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Tuesday June 7, 2022 — California Primary Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 21

Photo of James Hsuchen Coleman

James Hsuchen Coleman

Councilmember/Children's Advocate
11,250 votes (11.5%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • A wealth tax on billionaires and corporations so they pay their fair share and our working families can pay less, and a living wage for all to reduce outrageous levels of inequality in our society and ensure that working people have enough to thrive.
  • Aggressive action on climate change by investing in renewable energy infrastructure, a just transition for all our communities and workers, the creation of regional wildfire prevention districts, and holding PG&E accountable.
  • Building housing at all income levels, maximizing the affordability of the housing that is being built, and protecting our renters from unfair evictions and outrageous rent hikes. Housing is a human right and should be truly affordable to all.



Profession:City Councilmember / Children's Advocate
City Councilmember, City of South San Francisco — Elected position (2020–current)


Harvard University B.A, Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology, and Government (2021)


I was born and raised in San Mateo County. My father was a FedEx worker. My mom is a Taiwanese immigrant who works as a lab assistant at Kaiser. Growing up working class profoundly shaped my values. When I was 5, my father suffered a traumatic injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down, and my mother had to work two jobs in order to make ends meet.

At a young age I experienced what it was like to fall through the cracks. I wanted to study biology to learn how people could heal from chronic injuries; and I wanted to work to make sure that our government and medical system worked for all of us, and not just the wealthy few. In the middle of my junior year of college at Harvard University, I was evacuated from campus and returned back to my hometown of South San Francisco. We saw how COVID disproportionately affected the working families in our communities, in housing, healthcare, childcare, and our education system. We saw how the public health crisis of police brutality was not just a distant injustice, but a real and present problem in our own community. And I successfully ran for city council to bring the change and justice that we wanted to see in our Community. 

I came back to South San Francisco to the community I grew up in to serve and improve the lives of our residents. On the city council, I’ve seen that the many issues that we are facing are very systemic in nature and the disparities exist far and wide. We need bold action to address many of our issues and create a society in which working people don’t just survive, but thrive in our community. I’m running for state assembly with a very clear purpose—Sacramento can’t just work anymore for the wealthy and well connected. It has to work for all of us.

Before being elected to the city council, I was a community organizer. I have organized with Sunrise Movement Boston, the Harvard Undergraduates for Environmental Justice, Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, and YDSA. My work was focused on environmental, economic, and racial justice. I graduated from Harvard in May of 2021 with a degree in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology with a minor in Government. I have also conducted undergraduate research in a neuroscience lab at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Who supports this candidate?

Elected Officials (52)

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)


What programs, proposals, projects, or legislation would you support to meet the water needs of all Californians?

No answer provided.
Describe what proposal(s) you would support to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing for middle and low income people in California?
Answer from James Hsuchen Coleman:

Housing is a human right. But, San Mateo County has more than six times as many jobs as it has homes, meaning hundreds of thousands of people who want to live in San Mateo County have to live hours away from where they work. Cities in San Mateo County have only built a third of California’s affordable housing goals in the last eight years and the cost of living has skyrocketed, making it much harder for young people working families to continue living in our communities. California and San Mateo County need to make housing truly affordable and available, as well as invest in infrastructure to support our growing populations. 

  • Support building mixed-income and mixed-use, city-owned and operated affordable housing near areas with robust public transit.
  • Create a state fund for cities to build mixed-income housing in their jurisdictions.
  • Ensure that state funding is provided to housing projects that guarantee local hiring and provide construction workers a living wage and healthcare benefits.
  • Make it easier for housing and affordable housing to be built by streamlining projects that adhere to high labor and environmental standards.
  • Build truly affordable senior housing for all families to access.
  • Strengthen tenant protections against corporate landlords, to allow renters to stay in their homes and reduce rents.
  • Ensure people who work in San Mateo County can afford to live in San Mateo County.
  • Pass a vacancy tax on purposefully underused and blighted homes.
  • Provide supportive services, case management, and housing for housing insecure residents.
What programs or strategies would you suggest to meet the educational needs of young, low-income Californians?
Answer from James Hsuchen Coleman:

San Mateo County has long been a distinguished part of the Bay Area to raise a family, but with ever rising costs of living and wages that have stagnated for decades, it is harder and harder than ever for younger families to find affordable care for their children. In an economy that forces nearly every adult in the family to work, we need a plan locally to provide for quality, universal childcare and early childhood education.

  • Fund universal preschool and childcare for all 2.5-5 year olds.
  • Encourage on-site childcare for California’s largest employers and companies. 
  • Expand access to infant care.
  • Provide mental health services for all children.
  • Pay childcare teachers and workers a living wage.
To reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, as set forth in a 2018 executive order what, if any, proposals, plans or legislation would you support?  Please be specific.
Answer from James Hsuchen Coleman:

Communities in San Mateo County are no strangers to the worsening effects of climate change. Our bay-side communities are at increased risk of sea level rise, neighborhoods in wooded areas face the persistent risk of fires—especially those caused by investor-owned utilities like PG&E—and we have all had to reckon with smoke and ash-filled air and hotter, dryer summers. We need a bold plan to keep San Mateo County resilient and our communities safe from climate change.

  • Hold PG&E accountable for their failure to maintain their electric and gas infrastructure. 
  • Create regional wildfire protection districts to better protect our communities from wildfires.
  • Rapidly decarbonize our energy economy and build large scale renewable energy. 
  • Encourage small-scale solar to democratize our energy production and increase reliability in the grid.
  • Ensure a just transition for all workers, by providing green union jobs and training programs.
  • Divest CalPERS and CalSTRS from the fossil fuel industry.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $290,340

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

American Federation of State, Council & Municipal Employees - CA People
Northern California Carpenters Regional Council
SEIU California
SEIU Local 2015
SEIU United Healthcare Workers West

More information about contributions

By State:

California 92.99%
Texas 1.94%
New York 1.22%
District of Columbia 0.93%
Pennsylvania 0.93%
Other 1.99%

By Size:

Large contributions (92.95%)
Small contributions (7.05%)

By Type:

From organizations (37.98%)
From individuals (62.02%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I’m running to represent you in Sacramento, our government can’t just work for the wealthy and well connected, it has to work for everyone. That means a wealth tax on billionaires and corporations, universal childcare and preschool, and a living wage. We need truly affordable housing, Medicare for All, and aggressive action to beat back climate change – We’re already feeling its effects – wildfires, drought, pollution, sea-level rise. And it’s our generation that will bear the brunt of these impacts  – we need bold action now.

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