Assemblyman Kansen Chu Not Worried by Staff Turnover

As far as freshman years go, state Assemblyman Kansen Chu (D-San Jose) seems content but admits he “could have done more.” He authored just three bills that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law, including new requirements for red reflectors on bicycles, a brief extension of public benefits for grieving parents and a streamlined appeal process for the elderly living in residential care facilities. In order to make more headway next session, Chu might want to reassess how his office can better hang on to staff. Records show he lost nine staffers this year, bringing his staff total to a whopping 20. If that sounds alarming, consider the undisputed champion for the title of Sacramento’s Worst Boss, Nora Campos (D-San Jose), has had 55 staffers in five years. Chu is on pace to nearly double that amount. Previously a San Jose councilman, Chu has developed a behind-the-scenes reputation as a “yeller,” a style he may have acquired while working for former state legislators Rebecca Cohn and Elaine Alquist. It’s not all fire and brimstone, though. Chu has also earned the nickname “803tea,” due to his purported preference for requesting tea at 8:03am on the dot. There are some questions about who really runs the show in Chu’s office, as his wife, Daisy, has been an active participant throughout his political career. Tipsters say she has a looming presence and has even taken constituent meetings on her husband’s behalf. Chu begs to differ, saying Daisy has only been to Sacramento four times this year and she spends most of her days as “a stay-at-home grandma.” He attributed high turnover in his office to the fact that he is limited in what he can pay due to state restrictions. However, this isn’t the first time Fly has heard of revolving-door staffing issues for Chu. During his last year at San Jose City Hall, much of the 18th floor chatter was about how half of Chu’s staff had disappeared.

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The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

7 Comments

  1. Kansen’s tough, but he’s not crazy. I like Daisy because there’s really no facade when she has her hand stretched out for campaign donations.

    I haven’t met Rebecca personally (friends on Facebook), but I know her son very well. Seems like she’s a good mom, and was an effective leader when she was in politics. A lot of mutual friends have nothing but nice things to say about her.

    God, political reporting gets so boring when it isn’t campaign season. There’s really nothing to see here.

  2. Considering most politicians do little more than vote, if that I’d say he has been rather active for a freshman to get 3 bills past. As for yelling at the staff it’s more effective the tweeting them don’t you think?

  3. Very interesting. might want to check your facts about where Kansen got his yelling skills. I was not a yeller and I took,very good care of my staff. My son worked for Kansen and he was let go right before he was scheduled for major surgery. I have never spoken to Kansen since then. Former Assemblywoman Rebecca Cohn.

  4. Three bills passed and signed in a year. That’s three times as many as Mike Honda has had in 14 years in Congress. I guess Kansen doesn’t do a lot of karaoke.

  5. If you displease him he’ll Chu your ass ! Don’t like him,didn’t vote for him,but at least he’s a Democrat. Hopefully he’ll have to face a Democrat worthy of my support in next June’s primary & I’ll be able to vote for a more qualified candidate to represent us. I’m

    • > … but at least he’s a Democrat. Hopefully he’ll have to face a Democrat worthy of my support in next June’s primary …

      Mock:

      As a loyal, passionate, committed diversity-loving Democrat, are you at all troubled by the fact that if you want to vote for a Black, or Hispanic, or Asian, or LGBT, or Spanish speaking candidate for president, you’ll have to vote for a Republican?

      You only need to vote Democrat if you insist on voting for a Jewish candidate. But, if you vote for the Jewish candidate, aren’t you excluding all non-white candidates?

      Do you have something against non-white candidates?

  6. San Jose insider is biased here. Assembly Member Kansen is a coconscious and devout politicians while Daizy has passionately volunteered development in his office to the public. San Jose insider is looking at Kansen with jaundiced eye.