John Chiang believes every Californian deserves the opportunity to live the American Dream. That’s why he has spent his career fighting for California’s working families — so they can have access to good-paying jobs that provide for a family, send their kids to a quality school where they can succeed, and sign up for health coverage that doesn’t break the bank.
First Generation American
The son of immigrants, John’s parents arrived in this country in the early 1950s dreaming of a better future. His father came to this country with just three shirts, two pairs of pants, and hardly anything in his pocket. While their determination and relentlessness led to a middle-class neighborhood with better schools, they still experienced bigotry, as the first Asian American Family on their block. But John’s parents never gave up on the American Dream and continued to work towards a better life for their family.
The Government Innovator
John has served in public office for over 20 years, and is the only person in California history to hold the state’s three elected financial offices — first as a member on the Board of Equalization, then as state controller, and now as our state treasurer.
As California’s 33rd state treasurer, John serves as our state’s banker, overseeing trillions of dollars in transactions every year. Conducting the state’s business in the most transparent manner possible is his top priority and the results are proof.
As treasurer and previously as controller, John has launched multiple websites that make it easier for taxpayers to hold state and local government officials accountable. As controller, John launched a website to make pay, benefits and borrowing costs — spanning back three decades — available online. And as treasurer, John launched a website that makes the borrowing decisions of government officials public.
Recognizing Californians deserve better when they plan and prepare for retirement,
John was one of the architects of Secure Choice — a state sponsored retirement plan that will help up to 7.5 million Californians, with almost no cost to the state. John has been at the forefront of the national movement to protect seniors, heralding in the most significant change to retirement savings since Social Security was enacted in the 1930s.
In 2008, when California faced the direst recession since the great depression, John went to work for us as state controller. As our economy was collapsing, John’s strong leadership and money management pulled us back from the brink of disaster. His fiscal responsibility was instrumental in keeping the state’s credit rating from plunging into junk status, and saved taxpayers millions of dollars.
Additionally, as the most vigilant watchdog ever occupying the role of state controller, John identified over $9.5 billion in fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars over the course of his service, and he didn’t stop there. By restructuring our state debt to generate $4.2 billion for schools, infrastructure, and public safety, John took our failing state economy and brought it back — making it the 6th largest economy in the world.
The Honest Broker
When Wall Street banks — like Wells Fargo — began ripping off innocent Californians by the millions of dollars, John hit them where it hurt most. Thanks to John’s grit, Wells Fargo was cut off from their most profitable lines of business with the largest state.
And when government officials refused to do their job, John became the enforcer and held them accountable. As controller, John stopped Governor Schwarzenegger when he threatened to cut state workers’ pay as leverage in a budget battle. John refused to implement the illegal order, and was a champion for California’s public servants.
Finally, when the state legislature refused to do their job and pass a balanced budget on time as required by the state constitution, John held his own party accountable by withholding the pay of state legislators.
Activist and Civil Servant
Before ever running for office, John was an activist, a civil servant, and involved in philanthropy. John previously served on the board of Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles for 12 years. He was a member of The Ethnic Coalition, a group of Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans, who worked on social and economic justice issues. And John was also active on the Advisory Council for Big Sisters of Los Angeles, was the treasurer of the Organization of Chinese Americans Los Angeles, and was a member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA).
John graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in finance, then attended Georgetown University for Law School. He began his career as a tax law specialist with the Internal Revenue Service, and later served as an attorney in the state controller’s office. When John is not traveling throughout California meeting the millions of constituents he works for, he enjoys spending time with his godchildren.