Wilma Commissioner Wilma Chan

Commissioner Wilma Chan has been a strong advocate for children and families for over 35  years. Commissioner Chan served as the first woman Majority Leader of the California State Assembly. She represented Oakland, Alameda and Piedmont in the State Assembly from 2000-2006. She authored many groundbreaking bills including making California the first state to ban toxic flame retardants and implement a no-lead standard in drinking water pipes and fixtures. Ms. Chan authored historic legislation to end the practice of hospitals overcharging uninsured and underinsured patients and to cover California’s 800,000 uninsured children. She won approval of $100 million to expand State Preschool and fought successfully to maintain the state’s Master Plan for college student access. It was her bill that in 2010 blew the whistle on Anthem Blue Cross when they tried to implement a 33% rate increase in California. The national attention to this issue helped propel national healthcare reform to victory.

Prior to her election to the Assembly, Ms. Chan was elected twice as the first Asian American to serve on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors after completing a term on the Oakland Board of Education. As a Supervisor, Ms. Chan wrote the strategic plan to keep the County Medical Center open and formed the Alameda County First 5 Commission. She implemented a citizenship program with the passage of welfare reform and formed the Alameda and San Leandro Youth collaboratives.

Ms. Chan holds a BA in history from Wellesley College and an MA in education policy and administration from Stanford University. She has two grown children and one grandchild.

She served as the Legislator in Residence at UC Berkeley during the 2006-07 academic years and taught political science on campus for two years. In addition, served for four years on the California Medical Assistance Commission where she worked to assure timely access to hospital care for MediCal recipients statewide. She has worked on healthcare reform projects in Alameda County, including an expansion of health services at the Peralta Community Colleges. She most recently served as Vice President for Policy at Children Now, a national children’s advocacy organization located in Oakland.