|Member of the California State Assembly|
from the 68th district
|Assumed office |
December 5, 2016
|Preceded by||Don Wagner|
|Mayor of Irvine|
December 11, 2012 – December 5, 2016
|Preceded by||Sukhee Kang|
|Succeeded by||Don Wagner|
|Member of the Irvine City Council|
December 14, 2004 – December 11, 2012
|Born||January 15, 1944|
Naju, Japanese occupied Korea (present day South Korea)
|Alma mater||Kyung Hee University|
Louisiana State University
University of Pittsburgh
|Website||Official Campaign Web Site|
Steven Seokho Choi (Korean: 최석호 Choi Seok-Ho; 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
Born in South Korea, Steven Choi earned his B.A. degree from Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea. He came to the United States from South Korea as a Peace Corps language instructor for the State Department in August 1968. He then continued his post-graduate education, earning his master's degree in Library Science from Louisiana State University, and his Ph.D. in Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh.
He has taught at several universities and colleges including USC, UCI, California State University, Los Angeles, Henderson State University in Arkansas, Saddleback College, and most recently, Coastline Community College. He founded and serves as Director of Dr. Choi's Academy.
Choi was elected to the Irvine Unified School District school board on November 3, 1998 and reelected on November 5, 2002. He was elected to the Irvine City Council on November 2, 2004, becoming the first Asian American elected to a four-year term on the council. 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 and was elected to a two-year term as Irvine's mayor.
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.
2016 California State Assembly
|California's 68th State Assembly district election, 2016|
|Democratic||Sean Jay Panahi||32,610||33.0|
|No party preference||Brian Chuchua||4,635||4.7|
|Democratic||Sean Jay Panahi||75,231||39.7|
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. Daniel is a physician at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County. Michelle is an attorney working in Irvine.