Steven Choi

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Steven Choi
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 68th district
Assumed office
December 5, 2016
Preceded byDon Wagner
Mayor of Irvine
In office
December 11, 2012 – December 5, 2016
Preceded bySukhee Kang
Succeeded byDon Wagner
Member of the Irvine City Council
In office
December 14, 2004 – December 11, 2012
Personal details
Born (1944-01-15) January 15, 1944 (age 76)
Gyeongseong, Japanese Korea (now Seoul, South Korea)
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Janie Choi
ResidenceIrvine, California
Alma materKyung Hee University
Louisiana State University
University of Pittsburgh
WebsiteOfficial Campaign Web Site
Korean name
Revised RomanizationChoe Seok Ho
McCune–ReischauerCh'oe Sŏk Ho

Steven Seokho Choi (Korean최석호; born January 15, 1944) is an American Republican Party politician from Orange County, California, who is the California State Assemblymember representing the 68th Assembly District, having won the post in 2016. Prior to that, he served two terms as mayor of Irvine, California. In 1998, he became the first Asian-American elected to the Irvine Unified School Board and served two consecutive terms there before becoming the first Asian American to have been elected to a four-year term on the Irvine City Council and one of two Korean Americans on the council.

Education and teaching career[edit]

Steven Choi was born in 1944 in Gyeongseong (now Seoul, South Korea) during Japanese occupation of Korea.[1] Choi earned his B.A. from Kyung Hee University in 1966.[2][3] In August 1968, Choi moved from Geumseong (now Naju), South Korea to the United States as a Peace Corps language instructor for the United States Department of State.[4][5] He then continued his post-graduate education, earning his master's degree in library science from Louisiana State University in 1971 and Ph.D. in library and information science at the University of Pittsburgh in 1976.[5]

He has taught at several universities and colleges including the University of Southern California; University of California, Irvine; California State University, Los Angeles; Henderson State University; Saddleback College; and most recently Coastline Community College. He founded and serves as director of Dr. Choi's Academy, a tutoring and academic enrichment business.[5]

Political career[edit]

Choi was elected to the Irvine Unified School District School Board in 1998 and reelected in 2002.[5] He was elected to the Irvine City Council in 2004,[5] becoming the first Asian American elected to a four-year term on the council.[4] He and Sukhee Kang (elected to a two-year term on the same day) became the first two Asian Americans and Koreans elected to the Irvine City Council. Choi served on the Irvine City Council until 2012, when he defeated councilman Larry Agran in the mayoral election and was elected to a two-year term as Irvine's mayor. He was later reelected as mayor in 2014.

The Irvine City Council is composed of 5 people, including the mayor. The council has 4 Republican members (Choi, Christina Shea, Lynn Schott, and Jeff Lalloway) and 1 Democratic member (Beth Krom). Choi is a part of the conservative council majority, and has been able to promote programs he supports and stop policies he opposes from being enacted. During the course of new sister city negotiations, he successfully opposed the One-China principle demanded by Shanghai's Xuhui government in the People's Republic of China, which would have required Irvine to abandon its existing long-term sister city relationship with Taoyuan, Taiwan.

Choi serves as Chairman of the Orange County Public Library Advisory Board, which consists of Mayors and Council members from 27 Orange County cities, and is also Chairman of the Irvine Library Advisory Committee. He serves on the Orange County Great Park Corporation Board, the Irvine Redevelopment Agency, the Orange County Sanitation District Board and other countywide committees. His vision is to build a large Orange County/City Metropolitan Library at the Great Park.

In addition, Choi is a member of the Concordia University President's Advisory Council and is Irvine’s representative to Growth Management Areas 4 and 9 and the Newport Bay Watershed Executive Committee. He formerly represented the 71st Assembly District on the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee. On June 3, 2008, he became the only incumbent to not be re-elected to the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee, coming in seventh with only 6.5% of the available vote. He is also a member of the Local Elected Officials Association and the 400 Club.

In 2010, Choi sought election to the California State Assembly, but narrowly lost the Republican primary to Donald P. Wagner, who went on to win the general election.[6]

In 2016, Choi won election to the California State Assembly, narrowly defeating Anaheim City Councilman Harry Sidhu in the primary and winning the general election with 60% of the vote. [7]

2016 California State Assembly[edit]

California's 68th State Assembly district election, 2016
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Jay Panahi 32,610 33.0
Republican Steven Choi 19,559 19.8
Republican Harry Sidhu 19,405 19.7
Republican Deborah Pauly 13,880 14.1
Republican Alexia Deligianni-Brydges 5,098 5.2
No party preference Brian Chuchua 4,635 4.7
Republican Kostas Roditis 3,528 3.6
Total votes 98,715 100.0
General election
Republican Steven Choi 114,210 60.3
Democratic Sean Jay Panahi 75,231 39.7
Total votes 189,441 100.0
Republican hold

2018 California State Assembly[edit]

California's 68th State Assembly district election, 2018
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Steven Choi (incumbent) 57,099 59.0
Democratic Michelle Duman 39,751 41.0
Total votes 96,850 100.0
General election
Republican Steven Choi (incumbent) 96,611 53.1
Democratic Michelle Duman 85,164 46.9
Total votes 181,775 100.0
Republican hold

2020 California State Assembly[edit]

2020 California's 68th State Assembly district election
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Steven Choi (incumbent) 44,165 44.9%
Democratic Melissa Fox 32,278 32.8%
Democratic Eugene Fields 12,543 12.7%
Republican Benjamin Yu 9,468 9.6%
Total votes


With his wife, Janie, and their two children, Choi has lived in Irvine since 1993 and in Mission Viejo from 1981–1993. Both of their children attended public schools in the Irvine Unified School District. His son Daniel, is a physician at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County. His daughter Michelle, is an attorney working in Irvine.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Steven S. Choi". Join California. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  2. ^ "Mayor Steven S. Choi, Ph.D." City of Irvine.
  3. ^ "Steven Choi's Biography". Vote Smart. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Irvine, California Mayor Steven Choi". Seoul Journal. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Full Biography for Steven S. Choi". SmartVoter. 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ [2]

External links[edit]