Jay Chen is a Navy intelligence officer and member of the Board of Trustees for Mt. San Antonio Community College (Mt. SAC), and has been serving the residents of Congressional District 39 in public office for over ten years. He is also a successful small business owner and proud husband and father of two little boys.
The child of immigrants from Taiwan, Jay’s family moved into the district in 1988. He attended Hacienda Heights public schools and earned a Navy ROTC scholarship to attend Harvard University, from which he graduated with honors. After studying at Peking University on fellowship, he joined a global strategy consulting firm, where he worked extensively with Fortune 500 businesses in the software and logistics industries to manage mergers, build new products, and streamline operations. Jay has also consulted in Latin America.
Jay moved on to build his own company, investing and managing commercial real estate in Southern California. He has worked with some of the most successful retailers in the world, including Apple, CottonOn, and Gymboree.
Jay was twice elected President of the Hacienda-La Puente School Board, the largest school district in the San Gabriel Valley with a budget in excess of $360 million. During his tenure he created several innovative programs, including Mandarin language immersion classes, a culinary arts program, and free SAT tutoring. He has also utilized his experience as a Harvard admissions interviewer to provide free college application workshops to students so that they can improve their higher education opportunities.
At Mt. San Antonio College he has served as a fiscal watchdog overseeing a historic expansion and upgrade of the largest single-campus community college campus in California. Recently Mt. SAC was selected to host the 2020 Olympic Trials for track and field, and was given a full seven-year academic accreditation.
In 2012 he ran a closely watched race for Congress against the powerful Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Despite being outspent 5-1, Jay won over 100,000 votes, was victorious in Los Angeles County, and set a record for most votes ever won against the 20-year incumbent.
A lifelong Democrat, Jay has earned the Democratic endorsement for all four of his races, and has been a county or state delegate each year since 2008. In 2008 he was elected a pledged delegate for President Barack Obama and in 2016 he represented Congressional District 39 as a delegate for Senator Bernie Sanders. In 2011 he was selected as the Democrat of the Year for Assembly District 57.
Deeply vested in the civic institutions that train workers, enhance the business climate, and improve citizenship, he has served on the Metro Regional Connector Leadership Council, and is a board member of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies. He has served on the boards of the Old Pasadena Management District, San Gabriel Valley YMCA, and is a past-President of La Puente Valley Regional Occupational Program and the Asian Pacific Islander School Board Member Association. He is also a Truman National Security Project Partner and a Marshall Memorial Fellow.
As Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn’s appointee to the Los Angeles County Library Commission, Jay has taken part in the re-openings of the Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights libraries, the two busiest libraries in the system. He was appointed by California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to the California Student Opportunity and Access Program, where he oversees programs that improve academic outcomes and scholarship opportunities for students statewide.
Jay has served as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy Reserves for the past eight years and in 2014 was part of Operation Key Resolve, the annual exercise held in partnership with the Republic of Korea to maintain stability on the Korean peninsula. He is currently attached to the Defense Intelligence Agency and holds the nation’s highest security clearance. In recent years he has been a member of U.S. leadership delegations to Indonesia, Malaysia, Israel, Brussels, Germany, Sweden, Poland and Italy, and he is committed to upholding U.S. commitments to international allies. Jay is fluent in Mandarin and is qualified to be a military linguist in Spanish.
In Congress Jay will work to restore integrity and accountability back to Washington DC, while also focusing on the issues that matter most to the residents of CD39, such as improving transportation infrastructure, protecting the environment, and supporting small businesses. He will fight to lower the cost of higher education, and protect the promises made to our seniors by protecting Social Security and Medicare.