A FRESH-FACED POLITICAL OUTSIDER TRIES TO TURN HER BLUE CALIFORNIA DISTRICT RED
July 12, 2018 | By Alexandra Desanctis
Pray for change in Congress that will begin in districts around the country. Download our Intercessory Activism Prayer Guide to pray about the midterms.
“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)
As we approach the midterm elections, IFA is encouraging everyone to become more involved in the political process, however the Lord leads. We run this article not to endorse a political candidate, but to show you that this young woman with incredible credentials is responding to the call to serve. It is interesting because she is young, Asian American, Republican, and running for district that democrats have dominated for decades. Be educated about the races in your district—download our Intercessory Activism Prayer Guide to help you seek the Lord in how He wants you to pray and get involved.
“In the central San Joaquin Valley, 32-year-old Stanford grad Elizabeth Heng is standing up for conservative values against an entrenched Democratic incumbent.
Over the last several months, a host of Republican congressmen have announced that they won’t seek reelection this cycle, leaving their House seats open and vulnerable to Democratic pickup.
While polling data remain far from uniform on the chances of a “blue wave” sweeping Democrats into Washington in November, Republican politicians are right to be concerned. But in California’s 16th district, a young Republican woman is rising to the challenge, opposing Democratic congressman Jim Costa, who has held the seat since 2013 (and represented a somewhat different district for the previous four terms before redistricting).
The 16th district is located in California’s central San Joaquin Valley. It includes the western half of Fresno as well as the cities of Los Banos, Madera, and Merced, and it hasn’t been represented by a Republican in Congress since the mid 1970s, before redistricting gave it its current shape.
But 32-year-old Elizabeth Heng hopes to change that.
Heng’s parents immigrated to the United States to escape violence in Cambodia. About a decade ago, after she graduated from Stanford University, where she had served as student-body president, she returned to the Central Valley and opened a series of cell-phone stores with her brothers. Eventually, she found herself responsible for managing about 75 employees. “That was when I saw firsthand how government regulations impacted businesses negatively,” she says. “I constantly felt that from Washington, D.C., and Sacramento, they were saying that I was everything wrong with our country, when all I was doing was creating jobs.”
She subsequently decided to leave California to work in Washington, D.C. . . .
In 2016, Heng became a director for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony — a role she held even as she traveled to Connecticut in her off hours to obtain an MBA at Yale. (“Never be one of the inauguration directors and get your MBA at the same time,” Heng says of that experience. “It was the worst of all worlds.”) When the inauguration finally took place, she remembers how powerful it was to watch her immigrant parents sitting on the stage with the incoming president.
“One of my brothers posted online that day: ‘Thirty-three years ago, my parents came to the U.S. as penniless refugees. Today they’re sitting on the platform with the next President of the United States.’ It was at that moment that I realized why I continue to dedicate my life to public service,” Heng says.
But she still wasn’t sure she wanted to run for office. She missed her family, and, wanting to be closer to them, returned to the Central Valley once again. After having seen firsthand how Washington works, she knew how much time and talent are wasted to accomplish very little. “When you watch a government shutdown take place, for example, you realize that oftentimes we know the government is only shut down as a tactic, whether because of votes or fundraising or whatever else,” she says. So she decided to run for office herself, on a platform, first and foremost, of fiscal responsibility. “In a family or a business, we don’t suddenly act surprised when a budget comes up for the year,” she points out. “We get it done. But Congress doesn’t.”
To her, this speaks to a need for generational diversity within Congress. “I have been standing on the sidelines for a long time waiting for a young, exciting candidate to speak up for the issues that matter to you and me,” she says. “If there are bad policies coming out of Washington, they will affect young people like us more than anyone else. But I realized that candidate wasn’t coming, so I decided to step up and be that young leader myself.”. . .
Though the 16th district certainly voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, Heng believes that some of the voters in the area are slowly coming around to Trump, at least on some issues.
If she’s right, the young Republican just might have a chance to knock off a sitting Democrat and flip a seat that’s been blue for decades back to red. Republican success in November is far from certain, but with the emergence of candidates such as Heng, the spate of GOP retirements has become a bit easier for conservatives to stomach.” (Excerpted from National Review, reporting by Alexandra Desanctis.)