Ted Lieu’s family immigrated to America when Ted was three years old. His parents were looking for a better life and more opportunity for their children. They grew up poor, spoke limited English, and lived in the basement of someone’s home. Ted would accompany his parents to sell gifts at flea markets to make ends meet. Through hard work, saving money, and perseverance, Ted’s family was able to open a gift store in a shopping center. Eventually their family business expanded to include multiple gift stores.
With the support of hard-working parents and a country that provides limitless opportunity, Ted went on to attend Stanford University where he received undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Political Science and was a member of Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity. He received his law degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the law review. Ted also received four American Jurisprudence Awards.
Ted is so grateful he and his family had the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. His upbringing inspired him to give back to his Country by joining the United States Air Force on active duty, where he served both domestically in the United States and abroad for four years. Ted continues to serve his country in the Air Force reserves where he is a Lieutenant Colonel. Ted has received numerous medals for his outstanding military service, including two Meritorious Service Medals. When he was on active duty at Andersen AFB in Guam, he participated in Operation PACIFIC HAVEN, which airlifted thousands of Kurds out of northern Iraq and brought them to Guam before Saddam Hussein could roll in and attack them. Ted served as Chief of Operations Law for the 36th Air Base Wing and received the Air Force Humanitarian Service Medal for his efforts in Operation PACIFIC HAVEN.
Ted’s service at Los Angeles Air Force base in the district is what brought him to Southern California. Professionally, Ted clerked on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, practiced civil law at Munger, Tolles & Olson, and then worked in the private sector. During his private sector years, Ted served on the Rampart Independent Review Panel, the Torrance Environmental Quality and Energy Conservation Commission, and was later elected to the Torrance City Council in 2002.
In 2005, after over three years of service on the Torrance City Council, Ted was encouraged to run to fill the vacant 53rd Assembly seat. He was overwhelmingly elected in a special election, defeating several opponents. He served the 53rd Assembly district until 2010. In the Assembly, Ted chaired the Assembly Rules Committee, the Banking and Finance Committee, and sat on the Governmental Organization Committee, Judiciary Committee, Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee, and Veterans Affairs Committee. Ted was also Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus and Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Aerospace.
In February of 2011, Ted was once again encouraged to run when the 28th Senate District seat became vacant. He fought in a contentious race against seven other candidates, and once again came out on top in a crowded field. In the State Senate, Ted is Chair of the Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee, Chair of the Select Committee on Air Quality, and Chair of the Joint Committee on Arts.
Ted has authored several first-in-the-nation landmark laws in the State Legislature. For example, he wrote SB 1172, a ban on gay conversion ‘therapy’ that received national attention and now is being used as a model in numerous other states. After Wall Street’s failures, Ted as an Assembly member authored first-in-the-nation legislation to reform the subprime mortgage market and reduce foreclosures. He also coauthored and help champion AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act.
In the Senate, Ted has authored legislation to address climate changes issues (SB 1066), help victims’ collect restitution (SB 1210), prevent animal cruelty (SB 1500), protect victims of corporate fraud (SB 1058), restrict the disruption of funerals by protesters (SB 661), and increase penalties on sex offenders who cut off their GPS monitoring devices. In 2011, he sponsored laws that helped create jobs, save taxpayer dollars, and protect children by banning anyone under 18 from using cancer-causing tanning beds.
In recognition of his hard work, Governing Magazine, a national publication on policy and governance, named Ted one of the 12 top lawmakers in the nation as ‘worth watching’ in both 2010 and 2011.
Ted and his wife Betty, a former California Deputy Attorney General, are longtime residents in the congressional district. Their two sons Brennan and Austin attend public school in the district.