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Kevin Kiley, Republican, Trump-endorsed congressional candidate projected to win district 3.

In the 2021 Gavin Newsom recall campaign, Kiley said: “Whoever shows that they would do the opposite of what Gavin Newsom has done….I think that’s the person that voters will ultimately choose.” In 2022, the representative for California's 3rd congressional district is under contention he is the current front runner, boasting a legacy of drafting legislation that doesn’t get passed, an endorsement from former President Trump, and the self-imposed title of the most anti-Newsom candidate. He has a point: Californian public school education is ineffectual. But he's running for national Congress?

Illustrated by Madison Chun

By Faith Qiao, Daniel Gong

 
"My Story, the story of how I've been there and done that, and how I don't wish to be ousted" — Faith Qiao, 2022

Kevin Kiley. You might have heard of him from Gavin Newsom’s recall election or his 2022 bid for National Congress, but we heard of him via a cold-calling campaign flyer that made its way into an IvyMax group chat.

IvyMax is a California rich-cities-based college counseling organization with a specific vendetta against California public schools, Gavin Newsom, and god-forbid the teacher's union who, according to the Co-Founder Mr. Wei, "controls public schools in California . . . demanding more pay for sub-par education."


What’s interesting is the fact that Kiley has little to do with IvyMax’s audience of Chinese-American students who primarily live in the Bay Area and Orange County. But even beyond his locality of representation, he's running for national congress where legislation no longer focuses on the specific state. And according to Mr. Wei himself, "the UCs are so leftist, its best to avoid any topics of contention in your extracurricular record." In other words, Kiley entering the United States House of Representatives cannot tear down the goddamned teacher's union and having IvyMax's students join in on the effort will not serve to boost the organization's prestige. So why?


We took the liberty to investigate this question and contacted the person who sent out the flyer into the group chat. She referred us to the advisor of the "Youth Public Service Institute," an IvyMax affiliated student club, where we were redirected to join in on the campaign. And as the ardent investigator I am, I joined. Keep this a secret between us, but here is the training video.


For a brief summary, students are encouraged to make as many cold-calls as possible and rewarded for making it to the top 3 callers while earning service hours for their participation. The goal of this campaign, presumably, is to push Kiley over the line to become the Republican nominee for district three and he, indeed, became the nominee after the June 7th primaries.


In the orientation, Mr. Wei said that this phone-banking activity is a great opportunity for "personal growth" and that we need "better people representing on different levels of our government" in reference to Kiley himself. Other than this statement, the administration has not released any other information on this unexpected partnership. So, our investigation turned to Kiley himself.


"The son of a Special Education teacher, Kevin began his career as a high school teacher in inner-city Los Angeles, where he chaired the English Department and led his students to significant academic gains." — Kevin Kiley, C03

The now 37 year-old Congressional aspirer grew up in Sacramento. His father was a physician and his mother was a special education teacher to which he uses to boost his record as a teacher. Kiley attended local public schools where he graduated Granite Bay High School as valedictorian. He went on to obtain an undergraduate degree in Harvard and then a masters in secondary education from Loyola Marymount University while teaching at Manual Arts High School, a public school located in LA. After two years of teaching, he then went on to pursue a law degree at Yale and became a lawyer going on to defend the U.S. Constitution by prosecuting the chinese tech company, Huawei, for intellectual property theft. He would go on to become the Deputy Attorney General moving him along the path of politics.


In 2016, Kiley took his first political office when he was elected as a member of the California State Assembly representing District 6, where he has since been re-elected 3 times. As the vice chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, Kiley was very vocal against the K-12 CRT curriculum, COVID-19 mandates, and sex ed, and says he will continue to be even after his removal from the position. However, Kiley has also had a very controversial opinion which he was very vocal about regarding opening schools in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Since schools were closed down, he made numerous tweets condemning their closure, at one point even saying that “The Legislature cannot adjourn for the year until California kids are back in school. Period.” According to Kiley, “All of that did not go over well with the leaders of the legislator and the governor,” and he attributes this idea to his resignation from the position.


During his six years as an assembly member, Kiley has authored and sponsored a number of bills and resolutions. Resolutions he sponsored and that were successfully passed typically held low impact and were primarily related to various awareness days/weeks/months such as Women’s History Month and Kimchi Day to name a few while the bills he sponsored or authored were often rejected.


On twitter, Kiley touted his achievements saying that he’s “introduced bills to expand parental choice for kids, to stop sexual harassment in our schools, to provide mental health services to kids.” The key word is “introduced” as none of these bills were passed.


Most recently, Kiley ran against Governor Gavin Newsom during the recall election in 2021. For the entirety of his political career, he has been a vocal advocate against Newsom and eventually became a frontrunner in the recall election labeling himself as the most Anti-Newsom candidate. “My number one goal is for the recall to be successful,” and “I do not think it is productive to draw contrasts with other replacement candidates, my focus is entirely on drawing contrasts with Gavin Newsom.” In response to the question about how he is different from other candidates, Kiley says “whoever shows that they would do the opposite of what Gavin Newsom has done….I think that’s the person that voters will ultimately choose.” Although Newsom’s recall ultimately did not go through, Kevin Kiley ended up with the sixth most votes as a replacement candidate, with 3.5% of the votes.


This fierce hatred for Newsom is what likely earned him the endorsement from the Former President Donald Trump. As in Trump's endorsement message he said, "No one has fought Gavin Newsom harder than Kevin."

Now here's the interesting part. The IvyMax community of affluent Chinese American families had been inflamed by a particular bill that'd allow the UCs to enact affirmative action. Since then, the community has been fiercely against the Democratic party in California. IvyMax, during this particular time of business trifles, hosted many Friday meetings to inform and invigorate their audience of parents. And when it came time to recall Newsom, the same community arose with the same fervor to take him down.


So number one, we know how IvyMax is justifying the endorsement to their students. And number two, we have a better idea as to why they believe that Kiley fits the definition of "better people representing on different levels of our government." But there's still one more thing: Education.


“We’ve seen that the education establishment in California is unwilling to serve students, and so I think we need a paradigmatic shift.” — Kevin Kiley, 70 minute

What is this paradigmatic shift? It based on the idea that "California’s public school system is broken, teachers’ unions are to blame and the best solution is to give parents more choice." Sounds familiar?


His vision for the California education system involves “empowering parents to take the education dollars that are allowed to their child and use them as they see fit,” giving parents the choice"as to where they send their child to school," and enhancing "education in an evidence-based way."


To this end, there is already a program that gives families the option to transfer to different school districts. It is called the district of choice program with the restrictions being that individual districts must indicate their participation in the program. So the option exists albeit only 49 schools out of California's 10,505 public schools are open to transfer students. The obvious issue is the practicality of such an initiative when it comes to balancing the distance from home to school and the fact that schools with higher performance would immediately be flooded leaving underfunded schools empty and eventually isolating students who are unable to travel. In other words, counter intuitive.


But there is still the genuine concern of underperforming schools. To this end, in 2010, the Obama administration passed the Race to the Top package of bills which allows students attending the bottom 1,000 schools to transfer to a better school district. However, in the multiple bids for funding, California hasn't made qualified to receive the grant. This is because the state has not, since the act passed in 2010, "created comprehensive plans to transform early learning systems for children . . . with better coordination and assessment mechanisms, clearer learning standards, and meaningful workforce development and family engagement initiatives."In fact, in the 2017 bid, California only made it 16th place despite the state having the largest primary school education system.


Can I get a round of applause?

"I've been leading the fight against Newsom's same oppressive policies that limit our freedoms. I've been proud to lead the fight to suspend the gas tax. I'll fight to end early release and to hold criminals accountable." — Kevin Kiley, "Fighter"

His voting history as an assemblyman certainly supports this claim. He has voted no on almost all proposed bills. Most of Kiley’s views align with classic Republican values, such as disapproval of tax increases, immigration, and support of relaxing regulations to give people their freedom.


In a tweet following a mass shooting in Sacramento, Kiley says “President Biden is using the tragedy in our community to push a political agenda while the killers are still at large and the facts are not known. What we do know is California has the strictest gun laws in the nation and crime of all kinds continues to rise.” Through this, voters can infer that Kiley believes that gun control is not the root issue of the issue, but Kiley never offers his solutions to this problem.


The lack of explanation for his voting history leaves many potential supporters in the dark, confused about whether he has a personal agenda against gun laws or if he has voted that way because that is what most republican supporters agree on. In a following tweet on April 3, 2022, he says “I am praying for the victims, their families, our law enforcement, and everyone affected by this morning's horrific mass murder in Sacramento,” and nearly all the comments are criticizing his lack of effort on gun control and asking just what exactly he is doing to prevent this. Well, he has voted no on many of California's attempts to pass gun control legislation.


This isn't limited to gun control. Kiley also votes against many other policies without public explanation, with a few notable ones being civil rights and LGBTQ rights. For instance, Kiley said voted no on SB 179, which would have recognized non-binary as an official gender, and AB 2542, which prohibits racial discrimination in criminal courts. Since Kiley has been elected to office, he has either not voted or voted against all proposed civil rights bills and LGBTQ rights bills.


On the topic of climate change, Kiley has vocally acknowledged it as a pressing issue. For example, he supports government funding for clean energy solutions, which can be seen from some of his tweets praising CA Green New Deal and his vote in favor of AB970 that reduces obstacles to electric vehicle infrastructure. Yet despite his support for the development of clean energy, he still stands strong in his belief of the freedom of the people and dislike of regulations as he disapproves of regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.


Kiley's vision for California also involves cancelling the High-Speed Rail project in favor of other technologies. He has said that the “High-Speed Rail has been a failure all around, but most of all a failure of imagination.” Construction started in 2015 and is expected to be finished in 2030, although it is likely there will be delays further pushing this date even further back. The projected budget is a whopping $105 billion, more than double the amount it was first estimated to be in 2008.


“Gas prices, supply chain issues, inflation have us all worried—when are you all going to do something? Your silence is deafening!” — DL_1955

Beyond just staying silent, Kiley has had many escapades with false information. Kiley tweeted “Sac City Unified, one of the worst failing districts in America, has reimposed a student mask mandate. This will not happen in any area that I represent.”


And in response, someone said “congressmen have no authority over local school districts. Counting on the fact your followers don’t know? How about proposing something that would make your district safer or better?” This twitter user is correct, national congress has little to no influence on what happens in each locality and even the projects each state chooses to fund or facilitate. Therefore, his aspiration to cancel the high-speed rail project in California is also virtually irrelevant.


Why the heck is he even running for national congress? The campaign website is filled with measures to revamp California which demonstrates his political stances but makes no indication for his views on the United States. The region in which he is running to represent is not the place in which he grew up nor did he represent that area as an assemblyman.


All of the initiatives highlighted on his issues page is better fulfilled as the governor of California or a member of the state assembly to which he resigned from.

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