Los Angeles Community College Board Trustee and City of Alhambra Transportation Commission Member Mike Fong was sworn in as the newest member of the California State Assembly on Tuesday.
Newly-elected Assemblyman Fong (D-Alhambra), a graduate of UCLA and CSU Northridge, had previously served as the East Area Director for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa during the late 2000’s and early 2010’s before becoming the Director of Policy and Government Relations for the City of Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. In 2017, he ventured into elected positions. Following an abortive 2017 candidacy for the 51st Assembly District race, Fong won the LA Community College Board Trustee seat in 2020 by 30% of the vote over the next closest candidate.
In November of last year, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed then-Assemblyman Ed Chau as a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, opening up the 49th District Assembly seat. With Fong now residing in the district, he put his name in for the special election. With only Republican and former La County Sheriff’s Sergeant Burton Brink being the only other candidate to enter the race, the February primary was switched to becoming the final election for the seat, eschewing a runoff that was likely to be held in April.
Last week, Fong received 68% of the vote compared to Brink’s 32%. However, Brink refused to concede the race for several days as he wanted all votes to be counted. Despite the delay, Fong eventually declared victory, leading to his swearing-in on Tuesday as the next District 49 Assemblyman.
“The San Gabriel Valley is filled with talent, hope, hard work, untapped opportunity, and dreams for the future. I ran for State Assembly because I want to help our communities by solving problems, both big and small,” said Fong in a statement. “From constituents who need help with state services, to challenges like rising homelessness, climate change, and keeping our neighborhoods and communities safe, I promise to work every day to deliver results for the San Gabriel Valley, and to be a relentless advocate for every person who lives here.”
Numerous Assembly members welcomed him to the Assembly on Tuesday, including Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles) who noted in a tweet “Congratulations and welcome to our newest Assembly member, Mike Fong of Assembly District 49! His experience in education, transportation and community service will benefit not only his district, but our body as a whole. We’re happy to have you on board, Assembly member Fong!”
Congratulations and welcome to our newest Assemblymember, Mike Fong of Assembly District 49!
His experience in education, transportation and community service will benefit not only his district, but our body as a whole.
We're happy to have you on board, Assemblymember Fong! pic.twitter.com/ELIWGgX4p2
— Anthony Rendon (@Rendon63rd) February 22, 2022
While sworn in and welcomed on Tuesday, many in Sacramento cautioned that Fong may only have a limited impact due to having a term that would last for only a matter of months.
“Fong won handily, but the term ends in November,” stressed “Dana,” a state Capitol staffer to the Globe on Tuesday. “We’ll see where he is come later in the year. Districts are changing and there may be a lot of turmoil. A placeholder Assemblyman like Fong may not make it past November, even in a strongly Democratic district. But he may also win by a big margin again. For right now, the Democrats are just happy to have another Democrat in the Assembly when voting time comes. There’s still a lot of vacancies in the Assembly, so he helped fill it.”
Other run-offs from the February 15th special election primary are expected to take place in April.