Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Tuesday November 3, 2020 — California General Election
Invest in unbiased information

With your support, we can reach and inform more voters.

Donate now to spread the word.

Special District

Menlo Park Fire Protection DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Virginia Chang Kiraly

Virginia Chang Kiraly

Director, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board
19,711 votes (37.96%)Winning
Use tab to activate the candidate button. Use "return" to select this candidate. You can access your list by navigating to 'My Choices'.
For more in-depth information on this candidate, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.
Candidate has provided information.
Thank candidate for sharing their information on Voter's Edge.

My Top 3 Priorities

  • Continue ensuring that the Fire District’s budget is healthy to support capital improvement projects, such as rebuilding Station 4, which is more than 70 years old, for faster response times to save lives and property.
  • Develop robust and inclusive emergency preparedness programs for households and volunteers throughout the Fire District
  • Restore the collaborative relationship with the Town of Atherton and improve relationships with neighboring jurisdictions



Profession:Director, Menlo Park Fire Protection Dist. Board
Director, Menlo Park Fire Protection District — Elected position (2011–current)
Commissioner, San Mateo County Harbor District — Elected position (2016–current)
Commissioner, San Mateo County Harbor District — Appointed position (2015–2016)
Commissioner, California Commission for Economic Development — Appointed position (2007–2014)


University of Southern California Master of Public Administration & Certificate in Public Policy, Public Administration & Public Policy (2020)
University of Texas at Austin Bachelor of Arts, Government, minor in Economics (1986)

Community Activities

Board Member, WIRE for Women (2020–current)
Disaster Volunteer & Former Board Member, American Red Cross-- Silicon Valley Chapter (2011–current)
Member, Menlo Park Fire Protection District CERT (Citizens Emergency Response Team) (2011–current)
Trustee, California State Parks Foundation (2012–current)
Foreperson & former Grand Juror, San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury (2007–2009)


I have the privilege of serving on both the San Mateo County Harbor District Board of Commissioners and the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board of Directors.  I am proud to be the first Asian-American woman to serve on both boards and the second woman in the 100+-year history to serve on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board.

In November 2015, I was appointed to the Harbor Board and, in 2016, won a full four-year term and am currently serving my first term on the Harbor Board.  The Harbor Board’s limited sphere of influence serves Pillar Point Harbor in El Granada on the San Mateo County Coast and Oyster Point Marina in South San Francisco on San Francisco Bay.  In 2011, I was elected to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, which serves southern San Mateo County in Atherton, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and sections of unincorporated San Mateo County.  In 2015, I had an uncontested race and am currently serving my second term on the Fire Board.

In 2007, I was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Commission for Economic Development, serving on the Commission from 2007-2014.  As a Commissioner, I was appointed by Lt. Governor John Garamendi to chair the Commission’s Biotech Advisory Committee.  Professionally, I have fifteen years of experience in corporate financial analysis, planning, and investments and am a former Senior Director of the Nasdaq Stock Market and worked at some of the country's leading financial institutions. 

Currently, I am a Trustee on the California State Parks Foundation and a Disaster Volunteer and  former board member on the Silicon Valley Red Cross Board of Directors.  I also serve on the board of WIRE for Women, an organization that helps elect women to local, nonpartisan offices, and am a founding board member of the San Mateo County API Caucus. 

Having served on numerous nonprofit boards, I now spend my time on disaster preparedness and response as a CERT volunteer for the Fire District and a disaster response volunteer for the American Red Cross.  I am also a licensed ham radio operator.  In 2015, I was honored to be named by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as a “Woman of Influence.”

In 2020, I earned my Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California, graduating with honors, and graduated in 1986 with B.A. in Government with a minor in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin.    

​A daughter of Chinese immigrants, I was born and raised in Austin, Texas.  I am a former concert pianist and, for fun, like to knit, stitch, run, read, and write.  My husband and I live in unincorporated Menlo Park and are the proud parents of two sons and our adopted family dog.



Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • CA State Sen. Jerry Hill; Assemblymembers Kevin Mullin & Marc Berman; Ret. CA Assemblymember Rich Gordon
  • DemFems of Silicon Valley, San Mateo County API Caucus
  • SMC Supervisors Carole Groom, Don Horsley, Dave Pine; SMC Sheriff Carlos Bolanos; SMC Coroner Robert Foucrault

Elected Officials (1)

  • SMC Treasurer Sandie Arnott; SMC Controller Juan Raigoza; Menlo Fire Board VP Jim McLaughlin

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I believe in being an ethical and honest public servant and upholding the highest standard of integrity.

I believe in prudent fiscal oversight, management, and accountability of tax dollars; being good environmental stewards for future generations; providing a safe and harassment-free work environment for employees and essential workers; and ensuring that the public is safe and healthy, especially during these uncertain times of COVID-19.

I believe that the most important characteristics of an elected official are being honest, acting and upholding the office with integrity and the highest degree of ethics, being true to your convictions, collaborating with fellow elected officials, putting aside personal and political agendas in order to serve and do what's best for the public, looking at all angles and perspectives to solve a problem, being respectful toward colleagues and staff, and listening with an open-mind and generous heart. 

Position Papers

Candidate Statement for Virginia Chang Kiraly


Stable leadership for emergency-response services, fiscal responsibility, collaborative partnerships, and good government.


Name:  Virginia Chang Kiraly                       


Occupation:  Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board Director


Age:  56 

Education & Qualifications:  University of Southern California, Master of Public   


                                               University of Texas at Austin, B.A., Government

                                                  Minor:  Economics




In 2011, I committed to maintaining Menlo Park Fire Protection District’s strong financial position, resolving long-standing differences with our firefighters, and keeping our neighborhoods safe.  I’ve kept these commitments.  I supported paying down $33.4 million in pension liabilities.  As board president in 2015, I led the successful negotiation of a new contract with our firefighters.  As board president in 2019, new fire stations in East Palo Alto and downtown Menlo Park were opened, and we initiated a community process to rebuild our 70-year-old West Menlo Park station.  These stations allow for faster response times that save lives and property. 

MPFPD serves the highest and lowest income neighborhoods in San Mateo County.  Confronting COVID-19 has proven health disparities linked to age, race, inequality, and access to healthcare directly impact death rates.  And while our incredible firefighters are first on the scene to help COVID-19 patients, and CERT-trained volunteers are neighbors helping neighbors during this public health crisis, we must do more.  MPFPD must always look for ways to improve public safety in every neighborhood, regardless of socioeconomic status and ethnicity.  With your support, together, we can meet the challenges ahead of us.  

I’m honored to serve you and humbly ask for your vote.




Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.