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Ted Lieu
Lieu in 2011
Member of the California Senate
from the 28th district
Assumed office
February 18, 2011
Preceded by Jenny Oropeza
Member of the State Assembly
from the 53rd district

In office
September 21, 2005 – November 30, 2010
Preceded by Mike Gordon
Succeeded by Betsy Butler
Personal details
Born March 29, 1969(1969-03-29) (age 52)
Taipei, Taiwan
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Betty Lieu
Children Brennan
Residence Torrance, California
Alma mater Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.)
Stanford University (A.B./B.S.)
Profession Attorney
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Air Force Reserves
Rank Lieutenant Colonel US-O5 insignia.svg
Unit Judge Advocate General's Corps
Awards Air Force Commendation Medal Air Force Commendation ribbon.svg
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal Air Force Distinguished Service ribbon.svg

Ted W. Lieu (劉雲平) (born March 29, 1969) is a Democratic Party California State Senator, who has represented the 28th Senate District since February 18, 2011, after being elected to fill the seat of deceased Senator Jenny Oropeza. Lieu is also a former California State Assemblyman, who represented the 53rd Assembly District from September 2005 to November 2010 after being elected to fill the seat of deceased Assemblyman Mike Gordon.


Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Lieu's family immigrated to Cleveland, Ohio, where he grew up. Lieu graduated from Stanford University in 1991 with a B.S. in Computer Science and an A.B. in Political Science and 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[]

He holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserves. He served on active duty for 4 years as a member of the JAG 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 Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Humanitarian Service Medal.[1]

Political career[]

Lieu previously served as Torrance City Councilman.[3]


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 businesswoman Mary Jo Ford and fellow Torrance City Councilman Paul Nowatka.[4]

He was re-elected in November 2006 and again in November 2008.[5]

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.[6]

In 2008, in a surprising twist of events in the LPGA English language controversy, Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco and Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Los Angeles were able to help rescind the LPGA Tour Commission’s suspension-penalty policy. 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 policy by the end of 2008.[7]

Lieu is a strong supporter of expansion of public transit in West Los Angeles, LAX, and the South Bay.[8]

Lieu also co-authored 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. The bill was controversial with many environmentalists and legislators.[9] Further controversy ensued when it was announced that Roski had given over $500,000 to political campaigns, including $13,000 to Assemblyman Lieu.[10]

Legislation as an Assemblyman[]

As an Assemblyman, he has 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)[11]
  • ABx2 7, the California Foreclosure Prevention Act,[12] 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)[13]
  • 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)[14]
  • 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)[15]
  • 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)[16] 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).[17]

Run for Attorney General[]

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


Lieu won a February 15, 2011, special election to fill the 28th Senate district following the death of incumbent Jenny Oropeza. Lieu defeated four Republicans, one Democrat, and two independents.[18]

Legislation as a Senator[]

Some of his legislative actions as a Senator include the following:

  • 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 1402 – Workforce Development (Chapter 361, Statutes of 2012)
  • SB 1500 – Animal Cruelty (Chapter 598, Statutes of 2012)

Conversion therapy[]

Senator Lieu authored a bill (SB-1172: Sexual orientation change efforts) in 2012 that bans the provision of sexual orientation change therapy (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.[19] This made California the first U.S. state to have such a ban. Proponents of the ban cited sources including several reports of the American Psychological Association that found 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." [20]


Lieu and his wife Betty (a former California Deputy Attorney General) reside in Torrance with their two sons, Brennan and Austin.[21]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "From humble beginnings -- to the American Dream". Senator Ted Lieu. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  2. Rizo, Chris (February 8, 2010). "Calif. AG hopeful promoted to lieutenant colonel". 
  3. Pimentel, Joseph (June 4, 2010). "Ted Lieu vying to become first Asian-American Attorney General". 
  4. Covarrubias, Amanda (September 15, 2005). "Democrat Cuts Through GOP 'Malaise' for Win". 
  5. "Hahn loses to Newsom, Lieu trails in attorney general race". September 6, 2010. 
  6. Weikel, Dan (July 15, 2010). "Los Angeles and California lawmakers seek review of security at LAX". 
  7. "Lieu and Yee Help Rescind LPGA English Language Policy Penalty". AsianWeek. Retrieved on 2008-09-08.
  8. Walker, Gary (May 31, 2007). "LAX: MTA official says Green Line extension to LAX is 'not even on the radar screen right now'". 
  9. "Realty Tycoon Sacks Capitol in Quest for L.A. Football, "Sacramento Bee, Feb. 8, 2010
  10. "NFL stadium promoter gives $505,000 to state political campaigns", Los Angeles Times, January 30, 2010.
  11. Pimentel, Joseph (June 4, 2010). "Ted Lieu vying to become first Asian-American Attorney General". 
  12. "Calif. assemblyman joins 2010 AG race". December 11, 2008. 
  13. Etengoff, Aharon (August 12, 2008). "Cyber-bullying law wins state senate approval". 
  14. "Governor Schwarzenegger sign legislation to protect California's ocean and coast". BYM Marine Environment News. October 12, 2007. 
  15. "Governator to Terminate Greenhouse Emissions and Oil Dependence in California". October 14, 2007. 
  16. "California Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Bills to Benefit Veterans, Military Personnel in California". October 10, 2007. 
  17. "State probes Blue Cross". February 25, 2008. 
  18. Chavez, Paul (February 15, 2011). "Ted Lieu Wins Special Election for State Senate Seat". 
  19. "California bans gay-to-straight 'conversion' therapy for minors". October 1, 2012. 
  20. "SB-1172 Sexual orientation change efforts.(2011-2012)". Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  21. "Sen. Ted Lieu's biography". California State Senate: Select Committee on Air Quality. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 

External links[]

Unrecognised parameter
Preceded by
Mike Gordon
California State Assemblyman
53rd District

September 21, 2005 – November 30, 2010
Succeeded by
Betsy Butler
Preceded by
Hector De La Torre
Assembly Rules Committee Chairman
March 13, 2008 – March 18, 2010
Succeeded by
Nancy Skinner
Unrecognised parameter
Preceded by
Jenny Oropeza
California State Senator
28th District

February 18, 2011 – November 30, 2014
Succeeded by
Ben Allen
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Henry Waxman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 33rd congressional district

January 3, 2015 – present
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Brenda Lawrence
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Barry Loudermilk