Personal and business life
She migrated from Taiwan to the United States in 1988, and in 1992 Chan and her husband, Clifford Hew, co-founded Unintech Consulting Engineers, Inc. (UNINTECH), a structural and civil engineering design and consulting firm. She became a citizen of the United States in 1999.
Chan attended the Beijing University of Technology, where she received her B.S. in Computer Software Engineering in 1987, and later received her Master's degree in computer science at the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1993.
In May 2009, Chan was elected to the San Antonio City Council, becoming the first Asian-American and first immigrant member of the council.
In 2013, Chan received criticism for comments made during a secretly-recorded conversation between herself and a colleague in which she called bisexuality "disgusting"; this occurred four months prior to the city council debated a proposed human rights ordinance which would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents from discrimination. After defending her comments on the basis of freedom of speech, she voted against the ordinance, although the ordinance passed 8-3.
In October 2013, Chan announced her resignation from the city council effective October 18. She filed as a candidate against Tea Party Republican Donna Campbell for the March 2014 primary election to represent Texas Senate district 25.
- Baugh, Josh (September 5, 2013). "S.A. council passes nonbias ordinance". San Antonio Express-News.
- Moravec, Eva Ruth (October 7, 2013). "Elisa Chan resigns from council effective Oct. 18". San Antonio Express-News.