One of three , Taiwan native and physician Matthew Lin has lived in the San Gabriel Valley for 34 years and served on the San Marino City Council from 2001 to 2009 and as Mayor in 2003, 2005 and 2008.
His top issue is “jobs, jobs, jobs,” as he told Patch and as you may see on some of his posters plastered throughout local cities. However, Lin said he believes education, healthcare and jobs are all closely related.
Patch interviewed Ing for a series of 49th Assembly District candidate profiles. The following interview has been edited for length. Share your thoughts on the Assembly race and your questions for candidates in the comments section below.
1. Why are you running for State Assembly?
I went to Africa five times in the last two years and each time I set up a free clinic to give them food. And I think how lucky and blessed we are to live in California. I was at the free clinic in El Monte … and then again I see what I saw in Africa—people without insurance and all kinds of disease. I stand in the food stand there and give out food to 300 people who need it. It was Friday I went down there, heavy raining and people were waiting there from 6 in the morning and at 12 waiting for the food. I just feel so bad and I tell my wife, “People need jobs. We need to help them.” I went to Sacramento and asked them how should we create the jobs and they think the only way to cut our budget is cut the education and increase the tax, which I’m totally against. I’m going to create jobs for people who need it, I wanna fight for education for California, reform healthcare so people can afford it. I want the state to balance the budget.
2. How do you want to reform education and healthcare specifically?
For education, I’ll give you an example: 40 percent of our budget revenue should go to kindergarten and 5th grade but a lot of the political interest have been taking the money away and putting it not really into education. What we really need to do is protect the funding for education and stop punishing our children because of Sacramento’s failure to manage our tax dollars. I want to make college more affordable. … We need to reward teachers and remove the incompetent ones. We need to expand job-training organizations to better prepare students for a good career. I want every child to be able to read and write and speak English because they graduate. At school we should hold school principals and teachers accountable for the result so no children will be failing in school. We need funding; there’s a lot we need to do. But those are the things I will do to help the students. I always tell people that when I walk through a jail, 83% of people in jail are high school dropouts and I think we should not have any children left behind. The best way to fight against crime is invest in our education.
I’m in healthcare for the last 34 years and my job is to cut the waste to the healthcare. I could cut waste in a way it would enable people to afford more healthcare coverage, the government have not done it and I will do it.
3. You are running in a district where the majority of the population is Asian and yourself and the other two Assembly candidates are Asian. Do you feel the Asian population faces certain challenges that other groups do not?
Number one is jobs. The job market is so tough right now and so many of the families lost their jobs and it makes their education harder and makes it harder for them to feed their family. The Asian community really cares about education; it’s one way for their kids to get success, but those opportunities have been really reduced because they’re cutting a lot of after school programs, a lot of teaching programs. Already they have job market difficulties and they have a tough time. The Asian community’s problems is very identical to any diversity, ethnic group: job, education and welfare and healthcare. Does anything affect Asians most? I don’t think so. I don’t know if Asians are so much different from the problems that Hispanic and the Anglos are facing. … Twelve percent of the Asian population is some type of Hepatitis B carrier. We’ve been doing free screening. If we don’t do that screening then it can become liver cancer and affect the whole family’s lives.
4. How do you think that incumbent 49th District Assemblyman Mike Eng has served during his time in office and what would you have done differently?
I do not want to comment on someone else and what he did. But I could say the assumption … I do not believe he voted to kill the redevelopment agencies in our local government. He comes from local issues. He understands what local governments needed. If he still voted against it and [it] take[s] away the only opportunity local governments have to create jobs really I cannot agree.
Editor’s Note: According to Alhambra Source, Eng supported legislation that would allow cities to continue their Redevelopment Agencies. See the story here
We need to have someone like me, who comes from local, understands the government issues [and] how to better the budget. When I stepped into San Marino city as city council, first thing I did was cut the city budget in half. Once we cut our own budget in half everybody in the city know we mean business. We are not able to waste it. I also took away the assistant city manager position. There are so managers positions; you don’t need that many people to be managers. We also merged two of the department heads—the Public Works Department and the Recreational Department heads—two were made into one. Our government can do the same. A lot of other stuff we can do is streamline the food stamp and Medi-cal eligibility process. I see a lot of waste in healthcare. I do not mind having a social welfare system effectively, but I think the best social welfare system is give them a job.
Thoughts on small business:
We need to give a tax incentive for the small businesses to help them to build their business, hire more employees. When a big company comes in and wants to hire thousands of employees what we need to do is evaluate carefully if they need some help. We call it a business incubator; once we incubate those businesses they hire 2000 to 3000 people but they make money. Our investment will pay back for 30 percent of profit, will reduce the taxpayer [amount] to pay the tax. Another thing Sacramento needs is a person with common sense like me, business experience like me who will turn California around. This is the only chance to turn California around.
5. Several cities make up the area you are running to represent. What is the one thing people tell you they need in all the cities you have visited?
City government is really hurting by taking the redevelopment agencies away. … First thing I will do is I want the redevelopment agencies fund to come back to the local cities. People worry about jobs jobs jobs. I think I cannot overstate that creating jobs is not only essential but there is an urgency here. California cannot bleed any longer; we need to relocate the business back to California. We have beautiful land, beautiful weather, beautiful people like you and me. We are ready for the jobs to relocate here.
6. Is there anything else you want to address about your candidacy?
When I worked the food line I saw a young man who was a soldier who came back twice for a year and then lost his job and his job moved to Arizona and Texas. I was thinking we need to encourage the employers. Some children lost parents or one of their parents in the war. My opinion is the soldiers, they fight for us and when they come back we should help them out. When they don’t come back we should help their widow or help their children. We have to pay our social responsibility.
What do you think of Lin's responses? What questions do you have for Lin? Share thoughts in the comments section below.