|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
|Assumed office |
July 14, 2009
|Preceded by||Hilda Solis|
|Constituency||32nd district (2009–2013)|
27th district (2013–present)
|Member of the|
California State Board of Equalization
from the 4th district
January 3, 2007 – July 14, 2009
|Preceded by||John Chiang|
|Succeeded by||Jerome Horton|
|Member of the California State Assembly|
from the 49th district
May 21, 2001 – November 30, 2006
|Preceded by||Gloria Romero|
|Succeeded by||Mike Eng|
Judy May Chu
July 7, 1953
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Residence||Monterey Park, California, U.S.|
|Hanyu Pinyin||Zhào Měixīn|
Judy May Chu (born July 7, 1953) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for California's 27th congressional district since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, she has held a seat in Congress since 2009, representing California's 32nd congressional district until redistricting. Chu is the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress.
Chu was elected to the California Board of Equalization in 2007, representing the 4th district. She previously served on the Garvey Unified School District Board of Education, on the Monterey Park City Council (with five terms as mayor) and in the California State Assembly. Chu ran in the 32nd congressional district special election for the seat vacated by Hilda Solis after Solis was confirmed as President Obama's Secretary of Labor in 2009. She defeated Republican candidate Betty Tom Chu and Libertarian candidate Christopher Agrella in a runoff election on July 14, 2009. Chu was redistricted to the 27th district in 2012, but still reelected to a third term, defeating Republican challenger Jack Orswell. On February 28, 2018, she officially inaugurated the painting "Yes We Can 2017" at the main library of Pasadena, California, a gift from the city's Vice Mayor and Councilmember, John J. Kennedy.
Chu was born in 1953 in Los Angeles. Her father, Judson Chu, was a World War II veteran born in California, and her mother, May, was a war bride originally from Jiangmen, Guangdong. Chu grew up in Los Angeles, near 62nd Street and Normandie Avenue, until her early teen years, when the family moved to the Bay Area.
In 1974, Chu earned a B.A. degree in mathematics from UCLA. In 1979, she earned a Ph.D. degree in psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology of Alliant International University's Los Angeles campus.
Chu taught psychology in the Los Angeles Community College District for 20 years, including 13 years at East Los Angeles College.
Chu's first elected position was Board Member for the Garvey School District in Rosemead, California in 1985.
In 1988, Chu was elected to the city council of Monterey Park, California. In 1989, she became mayor of Monterey Park and served until 1991/1994. Chu was mayor for three terms.
Chu ran for the California State Assembly in 1994, but lost the Democratic primary to Diane Martinez; in 1998, she lost the primary to Gloria Romero.
Chu was elected to the State Assembly on May 15, 2001, following a special election after Romero was elected to the State Senate. She was elected to a full term in 2002 and reelected in 2004. The district includes Alhambra, El Monte, Duarte, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, and South El Monte, within Los Angeles County.
Barred by term limits from running for a third term in 2006, Chu was elected to the State Board of Equalization from the 4th district, representing most of Los Angeles County.
Chu decided to run for the 2009 special election for the California's 32nd congressional district after U.S. Representative Hilda Solis was appointed to become President Barack Obama's United States Secretary of Labor. Chu led the field in the May 19 special election, but due to the crowded field (eight Democrats and four Republicans) she only got 32% of the vote, well short of the 50% needed to win outright. In the runoff election, she defeated Republican Betty Chu (her cousin-in-law and a Monterey Park City Councilwoman) 62%–33%.
Chu was heavily favored due to the district's heavy Democrat tilt. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D+15, it is one of the safest Democratic districts in the nation. She was reelected to her first full term with 71% of the vote.
In August 2011, Chu decided to run in the newly redrawn California's 27th congressional district. The district has the second highest percentage of Asian Americans in the state with 37%, behind the newly redrawn 17th CD which is 50% Asian. Registered Democrats make up 42% of the district. Obama won the district with 63% in the 2008 presidential election. Jerry Brown won with 55% in the 2010 gubernatorial election. Chu was reelected, defeating Republican Jack Orswell 64% to 36%.
Chu was reelected over Orswell, 59.4% to 40.6%.
Chu was reelected over Orswell, 67.4% to 32.6%.
Chu won reelection over fellow Democrat Bryan Witt by a 79.2% to 20.8% margin, in one of a handful of districts in California that featured only Democrats on its midterm ballot.
Chu won reelection to her seventh term over Republican Johnny J. Nalbandian by a 69.8% to 30.2% margin. Nalbandian never conceded the race, citing unproven voter fraud.
Chu was sworn into office on July 16, 2009.
Chu believes that the immigration system is outdated and in need of reform. She has worked to pass the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (H.R. 15). She strongly supports the DREAM Act and has worked for its passage. She has introduced the Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation Act (POWER Act, or H.R. 2169), introduced to stop disreputable employers from exploiting immigrants.
In July 2015, Chu went before Congress to speak out against what she called the "shocking" treatment of women and children held in for-profit detention facilities in the U.S. Comparing them to Japanese internment camps, Chu said the prolonged detention re-traumatizes families, breaks apart the parent-child relationship, and has serious cognitive effects on children.
On December 6, 2017, Chu was arrested during a protest outside of the U.S. Capitol.
In 2012, a Chinese spy, Christine "Fang Fang" Fang, volunteered for Chu's campaign and is suspected to have used political connections to spy for the Chinese Communist Party. Chu was one of several Bay Area Democratic politicians who was targeted.
Chu cosponsored the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010, which authorizes the President of the United States to support measures providing abortions and other reproduction assistance to women in developing countries. In 2010, she voted against measures proposed by the House to strip government funding to Planned Parenthood, and opposed restricting federal funding of abortions. Chu has received ratings of 100 from pro-choice organizations including Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. She has also received ratings of 100 from the NARAL pro-choice California in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 while receiving very low ratings from anti-abortion organizations in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.
In 2009, Chu voted to increase the debt ceiling to $12.394 trillion. In 2010, she voted to increase the debt ceiling to $14.294 trillion. In January 2011, she voted against a bill to reduce spending on non-security items to fiscal year 2008 levels. In 2011, Chu voted against the Budget Control Act of 2011, which incrementally raised the debt ceiling.
Chu opposed the "See Something, Say Something Act of 2011," which provides "immunity for reports of suspected terrorist activity or suspicious behavior and response." She said, "if a person contacts law enforcement about something based solely on someone's race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin, they would not receive immunity from civil lawsuits."
On July 24, 2013, the House voted on Amendment 100 to the H.R. 2397 Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 which, if passed, would have ended the authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. Chu voted "Aye" to pass amendment 100 and end the blanket collection authority; the amendment did not pass, with the "Noes" blocking it, 217–205.
In 2011, Chu co-sponsored H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act.
On June 18, 2012, the House passed a resolution, introduced by Chu, that formally expresses its regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which imposed almost total restrictions on Chinese immigration and naturalization and denied Chinese-Americans basic freedoms because of their ethnicity. This was only the fourth time that Congress issued an apology to a group of people.
In June 2011 the House Ethics Committee began an investigation after receiving information suggesting that two of Chu's top aides had directed staffers to do campaign tasks during regular work hours. The investigation found that Chu had sent two emails to her staff on how to respond to aspects of the Ethics Committee's inquiry. The Committee found no evidence that Chu was aware of her staff's actions, it did find that the emails represented actions that interfered with the committee's investigation of the matter, and on December 11, 2014, it formally reprimanded Chu for interfering with its investigation of her office.
In 2015, The Intercept published an investigative work by Ali Gharib and Eli Clifton, assisted in part by the work of independent researcher Joanne Stocker, indicating that Chu received $11,150 from the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) between January 2009 and September 2012, when the MEK was listed a Foreign Terrorist Organization. She is an advocate of the MEK.
Chu accused Turkey, a NATO member, of inciting the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. On October 1, 2020, she co-signed a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that condemned Azerbaijan's offensive operations against the Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, denounced Turkey's role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and called for an immediate ceasefire.
In December 2019 Chu and her brother Dean Chu donated $375,000 to the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles, California.
Chu married Mike Eng in 1978. They have lived in Monterey Park for over 30 years. Eng took Chu's seat on the Monterey Park City Council in 2001, when Chu left the council after being elected to the Assembly, and in 2006 he took Chu's seat on the Assembly when Chu left the Assembly.
Chu's nephew, Lance Corporal Harry Lew, a U.S. Marine, died by suicide while serving in Afghanistan on April 3, 2011, allegedly as a result of hazing from fellow Marines after Lew allegedly repeatedly fell asleep during his watch. Chu described her nephew as a patriotic American and said that those responsible must be brought to justice.
Chu is one of two Unitarian Universalists in Congress.
Expressing the regret of the House of Representatives for the passage of laws that adversely affected the Chinese in the United States, including the Chinese Exclusion Act.