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Phillip Chen and Leon Sit vie for 59th Assembly seat – Orange County Register

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The race for the 59th Assembly District is a bit unusual: It features an incumbent Republican and a 19-year-old college student who won his place on the ballot as a write-in candidate.

Rep. Phillip Chen, up for a third term at the Statehouse, faces Leon Sit, a UCLA engineering student who lives in North Tustin.

The district encompasses Chino Hills in San Bernardino County, sweeping southwest to cover Brea, Yorba Linda, Placentia, Villa Park, and North Tustin in Orange County. It’s considered a solidly red district (Republicans have a 7.5-point advantage) where — until Sit starts going door-to-door collecting signatures — Chen wouldn’t face a challenger. .

Philip Chen

Chen, 44, was first elected to the state assembly in 2016 and again in 2018. And if elected to a third term, Chen said inflation and community security were the two main issues he would like to address for the 59th District.

A former member of the Walnut Valley Unified School District board of trustees, Chen said he believes district schools should allow for greater parental involvement and a greater focus on STEM education.

“We need to get our political agendas out of the classroom. Students should learn to think, not what to think,” said Chen, who describes his political philosophy as “hope, opportunity, freedom, less taxes, less government.”

And as school shootings continue to wreak havoc across the country — from Uvalde, Texas, to St. Louis, Missouri — Chen suggested greater resources, including mental health programs and security guards. supplements to ensure student safety.

A resident of Yorba Linda, Chen has overseen California’s juvenile justice programs as a member of the Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice Planning, served as a health policy advisor for the LA County Board of Supervisors, and served as a worked as an adjunct professor at USC Sol Price. School of Public Policy.

Leon Sit

Sit, 19, decided to campaign in the primary as a write-in candidate when he saw Chen had no challenger. He managed to collect signatures and now appears alongside Chen, as a candidate with no party preference, in the November poll.

Sit describes himself as a “pragmatic moderate who seeks non-partisan solutions.” He wants to focus on environmental issues in the state house, including mitigating single-use plastics.

“If we want to protect the future of young Californians, we must retain our economic competitiveness without sacrificing the quality of our distinct environment,” Sit said.

Sit pointed to declining enrollment, poor test scores and lack of mental health services as the three issues affecting district schools. He also suggested adding security guards to schools and ensuring that guns are kept away from “at-risk and anti-social young men” to protect students.

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