About James Coleman (柯文建)
From San Mateo County ━━━━━━━━
I was born and raised in San Mateo County. My father was a FedEx worker. My mom is a Taiwanese immigrant who works as a lab assistant at Kaiser. Growing up working class profoundly shaped my values. When I was 5, my father suffered a traumatic injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down, and my mother had to work two jobs in order to make ends meet. He was in and out of the hospital during much of my life and later passed away during my teenage years.
At a young age I experienced what it was like to fall through the cracks.
It made me want to study biology to learn how people could heal from chronic injuries; and it made me want to learn how to make that our government and medical system work for all of us, and not just the wealthy few. Through the hard work and perseverance of my family and I, I graduated from South San Francisco High School, and earned a full ride scholarship to Harvard University. There, I graduated with a degree in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology and Government.
For San Mateo County ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
During COVID, I saw how the pandemic disproportionately wreaked havoc on the working families in our communities—in housing, healthcare, childcare, and our education system. I saw how the public health crisis of systemic racism was not just a distant injustice, but a real and present issue in our own community. And I successfully ran for city council to bring about the change, justice, and accountability that I wanted to see in our community, becoming South San Francisco’s youngest ever and first openly LGBTQ+ councilmember elected in the city’s history.
I came back to South San Francisco to the community I grew up in to serve and improve the lives of our residents. On the city council, I’ve seen that the many issues that we are facing are very systemic and the disparities exist far and wide. With the support of the community, I led the passage of the first $5 Hazard Pay ordinance in San Mateo County for our essential grocery, drugstore, and food retail workers during the pandemic. Through my leadership, South San Francisco passed the strongest environmental reach code for new building construction in the county, and is on the path to building our own affordable housing with over $100 million in affordable housing funds arriving within the next 10 years. South San Francisco is also expected to vote on a ballot measure this November that would provide universal preschool and childcare for every single family and worker in the city, all while raising teacher wages to a living wage.
With The Courage to Act ━━━━━━━
Before being elected to the city council, I was an environmentalist and a neuroscientist. I have worked with the Alliance for Climate Education, Sunrise Movement, the Harvard Undergraduates for Environmental Justice, and Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard. In September 2021, we successfully pushed Harvard University to divest its $40 billion endowment out of the fossil fuel industry. I have also conducted research in a neuroscience lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, studying the effects of aging and Alzheimer’s on the brain.
While the cost of living has skyrocketed in San Mateo County and around the state, average wages have stagnated. It’s never been more clear—we need bold action to address many of our issues and create a society in which working people don’t just survive, but have enough to truly thrive in our community. I’m running for state assembly with a very clear purpose—Sacramento can’t just work for the wealthy and well connected. It has to work for all of us. Together, we can build a California for everyone. We can address the many issues we face today with bold solutions that leave no community behind and let no family fall through the cracks.
A Seat in The State Assembly Should be Earned, Not Bought ━━━━━━━━━━
I am the only candidate in this race who is not taking any gifts or donations from corporations, because I believe it is time that our government prioritizes our working families over corporate special interests. On the issues that matter to us the most, I promise you that I’ve got the courage to act.
I’d be honored to earn your vote!