William Tong

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William Tong
William Tong Stamford Connecticut (cropped).jpg
25th Attorney General of Connecticut
Assumed office
January 9, 2019
GovernorNed Lamont
Preceded byGeorge Jepsen
Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives
from the 147th district
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 9, 2019
Preceded byDonald Sherer
Succeeded byMatt Blumenthal
Personal details
Born (1973-05-02) May 2, 1973 (age 46)
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Hotchkiss
Children3
EducationUniversity of Chicago (JD)
Brown University (BA)

William Morten Tong 湯偉麟 (born c. 1973[1]) is the 25th Attorney General of Connecticut to serve Connecticut since the office was established in 1897. He took office on January 9, 2019 as the first Asian Pacific-American attorney general and constitutional officer elected statewide in Connecticut's history.

Prior to serving as attorney general, Tong served as a state representative in the Connecticut House of Representatives for 12 years, representing the 147th district, the largest district in Stamford that includes North Stamford, Springdale, Westover and the western part of Darien.

From 2015 to 2019, Tong served as House chairman of the judiciary committee where he was responsible for all matters concerning Connecticut’s legal system, including all legislation related to constitutional law, criminal law, civil rights, consumer protection, probate, judicial nominations and the judicial branch, and major areas of substantive law.

Prior to being appointed as House chairman of the legislature's judiciary committee, he previously served as House chairman of the banking committee from 2011 to 2015.

Upon his election to the general assembly in 2006, Tong was the first Asian Pacific-American elected at the state level in Connecticut’s history. He is the first Chinese American to be elected to serve as a state attorney general in American history.

In 2008, Tong was the first Connecticut legislator to endorse then-Senator Barack Obama for president.[2] Obama was Tong’s constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

Early life and education[edit]

William Tong was born to Ady and Nancy Tong. His father was born in China during World War II and fled to Hong Kong as a child. He emigrated to America and worked as a cook in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Nancy was born in Taipei, Taiwan. During high school, she immigrated to Hartford, Connecticut, in 1969. Her father, Albert Sun, worked in Hartford as an engineer. They owned a Chinese and other restaurants and businesses in the Hartford area. They had five children: William, Jill, Susie, Judy and Mary.[3]

Tong graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He received an undergraduate degree in classics with honors from Brown University, in 1995. He earned a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, in 2000.[4][5]

Legal career[edit]

Prior to his election as attorney general, he practiced law for 18 years as a litigator in both state and federal courts, first at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, in New York City and then for 15 years at Finn Dixon & Herling LLP, in Stamford.[citation needed]

Public service[edit]

2018 state attorney general campaign[edit]

In late 2017, Tong formed an exploratory committee to seek the Democratic nomination for Connecticut Attorney General in the November 2018 election after incumbent attorney general George Jepsen announced he would not seek re-election.[citation needed]

Tong won the first contested Democratic convention for attorney general on May 20, 2018[6] with 63.3 percent of the vote, defeating three other candidates. He went on to win the first contested Democratic primary for attorney general on August 14, 2018[7], beating two other candidates with 57.3 percent of the vote.[citation needed]

He defeated Republican Sue Hatfield in the general election on November 6, 2018[8] by 78,394 votes or 6 percent of the vote.[9] Tong is the fourth in a row elected attorney general from the city of Stamford.[citation needed]

Consumer protection[edit]

As attorney general, Tong is leading a coalition of 49 states in suing the major generic drug manufacturers[10] for price fixing, which Tong called the “largest private sector cartel” in history during a May 12, 2019 segment[11] on the CBS news program "60 Minutes."

Tong is also on the national executive committee of attorneys general who are leading the investigation and litigation to confront the opioid crisis, including Connecticut’s case against Purdue Pharma.[citation needed]

Tong was a part of a small group of state attorneys general who led the investigation against Equifax[12] relating to a massive data breach in which personal and confidential information belonging to millions of Americans was compromised, including more than 1.5 million residents in Connecticut. Equifax eventually agreed to a $700 million settlement, which includes $425 million in direct consumer relief and close to $5 million to the State of Connecticut.[citation needed]

"Firewall" against the Trump administration[edit]

During the 2018 campaign, Tong pledged to be “firewall” against President Donald Trump and his policies. Since taking office, Tong has joined other state attorneys general in challenging Trump when his actions have violated the law and the Constitution, including his unlawful attempts to build a border wall,[13] to add a citizenship question[14] to the census, and to target and discriminate against immigrants and communities of color.[15]

Tong has taken legal action to protect the health care of hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents who depend on the Affordable Care Act and funding for reproductive health care under Title X. Tong has been a stout defender of the environment, taking numerous legal actions to protect clean air and water, and to confront the climate crisis.[16]

Tong sued the Trump administration to protect Connecticut taxpayers from the abusive and discriminatory tax law that unfairly targets Connecticut families by limiting local deductions for state and local taxes[17]. Tong has also aggressively pushed back against the attacks by the Trump administration and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on public education[18], including abusive and fraudulent student loan practices that prejudice thousands of students and borrowers in Connecticut.[citation needed]

State representative[edit]

From 2015 to 2019, Tong served as the House chairman of the Judiciary Committee. As chairman, Tong was a key leader in Connecticut’s efforts to pass strong, common sense gun legislation.[citation needed]

As a freshman legislator, he wrote and passed the Lost and Stolen Firearms law[19] to fight gun trafficking. After the tragedy at Sandy Hook, he played an integral role in overhauling Connecticut's gun laws. He then wrote and passed Lori Jackson's Law, the domestic violence gun law, which requires the subject of a temporary restraining order to surrender all firearms and ammunition for at least 14 days. In 2018, Tong wrote and passed the law banning bump stocks.[citation needed]

During his 12 years in the House, Tong wrote and passed several critical laws to reform the criminal justice system, including Connecticut’s Second Chance Society law, which overhauled Connecticut's Criminal Justice Information System [20] by eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug possession crimes that have resulted in the mass incarceration of young people, particularly in Connecticut's cities.[citation needed]

He also helped to write and pass legislation to protect homeowners in foreclosure in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis; hold teachers and school officials accountable for failing to report instances of abuse and sexual misconduct by teachers and administrators involving students; and a law that safeguards and protects reproductive freedom and a woman’s right to choose.[citation needed]

During his tenure as a state representative, state education funding to Stamford nearly doubled.[citation needed]  

As a state representative, Tong also served as co-chairman of the Commission on Economic Competitiveness, which is focused on Connecticut’s strategy for growth and job creation and building on its strengths as one of the United States’ most productive states with one of the highest incomes per capita in the nation.[citation needed]  

Tong has helped to bring major employers such as NBC Sports, Charter Communications, Kayak, and Starwood to Stamford.[citation needed]

2013 Stamford mayoral campaign[edit]

In February 2013, Tong announced his bid for Mayor of Stamford after then-Mayor Michael Pavia announced he would not seek re-election. He lost the Democratic Primary to David Martin by less than 200 votes.[citation needed]

2012 U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

Tong announced he would seek the Democratic nomination in May 2011 for the U.S. Senate [21] seat being vacated by then-U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT). He faced Susan Bysiewicz, former secretary of state and now Connecticut's lieutenant governor, and Chris Murphy, and eventual winner, in the Democratic primary. He dropped out of the U.S. Senate race a year later and endorsed Murphy.[citation needed]

The Tong campaign raised more than $550,000 in the quarter ending June 30, 2011.[22] The final Federal Election Commission contribution tally was $1,063,993 for Team Tong.[23]

Consideration for U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut[edit]

On March 7, 2009, it was reported that Tong was being considered by a panel assembled by former U.S. Sens. Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman to screen candidates for United States Attorney.[24] On November 14, 2009, the Hartford Courant reported that the panel assembled by Dodd and Lieberman had forwarded four names to the White House and President Barack Obama for consideration; Tong was a finalist on that list.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Tong and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Stamford with their three children: Eleanor Ming Lan, Penelope Ming Lee and Alexander Ming Xiang. Elizabeth is vice president, tax, the Americas, for Diageo.[26][27]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kim, Elizabeth. "With potential to make history, Tong enters race for U.S. Senate". Stamford Advocate. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 18, 2011. Retrieved June 15, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Births – Stamford News – The Stamford Times – Stamford's Newspaper". The Stamford Times. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  4. ^ Kei-Rahn, Jordan (November 25, 2018). "Tong '95 elected Connecticut's first Asian-American attorney general". Brown Daily Herald. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  5. ^ "William Tong, '00, Appointed Cochairman of Connecticut General Assembly's Judiciary Committee | University of Chicago Law School". www.law.uchicago.edu. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  6. ^ "Tong wins endorsement for AG, faces three-way primary". The CT Mirror. May 19, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  7. ^ "Tong wins Democratic nod for attorney general". WTNH.com. August 15, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  8. ^ Mahony, Edmund H. "Tong Gets Victory In Attorney General Race; Wooden Wins For Treasurer, Lembo And Merrill Re-Elected". courant.com. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  9. ^ "Democrats win attorney general and underticket". Connecticut Post. November 7, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  10. ^ "TONG LEADS LAWSUIT AGAINST GENERIC DRUG MANUFACTURERSIN CONSPIRACY TO FIX PRICES FOR OVER 100 DRUGS". CT.gov - Connecticut's Official State Website. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  11. ^ "Sweeping lawsuit accuses top generic drug companies, executives of fixing prices". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  12. ^ "TONG LEADS LAWSUIT AGAINST GENERIC DRUG MANUFACTURERSIN CONSPIRACY TO FIX PRICES FOR OVER 100 DRUGS". CT.gov - Connecticut's Official State Website. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  13. ^ "AG Tong and 15 Other States File Lawsuit Challenging President Trumps National Emergency Declaration". CT.gov - Connecticut's Official State Website. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  14. ^ "AG TONG FILES BRIEF CHALLENGING TRUMP ADMIN ATTEMPT TO ADD CITIZENSHIP QUESTION TO 2020 CENSUS". CT.gov - Connecticut's Official State Website. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  15. ^ "ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG SUES TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OVER PUBLIC CHARGE RULE". CT.gov - Connecticut's Official State Website. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  16. ^ "CT SUES TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OVER CLEAN CAR STANDARDS ATTACK". CT.gov - Connecticut's Official State Website. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  17. ^ "ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG AND GOVERNOR LAMONT ANNOUNCE LAWSUIT AGAINST IRS AND SECRETARY MNUCHIN". CT.gov - Connecticut's Official State Website. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  18. ^ "AG TONG, 21 STATES OPPOSE DEVOS ATTEMPT TO UNDERMINE INVESTIGATIONS INTO STUDENT LOAN INDUSTRY". CT.gov - Connecticut's Official State Website. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  19. ^ "Connecticut HB6131 | TrackBill". trackbill.com. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  20. ^ "News of William Tong, 26 November 2007". Stamford Advocate. Retrieved December 6, 2009.[dead link]
  21. ^ "A new face in the Senate race... – Norwich, CT – The Bulletin". Norwichbulletin.com. March 15, 2011. Archived from the original on September 4, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  22. ^ http://www.politico.com/blogs/davidcatanese/0711/Tongs_half_a_million_dollar_statement_in_Conn.html?showall
  23. ^ http://www.fec.gov/fecviewer/CandidateCommitteeDetail.do
  24. ^ "Committee formed to select U.S. attorney for Connecticut – Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, Weston and Wilton Connecticut News, Sports, Business, Obituaries and Advertising – The Hour – Norwalk's Newspaper". The Hour. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  25. ^ "Finalists." Archived October 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine (Publisher) (November 14, 2009) Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  26. ^ Kei-Rahn, Jordan (November 25, 2018). "Tong '95 elected Connecticut's first Asian-American attorney general". Brown Daily Herald. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  27. ^ "William Tong, '00, Appointed Cochairman of Connecticut General Assembly's Judiciary Committee | University of Chicago Law School". www.law.uchicago.edu. Retrieved December 28, 2018.

External links[edit]

Connecticut House of Representatives
Preceded by
Donald B. Sherer
Member of the Connecticut House of Representatives
from the 147th district

2007–2019
Succeeded by
Matt Blumenthal
Legal offices
Preceded by
George Jepsen
Attorney General of Connecticut
2019–present
Incumbent