Leon Sit, write-in candidate for North County’s Assembly District 59!

California’s new Assembly District 59 includes all or part of North Tustin, Villa Park, the eastern part of Orange, Anaheim Hills, Placentia, eastern Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Brea, and Chino Hills. Mostly overlapping with the old AD 55, it’s been represented for six years by the unremarkable Republican Phillip Chen, about whom the most that can be said is he votes the same as every other Assembly Republican, if that’s something you like.

This year no Democrat, nor anyone else, filed to run against Chen, so he’s on the ballot unopposed. This rubbed Leon Sit the wrong way. A 19-year old UCLA student living in North Tustin and registered NPP, he has no major problem with Chen but firmly believes that nobody should run unopposed. So he went through the correct process with the County to be an official “write-in” candidate (if you write in just anybody it may feel good but it won’t count), and if he gets enough write-in votes this month he’ll be listed on your November ballot as Chen’s official opponent!

The Orange Juice Blog asked the young man some questions over the weekend, and I think he’d be a fine choice against Phillip Chen. First, what would be his top three legislative priorities, should he win?

“I have some ideas that I feel can and should be addressed beyond the two-party dichotomy, and if I am listed on the ballot in November, then I will have a platform to give some of my ideas about what issues our state is facing.

“My top priority would be to work to improve the state’s environmental policies. It’s important to keep our state clean because California offers the best scenery and climate of anywhere else in the world. I think we can help improve things by adding a plastic tax (which is on the ballot in November) and by increasing the CA CRV fees you often see on the single-use containers at supermarkets. If the state penalizes environmental negligence, then we can help encourage more responsible behavior from Californians. I’d like to see a cleaner and greener state, not one filled with trash that should have been responsibly disposed of.

“My second priority would be to help target inflation. There are a lot of tools the state can use to help alleviate the financial hardships our state’s working families are racing down every day, but I’d have to admit I’m not an expert on the inner workings of the economy. I’d be looking at a temporary suspension of the gas tax, but ideally high gas prices won’t be a factor by 2023. A government with a surplus should be looking at lowering regressive taxes on lower income taxpayers, such as the sales tax and gas tax. I would be hoping to reduce these in the Assembly!

“And my third priority would be to make mental health services more accessible. I think a lot of people, especially members of the youth, are dealing with a lot of emotional issues related to not only the pandemic, but also general feelings of isolation that for one reason or another have become more common in recent years. I think there’s a lot of good the state could do on that front, and if elected, I would make an effort to make mental health resources more accessible and navigable for those who need it most.”

Our friend Ery de Jong asks Leon, “Explain your work with Split Ticket; what do you guys “analyze” that is different from Nate Silver or Larry Sabato?”

LEON: “Split Ticket was formed as a trio of ‘Election Twitter’ figures as a source of nonprofit and nonpartisan analysis for anyone and everyone. I joined recently to help cover the governor’s races this year and to help make maps to flesh out our articles. Currently, we cover the primary election cycle, mostly putting out an article before and after the Tuesday elections each week. We often release miscellaneous articles about the data behind elections. Just like FiveThirtyEight and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, we make race outcome ratings, but I think readers are drawn to the ‘grassroots’ feeling of our writing. We’re all young political observers writing in our free time, and it’s a good space for us to share ideas and learn more about current events.”

Will you be running again in the future, or what do you see yourself doing when you graduate from UCLA?

LEON: “I hope that this will be the first and last time I run for office. Being a figure in politics really isn’t for me, and I think my talents are best left outside of that world. I’m working towards an engineering degree at UCLA, and I’d rather this just be something I did when I was young. Ideally, I would find myself in an industry position after graduation, but I always might make my way to graduate school or whatever may come next.”

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Well, OJB editor Vern says: If *I* lived in Assembly District 59, I’d go ahead and write in Leon Sit! (And make sure you don’t just write his name in the blank, but fill in the rectangle next to his name as well.) He’s got a lot more good ideas than Phillip Chen does, right off the bat, plus how often do we see a write-in candidacy succeed? Let’s give it a try!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.