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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
November 6, 2018 —California General Election

State of California — ” Fiona Ma, Candidate for Treasurer

Photo of Fiona Ma

Fiona Ma

Democratic
CPA/Taxpayer Representative
6,663,949 votes (63.4%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Manage/safeguard our state's assets by investing wisely in sound investments vehicles with full transparency and accountability.
  • Promote good corporate governance models and hold corporations accountable for their actions and don't gouge/take advantage of people to meet their bottom lines or to make excessive profits.
  • Continue to aggressively combat the Underground Economy to ensure everyone pays their fair share of taxes to fulfill our commitment to our retirees & provide quality/accessible education, healthcare, affordable housing to all.

Experience

Experience

Profession:CPA / State Board of Equalization Member-District
Member - District 2, California State Board of Equalization — Elected position (2014–current)
Majority Whip & Speaker Pro Tempore, California State Assembly - District 12 — Elected position (2006–2012)
Member - District 4 (Sunset District), San Francisco Board of Supervisors — Elected position (2002–2006)
Advisory Board Member, California Earthquake Authority — Appointed position (2002–2006)
Commissioner - Alternate Member, San Francisco Assessment Appeals Board — Appointed position (1994–1998)

Education

Pepperdine University Masters in Business Administration (M.B.A.), Finance (2000)
Golden Gate University Master of Science (M.S.), Taxation (1993)
Rochester Institute of Technology Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Accounting (1988)

Community Activities

Immediate Past President / Board Member, California Women Lead (2010–current)
Honorary Chair, San Francisco Hep B Free - Bay Area (2007–current)
Honorary National Co Chair / Honorary California Chair / Honorary SF Chair, New Leaders Council (2003–current)
Aspen-Rodel Fellow - Class of 2009, Aspen Institute (2009–current)
Executive Board Member / Delegate, CA Democratic Party (1995–current)

Biography

Here is the excerpt from my SF Chronicle endorsement: https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Chronicle-Recommends-Fiona-Ma-for-state-treasurer-12870656.php

 

Fiona Ma isn’t promising to do for the State Treasurer’s Office what she helped do for her current post. That would mean all but eliminating it. 

 

Since joining the Board of Equalization, Ma has seen the dysfunctional state tax panel reduced to a shadow of itself. And she says she would support a constitutional change to abolish it altogether.

          

In backing the reforms that brought the board to the brink of oblivion, the 52-year-old San Francisco Democrat showed a sense of responsibility to taxpayers that would suit the job she’s seeking. Along with her background in finance and politics, it makes her the best candidate to succeed State Treasurer John Chiang, who is running for governor.

 

A certified public accountant with master’s degrees in taxation and business administration, Ma worked for then-state Sen. John Burton before being elected to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. She went on to serve three terms in the state Assembly, where she championed legislation to ban potentially toxic chemicals from children’s products.

 

Elected to the Board of Equalization in 2014, Ma joined State Controller Betty Yee, an ex-officio member, in questioning the board’s mismanagement of funds and staff. She called for audits and ultimately Gov. Jerry Brown’s intervention, which led to legislation that shifted most of the board’s powers and staff to the governor.

 

Ma seems equipped to take more principled stands if, for example, California’s next governor lacks Brown’s penchant for fiscal responsibility.

 

Who gave money to this candidate?

Contributions

Total money raised: $2,742,828

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

1
Employees of Advanced Nutrients
$29,200
1
AFSCME California
$29,200
1
California Labor Federation
$29,200
1
Northern California Carpenters Regional Council
$29,200
1
Employees of Oakmont Senior Living
$29,200
1
SEIU Local 1000
$29,200
1
Southern California Pipe Trades District Council 16
$29,200

More information about contributions

By State:

California 91.69%
Nevada 1.52%
District of Columbia 1.08%
Texas 0.90%
Other 4.81%
91.69%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.56%)
Small contributions (0.44%)
99.56%

By Type:

From organizations (60.77%)
From individuals (39.23%)
60.77%39.23%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Fiona Ma, CPA

California Statewide Candidate Statement

 

State Treasurer:  June 5, 2018

 

CPA/Taxpayers Representative

 

My name is Fiona Ma.  I have been a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) since 1992.  I stand for greater transparency, checks & balances and accountability.  That’s why I led the major overhaul to restore trust in the State Board of Equalization.  I have balanced budgets at the local level, at the state level during the Great Recession, and have overseen the collection of $60 billion in state revenues.  As a CPA with experience in tax law and in balancing budgets I am qualified to serve as State Treasurer from Day 1 and will be able to manage California’s investments with full accountability and transparency.  I will create a robust first-time homebuyer program to make housing more accessible to all Californians.  I will work to alleviate high student loan debt.  I was born with a preexisting health condition and personally understand the urgent need for quality, accessible and affordable healthcare.  Because my husband is a firefighter I know first-hand how important it is to invest in our first responders.  As State Treasurer, I will oversee investments in affordable housing, infrastructure, schools, hospitals, environmental protection and transportation.  Most importantly I will continue to safeguard our tax dollars, invest wisely to ensure positive returns and make sure government works with accountability and transparency.  I’m proud to have the support of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, California Teachers Association, California Professional Firefighters and California Small Business Association.  I would be honored to have your vote.   Thank you for your consideration. To learn more, visit www.FionaMa.com.  

Every Voice Matters: It Could Have Been Me or My Mother or My Grandmother.

Summary

My last two bills signed by Gov Brown were the most heart wrenching and difficult ones I sponsored but today 100+ women are free.  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/every-voice-matters-domestic-violence-prevention_us_59cecec6e4b034ae778d4a8a

“He was my knight in shining armor…He was the most excitement I ever had in my life…And it all started with a slap and being thrown across the room like I was nobody…All I wanted to do was to protect myself and it cost me life in prison.” I heard the screams, pictured the horror, and felt the terror these women experienced as I watched their stories unfold in the Sin by Silence documentary by Olivia Klaus; a passionate movie describing the plight of incarcerated battered women throughout California. Brenda Clubine, who starred in the movie and was the survivor that created the support group for the women in jail, and producer Olivia Klaus approached me about her plight and of the others still in jail. They introduced the documentary that started me down the road towards justice for these women. This was not an episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” or “Big Little Lies,” these stories are horrifyingly true and these women survived being battered and abused, only to be put into prison for defending themselves. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 32.9% of women and 27.3% of men in California experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes. The emotional journey I experienced while watching the “Sin by Silence” documentary inspired me to help other survivors by introducing AB 593 and AB 1593, my “Sin by Silence” bills. At the time, I was the Chair of the Select Committee to End Domestic Violence and the first Asian-American woman Assembly Speaker pro Tempore in California history, so I was in a position where I could be a voice through legislation to try to help these domestic violence survivors. AB 593 allows victims of domestic violence, whose expert testimony was limited at their trial court proceedings, to re-file for a writ of habeas corpus to allow this expert testimony to weigh in on their defense. It also gave survivors more time to receive legal representation. AB 1593 allows survivors who have suffered Intimate Partner Battering (IPB) a chance to present their evidence in an effective way during the parole process by giving great weight to any information or evidence that proves the prisoner experienced IPB and its effects at the time the crime was committed, and that the information that is submitted to the Legislature is specific and detailed.

Ultimately, I spent most of 2011 and 2012 fighting for the rights of these survivors. I attended emotional, heart-wrenching parole hearings; I hosted informational hearings to understand the issues and challenges faced by domestic violence survivors, and I spoke to the women and heard their stories first-hand. On this five year anniversary of the bills’ passage into law, I’m proud to say two other states, Oregon and New York, are focusing on similar legislation. I remember Glenda Virgil who, in 2013, was the first woman from the film to be released as a result of my bills. I was able to give a voice to the voiceless and give these women a fighting chance for justice. It was the right thing to do.

SIN BY SILENCE August 21, 2012 - Board Member Fiona Ma, then Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore, with Brenda Clubine and other supporters of the “Sin by Silence” legislation.  

nfortunately, not everyone is a survivor. Each year, my office hosts a Silent Witness display as part of the Silent Witness National Initiative, to remember the victims that lost their lives at the hands of domestic violence. These displays remind us of the sobering statistics that, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), nearly one-third of all women murdered in the United States in recent years were murdered by a current or former intimate partner. In 2010, 1,017 women – more than three a day – were killed by their intimate partners. Every year when I see these displays, I am reminded of Claire Tempongko who was brutally murdered in front of her two young children by an ex-boyfriend who had been arrested on five prior felony counts, but was nonetheless released. I remember when I was on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and I vigorously led the effort to finish the Justice Information Tracking System (JUSTIS) to connect the different San Francisco law enforcement agencies so information could be shared to document the pattern of abuses.

A survivor’s safety and well-being is most at risk during episodes of violence, and when attempting to leave an abuser. Domestic violence shelters are a key part of safety planning to prepare ahead of time and to be as protected as possible once that decision is made to escape an abusive relationship. During my six year tenure in the Legislature, I heard several stories about how California domestic violence shelters were forced to turn away women and children due to a lack of funding. In 2013, NNEDV conducted a 24-hour survey of domestic violence programs across the nation and reported that 66,581 adults and children had found refuge and assistance; however an additional 9,641 requests for services were unanswered because of a lack of resources. Each one of those unmet requests is another lost opportunity to break the cycle of violence. Last year, Governor Brown signed AB 1399 (Baker), which created a checkoff box on California personal income tax return forms to allow Californians to donate to the newly created Domestic Violence Victims Fund. Domestic violence shelters will be able to apply for a grant from the new fund, administered by the California Office of Emergency Services, to help provide critical assistance to victims. From January to August of 2017, the fund had more than $130,000 in contributions.

October 17, 2016 – Executive Director of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium Beverly Upton, members of the Filipina women’s Network, San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang, Board Member Fiona Ma, Assemblymember David Chiu, and community activist Debra Walker stand with the Silent Witness display.

We have to continue to speak out. Raise awareness. Break the cycle of silence. On October 4th, I’m hosting an event in San Francisco to help Willpowered Woman, a nonprofit that assists women affected by intimate partner abuse, and also educates students about prevention. Speaking with me is Crystal Wheeler, Executive Director of Every 9 Seconds, a nonprofit organization for abused women, founded by her former cellmate and fellow survivor, Brenda Clubine. Crystal was choked, beaten, tormented, and isolated by a violent husband who forced her to quit her job as a training law enforcement officer. One night she fatally fought back, which lead to her serving 22 years in prison, simply for defending herself. After spending time in prison, Crystal was aided by my “Sin by Silence” bills, allowing her to finally get the justice she deserved.

Every voice matters. Shout out into the silence and make your voice heard. Shows like “Big Little Lies” and “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” help bring awareness into the public eye, but you can help too. October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” and you can make a difference. Donate to, or volunteer at a domestic violence shelter. Help a survivor. Wear purple to raise awareness for domestic violence prevention. Help turn California purple and break the cycle of silence. The chance you offer a survivor might be their last.

A vital resource for someone experiencing domestic violence is the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Highly trained advocates are available 24/7 to talk confidentially at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

#CATurnsPurple #DVAM2017 #SinBySilence #PreventDomesticViolence

     

Golden Gate University: Profiles in Prominence 2010: FIONA MA, THE DUTIFUL DAUGHTER

Summary

This story was written by Tasia Neeve, Director of Marketing and Communications at Golden Gate University on May 24, 2010.  This article has been edited to meet the 2,000 word limit. 

 

 

Born in New York in 1966 Fiona Ma and spent much of her life before politics as a self-proclaimed “dutiful daughter” in a Chinese American household.

 

Growing up, she was a tomboy, interested in sports, Girl Scouts and academics. Fiona was concurrently captain of the basketball, volleyball, tennis and softball teams in high-school while maintaining straight A’s. After speaking with her, even briefly, you get the impression that she doesn’t like to lose at anythingand rarely does.

 

 A product of New York public schools, she attended Baker Elementary and Great Neck North Middle and High schools. Education was highly prized in the Ma household. “Dad always told us school is the number-one equalizer; knowledge is the gateway to success and with proper preparation and diligence, the sky is only the stepping stone,” she recalls. As a result the family is highly accomplished academically. “It’s true that education is the one thing no one can take away.”

 

Her father was a mechanical engineer with a bachelor’s degree from Canada, a master’s degree from National College, London, England and a PhD. From the University of Glasgow, Scotland.  After entering the business world in New York, he realized that he needed more knowledge in running successful business enterprises, so when Fiona was six year old, he went back to Columbia University and earned a MBA.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer by trade. 

 

He founded or co-founded six companies and holds four patents on mechanical devices in solid waste compaction.  He was President and Chairman of the Board of a public company and later specialized in construction claims and litigation before his recent retirement.

 

Her mother had both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in fine arts education from the City University in New York City and taught art at a public high school for 20 years before moving the family to San Francisco to be closer to her parents.

 

When counseling his children on their education and eventual careers, Fiona’s father encouraged an “honorable” profession–one that fit “the LEAD” (Doctor, Engineer, Accountant, Lawyer). Ever the dutiful daughter, Fiona received a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Rochester Institute of Technology with a listing in the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges in 1988 honoring the nation’s most noteworthy graduates of high learning, a master’s degree in taxation from Golden Gate University, a MBA from Pepperdine University and her CPA license to practice. Her younger brother Mike says that Fiona’s role in the family is as a “trailblazer” who always leads by example. 

 

In 1993 she was at Ernst and Young–one of the “big six” accounting firms at the time–and while she hadn’t yet hit the glass ceiling, she saw it looming. There were no female partners and few female managers. She decided it probably wasn’t going to be a good place to seek her future and decided to leave.

 

She and an associate started their own accounting practice. A scary prospect for some, but Fiona was influenced by her father’s entrepreneurial spirit and her parents’ encouragement growing up to “go for it” no matter what. In 1994 she was elected president of the Asian Business Association and found herself at San Francisco City Hall and at the state capitol in Sacramento lobbying for business issues that affected women and minorities.

 

Had she always dreamed of being a politician? Not even close. “I was exposed to the political process about once a year when my dad forced us to watch the presidential State of the Union address. I thought it was so boring!”

 

As a result of her work on behalf of the Small Business Association, she was elected in 1995 as a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business under President Bill Clinton. As her interaction with Washington, D.C. and lawmakers increased at a national level, she began to believe in the importance of government and its ability to create positive change. Fiona’s advocacy work in that role helped lead to socially responsible contracting for minorities and women in San Francisco. She saw firsthand how, through politics, she could make a contribution to the community and help people. She was hooked.

 

Fiona also applied for and was appointed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to the Assessment Appeals Board and began to understand what she had to offer the world of politics. 

 

That year Fiona embarked on her public-service career as a part-time district representative for then-State Senator John Burton. When considering the job, she found herself again pulled between duty and aspiration: to continue to please her parents or to follow what her heart had begun to tell her was a life-long passion–her calling. After some negotiation with her parents, who most certainly had not dreamed of having their first-born daughter become an American politician, a compromise was struck. She would continue to practice as a CPA and work part-time for Senator Burton. For the next seven years she served on the senator’s staff about two-and-a-half days a week. Her task was to help constituents with Medi-Cal, Workers’ Compensation, Unemployment Insurance, Franchise and Employment Development Department taxes, and professional licensing. A funny thing happened during her “part-time” work though, and she found herself spending virtually all her free time campaigning, researching and otherwise working in politics.

 

It was time to enter the political arena as a career; and at thirty-four, her parents were ready to let her go. In 2002 Fiona Ma was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and from 2002 to 2006 represented District 4, which encompasses the Central Sunset, Outer Sunset, Parkside, Outer Parkside and Pine Lake Park. “My parents always said ‘go ahead, give it a try’ about everything while we were growing up and then made us feel good about the attempt, regardless of the outcome. Entering politics full-time wasn’t scary for me. Failure never occurred to me. I’m sure that was an advantage.”

 

Starting with her small-business advocacy and continuing in her service on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, a pattern of giving voice to those without, creating equality where none exists, improving the human condition, and standing up for what she believes to be right, emerged in the politics of Fiona Ma. As a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors her major legislative push was to shut down massage parlors that were involved in illegal trafficking of immigrants for purposes of prostitution. Following the passage of Proposition 209, which barred public institutions from considering sex, race or ethnicity, she led the effort to create San Francisco’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, which enables small businesses to more easily participate in public-works projects. As a direct result of her work, the San Francisco Public Transportation Authority now states: “The Authority and its employees shall not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability in the award and performance of Authority contracts.” This measure broadens the scope of inclusion, leveling an important playing field for small businesses in San Francisco.

 

What Fiona considers one of her most important legislative wins–something she hopes will become part of her lifetime legacy–is helping to protect the nation’s toddlers from toxic toys. The years-long effort, which culminated in federal law enacted in 2009, bans phthalates, which are known to be harmful to human health. It started with Fiona Ma in San Francisco City Hall.

 

She watched as a member of the California State Assembly tried, and failed, to pass a bill that would have prevented these chemicals from being used in the state. Fiona explains that she knew the San Francisco Board of Supervisors with their guideline to err on the conservative side where detriment to human health is concerned, would have no problem passing what was an obviously needed piece of legislation. She decided to start at the local level and then to use that as leverage, putting pressure on the statehouse. Ordinance Number 060107 amended the San Francisco Health Code to “prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution in commerce of any toy or child-care article that is intended for use by a child under three years of age if it contains bisphenol-A or other specified chemicals, and to require manufacturers to use the least toxic alternative to those substances.” As Fiona had predicted, the ordinance passed the San Francisco Board of Supervisors easily. The next step would be at the statewide level. As it happened, Fiona Ma would be the one to shepherd it through.

 

In November 2006, Fiona got elected to the California State Assembly District 12, which includes San Francisco, Daly City, Colma and Broadmoor—some 420,000 constituents. She was appointed the Majority Whip, making her responsible for marshalling votes to ensure the passage of crucial legislation to improve public education, expand healthcare access and protect the environment.

 

During her first year in office she introduced what came to be known as the “Rubber Duck” bill, so named because the phthalates are often used in the manufacture of soft plastic toys and other baby products such as bath books, rubber ducks, and baby teethers. AB 1108 virtually mirrored the San Francisco ordinance she’d sponsored four years earlier. At the time she said, “California continues to lead the nation in protecting children from dangerous chemicals and in safeguarding our environment. AB 1108 sends a clear message to the Consumer Product Safety Commission that if the administration won’t act, states will.” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law in October 2007; it took effect on January 1, 2009. Other states followed suit, and act, the administration ultimately did.

 

In March 2008, Fiona Ma’s bill was used as a model in federal legislation when California Senator Dianne Feinstein wrapped a ban on phthalates into the U.S. Senate version of a Consumer Product Safety Commission bill that Congress passed in February 2009 and which went into effect the following August. As Fiona observes, “Banning phthalates across the whole country and helping keep kids healthy. That’s pretty good work, right?”

 

 

And that brings us to number three on her “legacy list.” At the age of twenty-two, Ma learned she has hepatitis B (HBV), a virus that causes 80 percent of all liver cancer if left untreated and one that shows no symptoms until it’s almost too late. Almost 1.4 million Americans are infected with HBV, and more than half are Asian/Pacific Islander Americans. An estimated one in ten is chronically infected with the virus. Like most Asian Americans, Ma contracted the disease from her mother at birth via perinatal exposure. San Francisco has the highest rate of liver cancer in the nation because of its high Asian population, and HBV-related liver cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among API men living in California. In true Fiona fashion, she decided to tackle the issue head-on and call as much attention to it as possible—a big jolt to a community that had attached such stigma to the illness it was considered best to keep it quiet.

 

As the “poster child” in the fight against hepatitis B, Ma serves as unofficial chairperson for San Francisco Hep B Free– the largest, most intensive healthcare campaign for APIs in the U.S. and one that is looked upon as a model for the nation in eliminating HBV. "How amazing would it be to help eradicate a disease?” she asks. Amazing indeed.

 

 

 

 

Fiona loves what she does–and for the foreseeable future she wants to keep on doing it. Oh, and her advice? “Don’t waste time being something someone else wants you to be–listen to your heart.” The duty is necessary, the passion wins. 

 

 

Golden Gate University: Profiles in Prominence 2010: FIONA MA, THE DUTIFUL DAUGHTER

Summary

This story was written by Tasia Neeve, Director of Marketing and Communications at Golden Gate University on May 24, 2010.  This article has been edited to meet the 2,000 word limit. 

 

 

Born in New York in 1966 Fiona Ma and spent much of her life before politics as a self-proclaimed “dutiful daughter” in a Chinese American household.

 

Growing up, she was a tomboy, interested in sports, Girl Scouts and academics. Fiona was concurrently captain of the basketball, volleyball, tennis and softball teams in high-school while maintaining straight A’s. After speaking with her, even briefly, you get the impression that she doesn’t like to lose at anythingand rarely does.

 

 A product of New York public schools, she attended Baker Elementary and Great Neck North Middle and High schools. Education was highly prized in the Ma household. “Dad always told us school is the number-one equalizer; knowledge is the gateway to success and with proper preparation and diligence, the sky is only the stepping stone,” she recalls. As a result the family is highly accomplished academically. “It’s true that education is the one thing no one can take away.”

 

Her father was a mechanical engineer with a bachelor’s degree from Canada, a master’s degree from National College, London, England and a PhD. From the University of Glasgow, Scotland.  After entering the business world in New York, he realized that he needed more knowledge in running successful business enterprises, so when Fiona was six year old, he went back to Columbia University and earned a MBA.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer by trade. 

 

He founded or co-founded six companies and holds four patents on mechanical devices in solid waste compaction.  He was President and Chairman of the Board of a public company and later specialized in construction claims and litigation before his recent retirement.

 

Her mother had both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in fine arts education from the City University in New York City and taught art at a public high school for 20 years before moving the family to San Francisco to be closer to her parents.

 

When counseling his children on their education and eventual careers, Fiona’s father encouraged an “honorable” profession–one that fit “the LEAD” (Doctor, Engineer, Accountant, Lawyer). Ever the dutiful daughter, Fiona received a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Rochester Institute of Technology with a listing in the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges in 1988 honoring the nation’s most noteworthy graduates of high learning, a master’s degree in taxation from Golden Gate University, a MBA from Pepperdine University and her CPA license to practice. Her younger brother Mike says that Fiona’s role in the family is as a “trailblazer” who always leads by example. 

 

In 1993 she was at Ernst and Young–one of the “big six” accounting firms at the time–and while she hadn’t yet hit the glass ceiling, she saw it looming. There were no female partners and few female managers. She decided it probably wasn’t going to be a good place to seek her future and decided to leave.

 

She and an associate started their own accounting practice. A scary prospect for some, but Fiona was influenced by her father’s entrepreneurial spirit and her parents’ encouragement growing up to “go for it” no matter what. In 1994 she was elected president of the Asian Business Association and found herself at San Francisco City Hall and at the state capitol in Sacramento lobbying for business issues that affected women and minorities.

 

Had she always dreamed of being a politician? Not even close. “I was exposed to the political process about once a year when my dad forced us to watch the presidential State of the Union address. I thought it was so boring!”

 

As a result of her work on behalf of the Small Business Association, she was elected in 1995 as a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business under President Bill Clinton. As her interaction with Washington, D.C. and lawmakers increased at a national level, she began to believe in the importance of government and its ability to create positive change. Fiona’s advocacy work in that role helped lead to socially responsible contracting for minorities and women in San Francisco. She saw firsthand how, through politics, she could make a contribution to the community and help people. She was hooked.

 

Fiona also applied for and was appointed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to the Assessment Appeals Board and began to understand what she had to offer the world of politics. 

 

That year Fiona embarked on her public-service career as a part-time district representative for then-State Senator John Burton. When considering the job, she found herself again pulled between duty and aspiration: to continue to please her parents or to follow what her heart had begun to tell her was a life-long passion–her calling. After some negotiation with her parents, who most certainly had not dreamed of having their first-born daughter become an American politician, a compromise was struck. She would continue to practice as a CPA and work part-time for Senator Burton. For the next seven years she served on the senator’s staff about two-and-a-half days a week. Her task was to help constituents with Medi-Cal, Workers’ Compensation, Unemployment Insurance, Franchise and Employment Development Department taxes, and professional licensing. A funny thing happened during her “part-time” work though, and she found herself spending virtually all her free time campaigning, researching and otherwise working in politics.

 

It was time to enter the political arena as a career; and at thirty-four, her parents were ready to let her go. In 2002 Fiona Ma was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and from 2002 to 2006 represented District 4, which encompasses the Central Sunset, Outer Sunset, Parkside, Outer Parkside and Pine Lake Park. “My parents always said ‘go ahead, give it a try’ about everything while we were growing up and then made us feel good about the attempt, regardless of the outcome. Entering politics full-time wasn’t scary for me. Failure never occurred to me. I’m sure that was an advantage.”

 

Starting with her small-business advocacy and continuing in her service on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, a pattern of giving voice to those without, creating equality where none exists, improving the human condition, and standing up for what she believes to be right, emerged in the politics of Fiona Ma. As a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors her major legislative push was to shut down massage parlors that were involved in illegal trafficking of immigrants for purposes of prostitution. Following the passage of Proposition 209, which barred public institutions from considering sex, race or ethnicity, she led the effort to create San Francisco’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, which enables small businesses to more easily participate in public-works projects. As a direct result of her work, the San Francisco Public Transportation Authority now states: “The Authority and its employees shall not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability in the award and performance of Authority contracts.” This measure broadens the scope of inclusion, leveling an important playing field for small businesses in San Francisco.

 

What Fiona considers one of her most important legislative wins–something she hopes will become part of her lifetime legacy–is helping to protect the nation’s toddlers from toxic toys. The years-long effort, which culminated in federal law enacted in 2009, bans phthalates, which are known to be harmful to human health. It started with Fiona Ma in San Francisco City Hall.

 

She watched as a member of the California State Assembly tried, and failed, to pass a bill that would have prevented these chemicals from being used in the state. Fiona explains that she knew the San Francisco Board of Supervisors with their guideline to err on the conservative side where detriment to human health is concerned, would have no problem passing what was an obviously needed piece of legislation. She decided to start at the local level and then to use that as leverage, putting pressure on the statehouse. Ordinance Number 060107 amended the San Francisco Health Code to “prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution in commerce of any toy or child-care article that is intended for use by a child under three years of age if it contains bisphenol-A or other specified chemicals, and to require manufacturers to use the least toxic alternative to those substances.” As Fiona had predicted, the ordinance passed the San Francisco Board of Supervisors easily. The next step would be at the statewide level. As it happened, Fiona Ma would be the one to shepherd it through.

 

In November 2006, Fiona got elected to the California State Assembly District 12, which includes San Francisco, Daly City, Colma and Broadmoor—some 420,000 constituents. She was appointed the Majority Whip, making her responsible for marshalling votes to ensure the passage of crucial legislation to improve public education, expand healthcare access and protect the environment.

 

During her first year in office she introduced what came to be known as the “Rubber Duck” bill, so named because the phthalates are often used in the manufacture of soft plastic toys and other baby products such as bath books, rubber ducks, and baby teethers. AB 1108 virtually mirrored the San Francisco ordinance she’d sponsored four years earlier. At the time she said, “California continues to lead the nation in protecting children from dangerous chemicals and in safeguarding our environment. AB 1108 sends a clear message to the Consumer Product Safety Commission that if the administration won’t act, states will.” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law in October 2007; it took effect on January 1, 2009. Other states followed suit, and act, the administration ultimately did.

 

In March 2008, Fiona Ma’s bill was used as a model in federal legislation when California Senator Dianne Feinstein wrapped a ban on phthalates into the U.S. Senate version of a Consumer Product Safety Commission bill that Congress passed in February 2009 and which went into effect the following August. As Fiona observes, “Banning phthalates across the whole country and helping keep kids healthy. That’s pretty good work, right?”

 

 

And that brings us to number three on her “legacy list.” At the age of twenty-two, Ma learned she has hepatitis B (HBV), a virus that causes 80 percent of all liver cancer if left untreated and one that shows no symptoms until it’s almost too late. Almost 1.4 million Americans are infected with HBV, and more than half are Asian/Pacific Islander Americans. An estimated one in ten is chronically infected with the virus. Like most Asian Americans, Ma contracted the disease from her mother at birth via perinatal exposure. San Francisco has the highest rate of liver cancer in the nation because of its high Asian population, and HBV-related liver cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among API men living in California. In true Fiona fashion, she decided to tackle the issue head-on and call as much attention to it as possible—a big jolt to a community that had attached such stigma to the illness it was considered best to keep it quiet.

 

As the “poster child” in the fight against hepatitis B, Ma serves as unofficial chairperson for San Francisco Hep B Free– the largest, most intensive healthcare campaign for APIs in the U.S. and one that is looked upon as a model for the nation in eliminating HBV. "How amazing would it be to help eradicate a disease?” she asks. Amazing indeed.

 

 

 

 

Fiona loves what she does–and for the foreseeable future she wants to keep on doing it. Oh, and her advice? “Don’t waste time being something someone else wants you to be–listen to your heart.” The duty is necessary, the passion wins. 

 

 

Videos (2)

— May 25, 2018 Fiona Ma for Treasurer 2018

Fiona Ma CPA, Running for CA State Treasurer: Goes beyond dollars and cents...it's the people who count; will ensure the budget is balanced and accountable so we can invest in the people of CA. 

— May 25, 2018 Fiona Ma for State Treasurer 2018

Why Fiona Ma, CPA is running for State Treasurer and what she wants to accomplish.

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