Dr. Judy Chu was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in July of 2009. On her very first day in office, she worked through the night during a marathon debate to help pass President Obama’s healthcare reform bill. In 2012, she was re-elected to the newly drawn 27th District of California.
In the 113th Congress, Rep. Chu serves on the House Judiciary Committee, where she is a member of two Subcommittees: Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, and Intellectual Property (IP) and the Internet. Recognizing the critical need to protect the rights of the creative community in the U.S., Rep. Chu spearheaded the creation of the Congressional Creative Rights Caucus (CRC) in January of 2013. Spanning both ends of the political spectrum and including Representatives from all across the country, the CRC now boasts 43 members. The CRC educates Members of Congress and the general public about the importance of preserving and protecting the rights of the creative community.
Congresswoman Chu also serves on the House Small Business Committee, where she is the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access and a member of the Subcommittees on Contracting and Workforce and Investigations, Oversight and Regulations. In the 112th Congress, Rep. Chu passed major federal contracting reform for small businesses, including her bill, the “Building Better Business Partnerships Act,” which strengthens federal mentor-protegé programs. The reforms increase contracting opportunities for small business and create protections against contracting fraud and abuse.
Rep. Chu holds the distinction of being the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress. In 2011, her peers elected her as the Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). In this capacity, she fights for the rights, needs, and concerns of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Most notably, her resolution that formally expresses the regret of the U.S. House of Representatives for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was unanimously approved by Congress. The Chinese Exclusion Act prevented Chinese citizens from becoming naturalized American citizens, voting, or immigrating to the United States until it was repealed 60 years later. Congresswoman Chu’s bill, H. Res 683, marks the fourth time Congress has passed such apologies in the last 25 years. The others were for the Japanese American concentration camps during World War II, the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, and for slavery.
Congresswoman Chu is also a leading voice in the fight against military hazing. In 2011, Rep. Chu tragically lost her nephew, a Marine stationed in Afghanistan. Lance Crpl. Harry Lew committed suicide after enduring several hours of hazing at the hands of his peers. Since then, the Congresswoman has worked hard to prevent future tragedies, introducing legislation that was included in the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that will help combat military hazing. Thanks to her efforts, each branch of the Armed Forces will provide a report to Congress that provides, among other things, an evaluation of the definition of hazing, a discussion of hazing prevention and response policies, an explanation of how hazing is reported and tracked, and an analysis of the scope of hazing within each branch.
Last Congress, Rep. Chu sponsored the POWER Act, which protects immigrant workers from exploitation by their employers. In the 113th Congress, she is continuing to fight for passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Congresswoman Chu’s career began as an educator. She taught psychology at Los Angeles City College and East Los Angeles College for 20 years.
She was first elected to the Garvey School District Board of Education in 1985. She was then elected to the Monterey Park City Council, where she served as Mayor for three terms, before moving on to the California State Assembly. Chu served as Chair of the powerful State Appropriations Committee, which oversees all legislation with a fiscal impact on California. While in the Assembly, she introduced and helped pass the most successful tax amnesty bill in the nation, which was estimated to bring in $300 million but actually raised $4.8 billion in revenue for the state budget without increasing taxes. After serving in the Assembly house, Chu was elected to California’s tax board, known as the State Board of Equalization.
Rep. Chu earned her B.A. in mathematics from UCLA and her Ph.D. in psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology.