PREVIEW: Choi, Petrie-Norris run for State Assembly District 73

Orange County will elect its State Assembly Member for District 73 on Nov. 8 and the winner will serve their term for two years.

The candidates for State Assembly District 73 are Republican Assemblyman of District 68 Steven Choi and Democrat Assemblywoman of District 74 Cottie Petrie-Norris. The following profiles reveal these candidate’s backgrounds, qualifications and how they might affect the Orange Coast College community.

Steven Choi

State Assembly District 73

Why are you running for this office?

Steven Choi is an incumbent, and is motivated to run for Assembly Member to keep a balance between Democrats and Republicans at the state legislature. He said that because of the polarity at the state legislature, there is “no chance to debate more healthy policies and bills that are being introduced.” 

What qualifies you for this office?

Choi started his political career as a school board member of Irvine Unified School District for six years. Choi was an Irvine city councilman for eight years from 2004 to 2012 and subsequently was elected to mayorship to which he served from 2012 to 2016. He then was elected to the State Assembly in 2016 and is currently in his fourth term.

“Obviously people are happy with my service as a reelected official because they’ve been continuously reelecting me to serve for 24 years,” Choi said.

Choi earned the “Guardian of Small Business Award” from the California National Federation of Independent Business and has authored and co-authored a number of assembly bills targeted at lowering taxes and amending the justice system. 

He is also Vice Chair of the Higher Education Committee and has taught at USC, UC Irvine, Cal State LA, Saddleback College and Coastline Community College.

What is your stance on the accessibility of reproductive health care?

As a Christian, Choi believes that “life is precious and we should honor any life from the conception.”

“I think the Supreme Court has done a good job of leaving it to individual states,” Choi said. “Here, California has been dominated and run by Democrats, and during that time there’s more of a chance for bad law.”

How do you plan on combating climate change?

Choi’s stance is that the cost of climate action requires regulation, money and time, and that “artificially forcing [climate action] drives the cost of homes.”

He said that this is why California housing is especially costly, and that climate action needs to be coordinated and well balanced.

What steps will you take to alleviate the effects of inflation on college students?

To alleviate the effects of inflation on college students, Choi stated that he does not advocate for an excess of scholarship expansions and that parents should start saving for their child’s college expenses at birth.

“Who’s gonna pay for it? The salaries of the professors, the staff members that maintain the buildings, the janitorial services, the food services, whatever that’s necessary, research costs, etc.,” Choi said.

He said that giving scholarships to people without qualifications will cause financial burden for everyone.

To solve this though, he believes that “we need to let the companies make money, and with their profits, be able to raise the salaries of employees. The employees will have enough money to save to afford their children [going to college].”

Why would an OCC student vote for you?

“I’m all for students,” Choi said. “I came to this country with only $50 in my pocket from Korea a long time ago, but I studied, worked hard washing dishes, being a busboy and working in hotels.”

He believes that “education is the gateway to success for anybody.”

Choi is an advocate for mental health awareness and authored AB 2122, which requires that the mental health emergency hotline be printed onto student IDs. He also authored AB1803, which requires colleges and universities to provide graduates with career placement and job search services for up to five years after graduation, and AB 2494, which gives veterans students college credit for their military training or experience to help them transfer out of community college. 

How can I find more information about your candidacy?

You can find more information on Steven Choi’s run for state assemblyman on his website.

Cottie Petrie-Norris

State Assembly District 73

Why are you running for this office?

Petrie-Norris ran for the State Assembly in 2018 because she felt like Sacramento had been shortchanging the residents of District 74.

In her time as an Assemblywoman for District 74, she has made efforts to combat climate change, improve education, better services for local businesses and veterans and work on various community projects.

“I'm running because I want to continue that work,” Petrie-Norris said.

What qualifies you for this office?

Petrie-Norris has served as an assembly member for District 74 for four years, and prior to her election had a career in finance and technology. She led teams at large Fortune 500 companies and worked at startups around the world.

“As an Assembly member, I try to really approach this job as a businesswoman, as a mom and as a representative of the community,” Petrie-Norris said.

According to one of her websites, Petrie-Norris serves as chair of the Assembly’s Accountability and Administrative Review Committee and chair of the Select Committee on Small Business  Entrepreneurship. She also serves on the Assembly’s committees for Banking and Finance; Revenue and Taxation; Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy; and Veterans Affairs.

What is your stance on the accessibility of reproductive healthcare?

“I am a fierce proponent of a woman’s right to choose,” Petrie-Norris said. “I think that the reality is that i's a really scary time right now for women across this country, and we are seeing our fundamental bodily autonomy or fundamental reproductive rights under assault all across the country, and so I'm proud to be fighting back here in California.”

She works with the Legislative Women’s Caucus to protect one’s right to an abortion. The Legislative Women’s Caucus also advocates for gender equal pay, sexual assault and domestic violence protection, the safety of women in prison and much more.

She also serves on the Select Committee on Reproductive Health.

How do you plan on combating climate change?

Since being elected as assemblywoman, Petrie-Norris advocates for ending offshore drilling in California and has increased investments in building climate resilience.

“We’ve got wildfires, we’ve got drought, we’ve got severe flooding, and while we’re working really really hard to achieve our climate goals and make sure that we lower emissions and that we achieve our ambitious climate targets, that’s really not enough,” Petrie-Norris said. “We’ve got to really get serious about safeguarding California.”

She’s worked with local first responders and fire professionals to upgrade their systems and their technology to better address California’s wildfires.

She also said that the emerging technologies made to address climate change will “create a new generation of great jobs and open windows of opportunity for kids across the state.”

Petrie-Norris’ first bill that she authored was AB 65, which invests in tidal marshes, the replenishment of kelp and seagrass, mangroves, and much more, in order to combat coastal erosion and sea level rise. She has also passed AB 67, which factors in sea level rise prevention when planning, designing and building infrastructure along the coastal zone, and AB 1408, which would reduce or waive the permit fee for certain coastal development projects.

She also serves on the Select Committees for Sea Level Rise and California Economy; Impact Investing for Improved Social and Environmental Outcomes; Coastal Protection and Access to Natural Resources; Biotechnology; and is the chair of the Select Committee on the Orange County Oil Spill.

What steps will you take to alleviate the effects of inflation on college students?

Petrie-Norris said that the two things that have mainly been driving inflation are the supply chain crunch and the supply chain crisis that was a result of COVID.

“We are seeing so many people having to make choices about whether or not they fill up their gas tank or fill up their grocery cart,” Petrie-Norris said.

Petrie-Norris, along with a group of assembly members, introduced a proposal to provide a gas rebate to all Californians. After going through iterations, that proposal resulted in the inflation rebate checks that are expected to be sent out between Oct. 2022 and Jan. 2023.

To address the supply chain crisis, she said that it’s necessary for California ports to move goods quickly and remove any barriers that would make the process inefficient.

Why would an OCC student vote for you?

“An OCC student should vote for me because I am fighting for so many of the things that college students I talk to really care about whether that’s climate action, common sense gun safety laws and reproductive justice.” Petrie-Norris said.

She authored AB 1057, which categorizes homemade ghost guns as firearms that can be taken by law enforcement when one is serving a Gun Violence Restraining Order.

“Whether you care about climate action, or the student debt crisis, or reproductive freedom, or whatever you care about, the most important way to move the needle is for your generation to show up and mass regularly and consistently and start building your political power,” Petrie-Norris said.

How can I find more information on your candidacy?

You can find more information about Petrie-Norris on her website.


Editor’s Note: Coast Report is covering 2022 election races and proposition issues that are expected to have a meaningful impact on our audience, change the balance of power in government and/or be particularly compelling and competitive. Coast Report’s election coverage is intended to inform voters – specifically OCC student voters – and promote the democratic process of free and fair elections. 

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