedback to better serve them.


What do you think the biggest issue is that’s impacting residents in our district, and how do you intend to help fix it? 


Housing and Homelessness. As mentioned, this is a problem that we cannot just throw money at, and will require all hands on deck. We need to develop an achievable plan for long term housing and provide short term solutions to address the housing shortage issue.

    • Increase housing production by:
      • Advocating for effective government regulations
      • Improving regional transportation
      • Taking inventory of government owned lands
      • Promoting teachers, public safety personnel housing
      • Equitable distribution of housing for working families, seniors and people with disabilities 
      • First time home buyers assistance
    • Preserving existing rental units to avoid displacement of renters and small businesses.
    • Prevent sudden homelessness by:
      • Inventory of vacant units 
      • Short-term rent assistance 
      • Rapid rehousing to stop people from becoming chronically homeless 
    • Set priorities to help homeless families with school age children, veterans, seniors, disabled, and chronically homeless members in our community.  
    • Provide wrap around services to those in need.


What is something unique that you bring to the table? 


I am a recent immigrant who is dedicated to serving my community.  My engineering background helps me find practical and creative solutions to issues that we are facing as a community. I also have business operation experience as I owned various restaurants for many years. These experiences along with my involvement with community organizations and 14 years of public service make me a well-rounded candidate, and the best for the job. 


What is something that not everyone might know about you? 


I came to the U.S as a graduate student from Taiwan with a luggage full of engineering text books in Chinese.


What do you love to do in your spare time?


My son played on the Jr. Sharks team and SJSU ice hockey team. My wife and I spent a lot of time in the San Jose Ice Center. Now we have two adorable grandchildren (ages 4 and 6) and we love to hang out with them whenever we can.   


Anything else you’d like to share? 


My Mom is 98 years old. She lives in San Jose. She is in great health. 


Where can people go to learn more about you? 


For State related work: https://a25.asmdc.org/

For campaign related work: http://chuforsupervisor.com


And finally, why should people vote for you?


I have the most experience in public service. I have a good track record of serving the community and not just using an elected position as a stepping stone for higher office. This is clear through my decision to give up a sure win to run for a local position that will help me make more direct positive impacts on my County. Finally, I am committed to making my hometown the best place to live, work, play and retire.





  1. —-There is still stigma around mental health

    We are bombarded with instructions to believe that. Far too many of us are complying with the instructions.


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