Alex Lee is now the youngest elected California lawmaker in 82 years.
According to Mercury News, 25-year-old Alex Lee was elected to represent District 25 in the California State Assembly. This not only makes Lee the youngest elected member of California’s legislature in several decades, but he’s also the first openly bisexual California state legislature and the youngest Asian American legislator too.
Alex Lee is originally from North San Jose, where he currently lives with his mother. Lee grew up in the area and worked in his early adulthood as a legislative aid for State Senator Henry Stern. Lee also has experience working under several other lawmakers like Congressman Mike Honda; Assemblyman Kansen Chu, his District 25 predecessor; Assemblyman Ed Chau; Assemblyman Evan Low, who is openly gay; and Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguilar Curry.
“He was my guy to keep a finger on the pulse of the whole building. You knew whose bill lived, whose bill died, who was mad at who,” Stern told Mercury News. “He became the Siri of the Senate floor in a way.”
Stern also noted why voters saw Alex Lee was a prime candidate for the Assembly seat.
“I think people are looking for authenticity first, a real person. So even if he was to the left of some people, or to the right of some people, he’s real,” Stern explained.
While working part-time as a gig-worker for an app-based delivery service, Lee campaigned for the legislative spot. He ran on several agendas, such as fighting for rent forgiveness to residential and business properties unable to pay, voicing the need for tuition-free college for Californians, expanding bus and rail coverage for public transportation, banning corporate contributions to political campaigns, enacting the Green New Deal, and establishing universal healthcare for all.
“As someone who’s struggled with housing security and financial security, I also understand that can cause anxiety. And that’s going to be informing my perspective going into office,” said Lee after winning the political race.
Stern noted that he’s sure Lee will meet pushback from other lawmakers asking him to ‘Wait your turn,” but Lee’s mentor then added, “he’s speaking for a real demographic that is under-represented in politics in general. I hope it’s a trend. I think our generation and the next generations coming up have something to say, and he’s proven that you don’t really have to wait.”