Betty Yee

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Betty Yee
California State Controller Betty Yee.jpg
32nd Controller of California
Assumed office
January 5, 2015
Governor Jerry Brown
Preceded by John Chiang
Member of the California State Board of Equalization
from the 1st district
In office
December 15, 2004 – January 5, 2015
Preceded by Carole Migden
Succeeded by Fiona Ma
Personal details
Born (1957-10-19) October 19, 1957 (age 58)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Golden Gate University
Betty Yee
Chinese 余淑婷
Hanyu Pinyin Yú Shūtíng

Betty T. Yee (Chinese: ; born c. 1957[1]) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who has served as California State Controller since 2015. She previously served as a member of the California Board of Equalization from 2004 to 2015. She won the open seat for Controller in the 2014 election, with 53% of the vote.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

A native of the Parkside district of San Francisco, Yee's parents emigrated from Guangdong Province, China in 1956. She handled the books in her family's neighborhood laundry and dry cleaning business while she grew up.[1]

Originally speaking no English, she spent her grade school years in the San Francisco Unified School District before attending the University of California, Berkeley as an undergraduate, attaining a bachelor's degree in sociology. She went on to attend Golden Gate University, from which she earned a master's degree in Public Administration.

Yee worked for the Legislature and was then Governor Gray Davis's Chief Deputy Director for Budget, later saying that "My role was to present all the options possible. Politics came into play. The governor and legislative leaders made decisions that sometimes didn't agree with our recommendations."[1] She then became the Chief Deputy to Board of Equalization member Carole Migden.[3] She was appointed to fill the seat when Migden vacated it after being elected to the State Senate.

Political career[edit]

Yee was elected in her own right to the California Board of Equalization in 2006 from the 1st Board District and was re-elected in 2010.[4] She led the successful effort to force to collect sales taxes on online purchases, the so-called "Amazon tax".[1][5][6]

She ran for California State Controller in the 2014 election to succeed term-limited Democrat John Chiang, who was elected State Treasurer.[7] An advocate of tax reform, she opposes extending Governor Jerry Brown's temporary tax increases, instead proposing to lower the state sales tax and extend it to currently untaxed services.[1] Yee won the election, defeating Republican Ashley Swearengin.

As State Controller, Yee will sit on the California State Lands Commission. She supports investing in alternative energy and opposes fracking for oil.[1]

Yee currently serves as Vice President of California Women Lead, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for women holding or interested in running for political office.[8]

Electoral history[edit]

California Board of Equalization 1st District Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Betty Yee (inc.) 1,508,130 65.0
Republican David Neighbors 677,942 29.2
Libertarian Kennita Watson 68,405 2.9
Peace and Freedom David Campbell 67,697 2.9
California Board of Equalization 1st District Democratic Primary Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Betty Yee (inc.) 564,903 74.7
Democratic Ted Ford 149,166 19.7
Democratic Alan Montgomery 43,075 5.6
California Board of Equalization 1st District Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Betty Yee (inc.) 1,617,369 63.1
Republican Kevin Scott 799,327 31.2
Libertarian Kennita Watson 77,929 3.0
Peace and Freedom Sherill Borg 71,183 2.7
California State Controller Primary Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ashley Swearingen 1,001,473 24.8
Democratic Betty Yee 878,195 21.7
Democratic John Pérez 877,714 21.7
Republican David Evans 850,109 21.0
Green Laura Wells 231,352 5.7
Democratic Tammy Blair 200,532 5.0
California State Controller Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Betty Yee 3,810,304 54.0
Republican Ashley Swearingen 3,249,668 46.0


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Carole Migden
Member of the California State Board of Equalization
from the 1st district

Succeeded by
George Runner
Preceded by
John Chiang
Controller of California