Ted Lieu

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Ted Lieu
Congressman Ted W. Lieu Official Photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 33rd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded byHenry Waxman
Member of the California State Senate
from the 28th district
In office
February 18, 2011 – November 30, 2014
Preceded byJenny Oropeza
Succeeded byBen Allen
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 53rd district
In office
September 21, 2005 – November 30, 2010
Preceded byMike Gordon
Succeeded byBetsy Butler
Personal details
Born (1969-03-29) March 29, 1969 (age 49)
Taipei, Taiwan
Political partyDemocratic
Betty Lieu (m. 2002)
EducationStanford University (BA, BS)
Georgetown University (JD)
WebsiteHouse website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service1995–1999 (active)
2000–present (reserve)
RankUS Air Force O6 shoulderboard rotated.svg Colonel
UnitJudge Advocate General's Corps
Ted Lieu
Traditional Chinese劉雲平
Simplified Chinese刘云平
Hanyu PinyinLiú Yúnpíng

Ted W. Lieu (/lj/; born March 29, 1969) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for California's 33rd congressional district since 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the California State Senator from the 28th district from 2011 to 2014, after being elected to fill the seat of deceased Senator Jenny Oropeza. Lieu was also a California State Assemblyman, representing the 53rd district from 2005 to 2010 after being elected to fill the seat of deceased Assemblyman Mike Gordon.

Lieu actively served in the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corps from 1995 to 1999 and since 2000 has served in the Air Force Reserve Command with his current rank of colonel upon his promotion in 2015. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi appointed Lieu Assistant Whip of the 115th Congress starting in 2017.


Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Lieu immigrated with his family to Cleveland, Ohio, where he grew up and graduated from Saint Ignatius High School in 1987. He graduated from Stanford University in 1991 with a B.S. in computer science and a B.A. in political science. He graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1994, where he was editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Law Journal and received four American Jurisprudence awards.[1]

He also served as a law clerk to Judge Thomas Tang of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[2]

Military career[edit]

Lieu holds the rank of Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve.[3] He joined the Air Force in 1995 and served four years on active duty as a member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps. As a military prosecutor and adviser to commanders, he has received various awards and medals for his service, both abroad and locally, including the Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal.[1] Since 2000, he has served in the Air Force Reserve. He was promoted to colonel in December 2015.[3]

California State Legislature[edit]

Lieu previously served as Torrance City Councilman.[4]

California Assembly[edit]

Lieu won a September 13, 2005, special election to fill the 53rd Assembly district following the death of incumbent Mike Gordon. Lieu defeated three Republicans, including physician Mary Jo Ford and fellow Torrance City Councilman Paul Nowatka.[5]

He was reelected in November 2006 and again in November 2008.[6]

Lieu was chair of the Assembly Rules Committee. He was a member of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, Assembly Judiciary Committee and Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee. Lieu was also Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus and Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Aerospace.[7]

In 2008, in a surprising twist of events in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) English language controversy, Lieu and State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco were able to help rescind the LPGA Tour Commission's suspension-penalty policy for players who failed to learn enough English to speak to sponsors and at award ceremonies. Both officials publicly challenged the legality and galvanized community attention to the LPGA's policy in August 2008 when it was released, which resulted in revision of the policy by the end of 2008.[8][9]

Lieu is a strong supporter of expansion of public transit in West Los Angeles, LAX, and the South Bay.[10]

Lieu coauthored a successful bill to bypass environmental quality regulations to build a football stadium in Los Angeles. The bill was intended to help the efforts of developer Edward P. Roski persuade the National Football League to return to the city, and was controversial among many environmentalists and legislators.[11] Further controversy ensued when it was announced that Roski had given over $500,000 to political campaigns, including $13,000 to Lieu's.[12]


As an Assemblyman, Lieu authored laws in the areas of public safety, child sex offenders, domestic violence, the environment, education, health care, veterans' issues and transportation.

Some of his legislative actions include the following:

  • AB 1900 helps prevent convicted child sex offenders from working with children (Chapter 340, Statutes of 2006)[13]
  • ABx2 7, the California Foreclosure Prevention Act,[14] requires lenders to operate a comprehensive home loan modification program or face a 90-day foreclosure moratorium. This is the first law of its kind in the nation (Chapter 5, Statutes of 2009)
  • AB 2052 allows a victim of domestic violence to break a rental lease if the victim provides a police report or temporary restraining order to the landlord (Chapter 440, Statutes of 2008)
  • AB 86 gives school districts the ability to discipline students who engage in cyber-bullying (Chapter 646, Statutes of 2008)[15]
  • AB 800 requires reporting of sewage spills, thereby allowing the local public safety officials to close down beaches and public areas affected by such spills (Chapter 371, Statutes of 2007)[16]
  • AB 236 mandates the state to prioritize the purchase of fleet cars to enhance fuel efficiency and carbon reduction, and requires alternative-fuel-capable vehicles to use alternative fuels (Chapter 593, Statutes of 2007)[17]
  • AB 392 requires employers to give spouses of Armed Forces members returning from deployment two weeks of unpaid leave if requested by the spouse (Chapter 361, Statutes of 2007)[18] and
  • AB 1150 bans health insurance companies from providing financial incentives to their employees for terminating health care coverage of patients (Chapter 188, Statutes of 2008).[19]

Run for Attorney General of California[edit]

Lieu sought the Democratic nomination in the California Attorney General election, 2010. He finished fourth in the June primary, which was won by Kamala Harris.

California Senate[edit]

Lieu won a February 15, 2011, special election to fill the 28th Senate district following the death of incumbent Jenny Oropeza. He defeated four Republicans, one Democrat, and two independents.[20]

On January 30, 2014, Senator Lieu voted in favor of California Senate Constitutional Amendment 5.[21][22] The proposed bill asked California voters to repeal provisions of Proposition 209 and permit state universities to consider an applicant's race, ethnicity or national origin in making admissions decisions. After hearing strong opposition to the bill from Asian-American community, Lieu, along with Senators Leland Yee and Carol Liu, who had also voted for the bill, jointly issued a statement on February 27 calling for the bill to be withheld pending further consultations with the "affected communities."[23]


Lieu's legislative actions as a state senator include:

  • SB 698 – Workforce Development Funds (Chapter 497, Statutes of 2011)
  • SB 746 – Tanning and Cancer Prevention (Chapter 664, Statutes of 2011)
  • SB 757 – Insurance Equality for Domestic Partners (Chapter 722, Statutes of 2011)
  • SB 857 – Protecting the Right to Strike (Chapter 539, Statutes of 2011)
  • SB 917 – Curbing Animal Abuse and Neglect (Chapter 131, Statutes of 2011)
  • SB 661 – Funeral Protests (Chapter 354, Statutes of 2012)
  • SB 921 – National Guard Inspector General (Chapter 731, Statutes of 2012)
  • SB 1055 – Rental Payment Flexibility (Chapter 268, Statutes of 2012)
  • SB 1058 – Victims of Corporate Fraud (Chapter 564, Statutes of 2012)
  • SB 1066 – Climate Change (Chapter 611, Statutes of 2012)
  • SB 1172 – Sexual Orientation Change Therapies (Chapter 835, Statutes of 2012)
  • SB 1210 – Victim's Restitution (Chapter 762, Statutes of 2012)
  • SB 1221 – Hounding of Bears and Bobcats (Chapter 595, Statutes of 2012)
  • SB 1272 - Campaign finance: advisory election (Chapter 175, Statutes of 2014)
  • SB 1402 – Workforce Development (Chapter 361, Statutes of 2012)
  • SB 1500 – Animal Cruelty (Chapter 598, Statutes of 2012)

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2014 election[edit]

Lieu was the Democratic candidate for the 33rd congressional district, formerly represented by Henry Waxman, who retired in 2014 after 40 years in Congress.[24] The 2010 redistricting placed a portion of Torrance, including Lieu's home, in the 33rd.

Lieu placed second in the June primary, but defeated Republican Elan Carr in the general election. He is only the third person to represent this district since its creation in 1943 (it was the 19th from 1943 to 1975, the 24th from 1975 to 1993, the 29th from 1993 to 2003, the 30th from 2003 to 2013, and has been the 33rd since 2013).


Lieu successfully passed three laws in the 114th Congress, securing $35 million in funding to the West Los Angeles VA for seismic retrofits; reauthorizing the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans; and restoring the Quarterly Financial Report. Lieu also introduced the Climate Solutions Act in the 114th Congress, which aimed to model national energy goals and climate emissions reduction targets after the state of California.

In the 115th Congress, Lieu introduced H.R. 669 - Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017, which would prohibit the President from using the Armed Forces to conduct a first-use nuclear strike unless such strike is conducted pursuant to a congressional declaration of war expressly authorizing such strike.[25]

On March 8, 2017, Lieu introduced H.R. 1437 - No Money Bail Act of 2017. The bill proposes eliminating the money bail system for holding suspects in pretrial proceedings.[26]


Lieu is one of two Taiwanese American members of the 114th United States Congress, along with New York's Grace Meng.[27]

He was voted Democratic Freshman Class President of the House by his colleagues, succeeding Joaquín Castro. Lieu serves on two influential committees in Congress: the House Judiciary Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Lieu voted against the Iran deal.[28]

Lieu received praise from the online privacy community when he introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent states from forcing companies to weaken encryption for law enforcement purposes.[29]

On September 16, 2015, Lieu and Justin Amash introduced a bill[30] to reduce funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration's Cannabis Eradication Program,[31] under which real estate and chattels can be seized if they have been used for marijuana trafficking and abuse.[32]

On July 22, it was announced that Lieu would speak at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, along with three other California House Democrats.

On May 10, 2017, Lieu tweeted: "Our 11 year old just asked me if President Trump was part Russian. That would be really funny if it wasn't so really scary."[33][34] In response, Russia's government-controlled news agency Sputnik accused Lieu of inciting "Russophobic hysteria".[34]

On November 6, 2017, instead of observing a moment of silence for the 26 victims of a church shooting in Texas the previous day, he filmed and posted a video message calling for gun law reform while standing in front of an armed Capitol Hill guard.[35]

He is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[36]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Banning sexual orientation conversion therapy[edit]

In 2012 Lieu authored a bill[42] that bans the provision of sexual orientation change efforts (including conversion therapy) to minors. This bill passed both the State Assembly and Senate with substantial support, and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2012.[43] This made California the first U.S. state to have such a ban. Several other states and the District of Columbia have followed in enacting bans on sexual orientation change efforts with minors.[44] As U.S. Representative, Lieu has introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, a bill for a federal ban on conversion therapy, following statements by President Obama opposing the practice.[45]

Proponents of the ban cited sources including several reports of the American Psychological Association that conversion therapy presented a serious health risk "including confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, disappointment, self-blame, decreased self-esteem and authenticity to others, increased self-hatred, hostility and blame toward parents, feelings of anger and betrayal, loss of friends and potential romantic partners, problems in sexual and emotional intimacy, sexual dysfunction, high-risk sexual behaviors, a feeling of being dehumanized and untrue to self, a loss of faith, and a sense of having wasted time and resources."[46]

Criticism of U.S. support for Saudi Arabia[edit]

Lieu has been publicly raising concerns over U.S. support for Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. In March 2016, he sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Lieu wrote in the letter that the "apparent indiscriminate airstrikes on civilian targets in Yemen seem to suggest that either the coalition is grossly negligent in its targeting or is intentionally targeting innocent civilians. ... Some of these strikes look like war crimes to me, and I want to get answers as to why the U.S. appears to be assisting in the execution of war crimes in Yemen."[47]

In April 2017, he again criticized U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabian military campaign in Yemen, highlighting that Al Qaeda in Yemen "has emerged as a de facto ally of the Saudi-led militaries with whom [Trump] administration aims to partner more closely."[48]

Criticism of Trump administration's family separation policy[edit]

ProPublica recording of crying children separated from their families.

On June 22, Lieu played an audio clip of children taken from their parents under the Trump administration's family separation policy crying and calling for their parents. Karen Handel, Republican representative from Georgia, who was presiding over the session, called on Lieu to stop playing the clip, citing a rule (House Rule 17) that prohibits persons on the floor of the House from using "a mobile electronic device that impairs decorum."[49] Lieu responded, "Why are we hiding this from the American people? I think the American people need to hear this."[50]

Personal life[edit]

Lieu and his wife Betty (a former California Deputy Attorney General) reside in Torrance, California, with their two sons, Brennan and Austin.[51]

Lieu is a Catholic.[52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Meet Ted". Senator Ted Lieu. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  2. ^ Rizo, Chris (February 8, 2010). "Calif. AG hopeful promoted to lieutenant colonel". LegalNewsline. Archived from the original on January 28, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "CONGRESSMAN LIEU STATEMENT ON PROMOTION TO COLONEL, U.S. AIR FORCE RESERVES". Congressman Ted Lieu. 2015-12-09. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
  4. ^ Pimentel, Joseph (June 4, 2010). "Ted Lieu vying to become first Asian-American Attorney General". Asian Journal. Archived from the original on December 14, 2010.
  5. ^ Covarrubias, Amanda (September 15, 2005). "Democrat Cuts Through GOP 'Malaise' for Win". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ "Hahn loses to Newsom, Lieu trails in attorney general race". Inside Bay Area. September 6, 2010.
  7. ^ Weikel, Dan (July 15, 2010). "Los Angeles and California lawmakers seek review of security at LAX". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ Watanabe, Teresa; Kim, Victoria (September 6, 2008). "Putting English on the ball". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  9. ^ "Lieu and Yee Help Rescind LPGA English Language Policy Penalty" Archived September 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.. AsianWeek. Retrieved on 2008-09-08.
  10. ^ Walker, Gary (May 31, 2007). "LAX: MTA official says Green Line extension to LAX is 'not even on the radar screen right now'". The Argonaut. Archived from the original on July 19, 2012.
  11. ^ "Realty Tycoon Sacks Capitol in Quest for L.A. Football Archived February 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., The Sacramento Bee, February 8, 2010.
  12. ^ "NFL stadium promoter gives $505,000 to state political campaigns", Los Angeles Times, January 30, 2010.
  13. ^ Pimentel, Joseph (June 4, 2010). "Ted Lieu vying to become first Asian-American Attorney General". Asian Journal. Archived from the original on July 20, 2012.
  14. ^ "Calif. assemblyman joins 2010 AG race". LegalNewsline. December 11, 2008. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013.
  15. ^ Etengoff, Aharon (August 12, 2008). "Cyber-bullying law wins state senate approval". The Inquirer.
  16. ^ "Governor Schwarzenegger sign legislation to protect California's ocean and coast". BYM Marine Environment News. October 12, 2007.
  17. ^ "Governator to Terminate Greenhouse Emissions and Oil Dependence in California". NGV Global News. October 14, 2007.
  18. ^ "California Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Bills to Benefit Veterans, Military Personnel in California". All American Patriots. October 10, 2007. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007.
  19. ^ "State probes Blue Cross". Capitol Weekly. February 25, 2008. Archived from the original on July 28, 2012.
  20. ^ Chavez, Paul (February 15, 2011). "Ted Lieu Wins Special Election for State Senate Seat". Marina del Rey Patch.
  21. ^ "Bill documents". Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  22. ^ "Prop 209 changes spark protests" China Daily USA 2014-02-28.
  23. ^ André Coleman & Kevin Uhrich, "A Giant Awakens" Pasadena Weekly March 12, 2014.
  24. ^ "Ted Lieu announces run for Congress with high-profile endorsements". KPCC. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  25. ^ "House Bill 0669 of the 115th Congress". The United States Congress. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  26. ^ "Congressman Ted Lieu". The United States Congress. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  27. ^ "Ted W. Lieu elected second Taiwan-born U.S. congressman". Central News Agency. November 6, 2014. Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  28. ^ "H.R. 3461: To approve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, ... -- House Vote #493 -- Sep 11, 2015". GovTrack.us.
  29. ^ "House bill would kill state, local bills that aim to weaken smartphone crypto". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 2016-02-10. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  30. ^ Ted W. Lieu (September 16, 2015). "Introduction of the Bill" (PDF). Mr. Ted W. Lieu. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  31. ^ Mark Ram (October 5, 2015). "Civil Forfeiture for Marijuana Busiensses". Mark Ram. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  32. ^ Nick Sibilla (September 21, 2015). "New Bill Would Cut Off Federal Forfeiture Funds For DEA Marijuana Seizures". Nick Sibilla. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  33. ^ "Politicians’ kids say the darnedest xenophobic things, like asking if Trump is part Russian". Twitchy. May 11, 2017.
  34. ^ a b "Chill, Comrade: US Lawmaker Fans Anti-Russian Hysteria". Sputnik News. 11 May 2017.
  35. ^ washingtonpost.com 7 November 2017: ‘I can’t do this again’: Why a congressman walked out of moment of silence for Texas victims
  36. ^ "Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Archived from the original on October 22, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  37. ^ "Members". House Baltic Caucus. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  38. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  39. ^ "Members". Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  40. ^ "Members of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus". Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  41. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  42. ^ "SB-1172 Sexual orientation change efforts".
  43. ^ "California bans gay-to-straight 'conversion' therapy for minors". LA times. October 1, 2012.
  44. ^ Davis, Aaron C. (December 2, 2014). "D.C. bans gay conversion therapy of minors". The Washington Post.
  45. ^ "Ted Lieu Introduces First Federal Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy". NBC News. May 20, 2015.
  46. ^ "SB-1172 Sexual orientation change efforts". Leginfo. California State Legislature. 2011–2012. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  47. ^ ""Look like war crimes to me": Congressman raises concerns over U.S. support for Saudi war in Yemen". Salon. March 17, 2016.
  48. ^ "America's Support for Saudi Arabia's War on Yemen Must End". The Nation. April 5, 2017.
  49. ^ [1]
  50. ^ [2]
  51. ^ "Sen. Ted Lieu's biography". California State Senate: Select Committee on Air Quality. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  52. ^ Cleve R. Wootson Jr. (November 7, 2017). "'I can't do this again': Why a congressman walked out of moment of silence for Texas victims". the Washington Post. Retrieved November 7, 2017.

External links[edit]

California Assembly
Preceded by
Mike Gordon
Member of the California Assembly
from the 53rd district

Succeeded by
Betsy Butler
Preceded by
Hector De La Torre
Chair of the California Assembly Rules Committee
Succeeded by
Nancy Skinner
California Senate
Preceded by
Jenny Oropeza
Member of the California Senate
from the 28th district

Succeeded by
Ben Allen
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Henry Waxman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 33rd congressional district

Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Brenda Lawrence
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Barry Loudermilk