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San Mateo CountyCandidate for Supervisor, District 3

Photo of Virginia Chang Kiraly

Virginia Chang Kiraly

Fire Board Director
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Keeping our community safe by protecting our families and neighborhoods against fires and drought; fighting crime with a comprehensive approach that provides job training and placement; preserving parks and beaches
  • Keeping our community healthy; protecting our environment; supporting our students; decriminalizing mental illness; accessing healthcare resources; keeping our community affordable and accessible
  • Holding our leaders accountable; preventing waste and abuse of our tax dollars; reigniting our economy; respecting all our neighbors



Profession:Fire Board Director, Harbor Board Commissioner
Commissioner, San Mateo County Harbor District Board of Commissioners — Elected position (2016–current)
Director, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board of Directors — Elected position (2011–current)
Commissioner, San Mateo County Harbor Board of Commissioners — Appointed position (2015–2016)
Commissioner, California Commission for Economic Development — Appointed position (2007–2014)
Foreperson & Juror, San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury — Appointed position (2007–2009)
Senior Director, Nasdaq Stock Market (2000–2003)
Investment Executive, PaineWebber (1995–2000)
Bear Stearns, Sales Associate (1993–1995)
Sales Associate, Alex. Brown & Sons (1991–1993)
Research Associate, Bateman Eichler Hill Richards (1990–1991)


University of Southern California, Price School of Public Policy Master of Public Administration (MPA), Public Administration, concentration in Public Policy (2020)
University of Texas at Austin Bachelor of Arts (BA), Government, minor in Economics (1986)

Community Activities

Trustee, California State Parks FoundationCalifornia (2012–current)
Board President & Treasurer, NAMI San Mateo County (2021–current)
Disaster Relief Volunteer, American Red Cross, Northern California Coastal Region (2018–current)
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member, Menlo Park Fire Protection District CERT (2012–current)
Board member, Silicon Valley Chapter Red Cross (2013–2019)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • 100% of all endorsing newspapers: The Daily Journal, Daily Post
  • CA Controller Betty Yee; fmr CA Ins Commissioner Steve Poizner; SMC Sheriff Carlos Bolanos; SMC Coroner Robert Foucrault
  • Menlo Park Firefighters; Operating Engineers Local 3; SEIU 521; UFCW Local 648

Elected Officials (3)

  • SMC Harbor Bd: Pres Nancy Reyering, VP Bill Zemke, Treas Tom Mattusch; MP Fire Bd Dir. Robert Jones
  • Sequoia UHSD Bd Pres.Carrie DuBois; Las Lomitas ESD Bd Pres. Jason Morimoto; Sequoia Healthcare Bd Dir Kim Griffin
  • West Bay Sanitary Dist Dir. Roy Thiele-Sardina; Montara Water & Santary Dist Dirs Kathryn Slater-Carter & Ric Lohman

Individuals (4)

  • Ret. Judge Quentin Kopp, Ret. MP Fire Dist. Chief Harold Schapelhouman; Ret. SMC Harbor Dist. GM Steve McGrath
  • Community Leaders: Ann Griffiths, Terri Givens, Charlie Catania, Candy Provines, Mical Brenzel, LaShonda Kennedy
  • Business executives: TJ Rodgers, Gary Bloom, David Chun, Chris Wheeler, Sandy Chau, Mark Flegel, Tom Kalinske
  • Small Business Owners: Jeff Clark, Chuck Gust, Brian Overfelt, Shawn Rhodes, David Oliphant, Lisa Bettencourt Damrosch

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Official Ballot Statement for Virginia Chang Kiraly


Virginia Chang Kiraly's ballot statement for the June 2022 primary. 

If you think it’s time for a change, I’m the candidate for you.  As an independent thinker, not beholden to special interests, I will bring commonsense solutions to tackle our county’s most pressing problems. 



Protecting our neighborhoods and families from wildfire threats must be done by reducing fire fuel in public and private open spaces, something I’ve championed as an elected fire board director. 



Let’s address homelessness with a ‘no excuses’ approach that prioritizes drug and alcohol treatment, creates adequate and required shelter for everyone, and won’t encourage our county to become a convenient place other cities send their people facing homelessness.



More affordable housing must be created, without creating more traffic and parking nightmares.



To fight crime, we need more police on patrol and the comprehensive approach that provides job training and placement.



As a fiscal watchdog, I’ve fought against waste, fraud, and abuse of our tax dollars on the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury and helped guide shared prosperity for Californians on the California Commission for Economic Development.  I now serve on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board and the San Mateo County Harbor Board, where I work protecting our residents and coastline. 



Government should work for us, not stifle us.  I bring the courageous leadership you deserve.  Join me at


Never Take Freedom For Granted


Op-ed on the Ukrainian crisis as published in the San Mateo Daily Journal on March 11, 2022.



The horrific and tragic war in Ukraine is something we should all be concerned about.  Not only are men, women, children – even entire families - being senselessly killed, but there is a real threat of a democratic nation being erased by a maniacal dictator who wants to further the spread of communism.  As a daughter of Chinese immigrants, I have heard my parents’ stories about how they escaped Mao’s communist regime in China.  My mother-in-law had a similar experience when her family fled their home in the Ukraine to escape from a communist regime that became the Soviet Union.  My sons heard these stories, too.  Never in our wildest dreams did we think the world would take this step backwards. But Russia’s attack on Ukraine has brought these stories back to life for my family and, I’m sure, countless others, as well. 


Freedom should never be taken for granted.  However, when too many people forget that freedom is not free, we end up with a war where we could all be annihilated with nuclear weapons or live in the dark world of communism, tyranny, and authoritarianism.  Yes, I’m using these three words because in our American idealism, too many Americans have forgotten that real people in other parts of the world are struggling to have the opportunity to even think about what freedom is like.  They can see and taste freedom but will never have it, unless they leave their country like my family and my husband’s family did.  As we watch or read about the babies who have been killed in this war against Ukraine, I am reminded that my own mother was born in a bomb shelter.  I am reminded that my grandparents had to escape their homeland and immigrate to Taiwan.  I am reminded that Mao’s communist regime tore families apart, some of whom were never reunited. 



History is repeating itself now, and we must learn our lessons, especially since our world safety is in peril.  Humanity is in danger now and so is our children’s future.  It is terrifying to see photos of a maternity ward being bombed, or seniors blown up in their car--  all innocent civilians, all innocent victims.  Take a look at the photos of Russian soldiers in Ukraine who are pawns of a dictator, not a leader. These poor young people have little idea that they have started a war for a coward who only cares about his own power.  Remember that absolute power corrupts absolutely.  When government becomes too overreaching and dictatorial, people’s rights begin to be snuffed out.  People’s lives become expendable.  Communism, tyranny, and authoritarianism don’t operate with care for the well-being of their citizens. They are about power and  reduced human rights. In their view, people are commodities, stripped of their dignity and basic human rights. Their leaders are staggeringly wealthy and their people incredibly poor, allowing tyranny and authoritarianism to thrive. Remember this when you exercise your right to vote.  Our democracy isn’t perfect, but it’s precious.  We can only strive to make it perfect, working together with the single purpose of keeping freedom alive, for all our children’s sake.


Beginning The Asian Conversation


Op-ed by Virginia Chang Kiraly in response to AAPI hate crimes and violence during the pandemic, as published in the San Mateo Daily Journal on April 5, 2021.


Since the beginning of the pandemic, approximately 3,800 Asian hate incidents have been reported in the United States. These incidents include physical assault, civil rights violations, verbal harassment, shunning, and online harassment. of these incidents, 67% were reported by Asian women — more than twice that of Asian men.



According to Stop AAPI Hate, the number of self-reported incidents represents a “fraction of hate incidents that actually occur.” There are approximately 12.7 million Asian women in the United States, representing almost 4% of the population. Out of the 12.7 million Asian women in our country, if only 2,546 Asian women reported these incidents, then only 0.02% of them were able to ask for help.



The unreported incidents result from the perpetuation of the model-minority myth for Asians and Asian women, in particular. This American construct reinforces the image and stereotype that Asians are hardworking, independent, intelligent, and economically prosperous. This myth also ignores the fact that Asians are not one monolithic group. Lumping together, for example, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, Thai, or Indonesian people diminishes each subpopulation’s culture and language. The most destructive part of this myth is the wedge that divides Asians and other communities of color to disrupt inter-racial solidarity. This wedge makes society think that Asians do not have needs and challenges that warrant government policy corrections. Asian Americans have the most significant income disparity of any ethnic group in America, with the top 10% earning more than ten times more than the bottom 10%. Many Asian women today work in very low-wage service occupations.



For Asian women, this model-minority myth has a profound negative impact. It renders us invisible in the meaningful discussions around toxic relationships, job equality and societal gaslighting. For us, this myth is even more dangerous because it hides issues that should be discussed openly, such as sexual objectification, poverty, labor abuse, domestic violence, hate crimes and mental health.



Asian women are at the intersection of racism and objectification. Racism renders Asian women as objects and easy targets for physical violence, unseen and unnoticed, even when attacked on the busy streets of New York City and San Francisco. The internet, TV, magazines and films portray Asian women as submissive, demure, exotic or hypersexual. As the world saw in Atlanta, this stereotyping has deadly consequences. The simple image of an Asian woman is being used to justify sex addiction and murder. The lives of six Asian women were senselessly cut short, women who were working to support their families. The increasing number of Asian women being killed, assaulted or harassed is unacceptable and outrageous.



My experience as an elected official in San Mateo County has been mostly positive, and I love serving my community. Unfortunately, as an Asian American woman, I have also personally experienced the dark side of public service. I have received racial slurs via email and have been objectified with graphic sexist smears, including accusations that I would use my body, my attire and my makeup to win votes and support. Asian women continue to face racist and sexist tropes, no matter our position, title or socioeconomic status. Therefore, now more than ever, we are vulnerable targets of violence and online harassment.



To combat this racism and objectification, our voices must be heard and amplified. For the past six years, I’ve had the privilege and honor of serving on two elected boards in San Mateo County. But, according to the Bay Area Equity Atlas, neither women nor Asians are well represented in San Mateo County. Asians make up 27% of San Mateo County’s population, yet I am the only countywide Asian elected official in San Mateo County. Women are equally underrepresented, especially in countywide elected office. As one of the few Asian women in elected office in San Mateo County, I want more dialogue on how to support and protect Asian women in our community. As a mother, wife and businesswoman, I want to ensure that economic policies and government support services proactively include Asian women. The model-minority myth must be shattered. Please consider this message to our community an invitation to join me in this conversation.




Virginia Chang Kiraly serves on two elected boards as president of the San Mateo County Harbor District Board of Commissioners and a director of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board of Directors.  She is a wife, mother, businesswoman, community volunteer and the daughter of Chinese immigrants.


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— May 3, 2022 Virginia Chang Kiraly for Supervisor 2022

Why I'm running for the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors

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