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UCSD Professor Tom Wong Announces Bid For 53rd Congressional District

Tom Wong in an undated photo.
Erik Jepsen / UC San Diego Publications
Tom Wong in an undated photo.

UC San Diego associate political science professor Tom Wong announced his intent Wednesday to seek the 53rd Congressional District seat, joining a slew of Democratic candidates running to succeed Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego.

Wong is aiming to become the first formerly undocumented Asian American and Pacific Islander member of Congress. Wong and his family emigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong when he was 2 years old and says he didn't learn he lacked legal immigration documentation until he was 16.

Wong, who served as an adviser to former President Barack Obama's White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in 2016, said he would seek to uplift the roles of science and research and champion immigration reform as a congressman.


"I'm running for Congress because I still believe in the American dream," he said. "I'm running to ensure that the opportunities that I had are available to others — from immigrants and refugees to working-class families trying to put food on their tables — who, if just given a shot, can live out their own American dreams."

Davis announced in September that she would not run for a 10th term in the 53rd District, which encompasses La Mesa, Lemon Grove, parts of El Cajon and Chula Vista and central San Diego neighborhoods such as Hillcrest, Grantville and North Park.

The field also includes San Diego City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez, U.S. Navy veteran Jose Caballero, community organizer Joaquin Vazquez, policy adviser Sara Jacobs, Marine Corps veteran Janessa Goldbeck, affordable housing and immigration advocate Marisa Calderon — all Democrats — and Republican nurse Famela Ramos.