18-year-old runs for State Assembly; Will challenge Chris Holden’s seat

He might be the youngest candidate ever to run for statewide office in California history. But 18-year-old Nathaniel Tsai is still hoping to get your vote.
Tsai is running on the Republican ticket for the state Assembly seat that is held by Democratic incumbent Chris Holden in a district that stretches along Interstate 210 from Pasadena to Upland, excluding the city of Arcadia.
He entered the primary season late and utilizing the write-in vote, beat out two other write-in candidates. Now he’s poised to fight an admittedly uphill battle in a heavily Democratic district.
But Tsai is not letting that stop him.
“My friends and I were originally looking for internships to get involved with,” Tsai said. “We didn’t see anyone running against Chris Holden. I wanted to get involved.”
A 2013 graduate of San Marino High School who is studying government at Claremont McKenna College, Tsai said he doesn’t lean as far to the right as much of the party outside California does.
“I’m socially moderate and fiscally conservative,” he said. “The issues I felt were most important to me this election were the fiscal issues.”
Tsai added he saw problems with how the budget affects the state’s educational system first-hand while studying in San Marino.
“I went through high school when we had that pink slip epidemic. I lost a lot of teachers and friends,” he said. “They were there for years and instead they were replaced with brand new teachers out of school who couldn’t care less. To them it was a job. It made me want to study the state budget me and learn where the funds are going.”
Tsai also said while Common Core is probably here to stay, it’s not the best path to be on.
“I am really against Common Core,” he said. “In the state of California it’s probably not going to get repealed. Fourteen out of 38 states that had Common Core repealed it in less than three years.”
In addition, he said it doesn’t allow both students and teachers from doing their best.
“It standardizes schools and students and it prevents students from excelling,” Tsai said. “It also holds back teachers from going beyond the standards. And the schedule for Common Core is so rigorous you won’t be able to teach the extra stuff. And higher achieving schools don’t need Common Core. I feel it’s more for the underprivileged.”
(Shel Segal can be reached at and followed via Twitter @segallanded).

September 11, 2014

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