Tony Hwang

Last updated
Tony Hwang
Tony Hwang - State Senate 28th - Sitting.jpg
Member of the Connecticut Senate
from the 28th district
Assumed office
2015
Preceded by John P. McKinney
Member of the ConnecticutHouseofRepresentatives
from the 134th district
In office
2009–2015
Preceded byTom F. Christiano
Succeeded byLaura Devlin
Personal details
Born (1964-09-17) September 17, 1964 (age 56)
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)Grace
Residence Fairfield, Connecticut
Alma mater Cornell University (BS)
Website www.tonyhwang.org

Tony Hwang is an American real estate agent and politician. A Republican, he is a member of the Connecticut State Senate, for the 28th District, which covers parts of Fairfield County. Previously, Hwang as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives for the 134th District in the Connecticut General Assembly. Hwang became a state representative in 2008 and won re-election in 2010 and 2012. He was elected to the state Senate in 2014 and subsequently reelected. He is the assistant Senate Minority Leader.

Contents

Early life and education

Hwang was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, after his parents fled the communist government in mainland China as teenagers and re-settled in Taiwan. [1] The family emigrated to the U.S. when Hwang was approximately nine years old and settled in Syracuse, New York. [2]

Hwang received a bachelor's degree in Labor Relations and Organizational Behavior from Cornell University. [3]

Political career

Elections

Hwang worked for United Technologies [2] before becoming a licensed realtor in Fairfield. [2] [4] He was a member of the Town of Fairfield representative town meeting [4] from 2003 to 2009 [3] before being elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives from the 134th District. [4] In 2014, Hwang won election to the Connecticut Senate from the 28th State Senate District, defeating the Democratic nominee, state Representative Kim Fawcett of the 133rd State House District. [5] The district includes parts of Fairfield, Easton, Newtown, Weston, and Westport. [4]

Hwang was endorsed by State Senator John McKinney. [6] McKinney vacated the Senate seat to run for governor, but subsequently lost in the Republican primary to Thomas C. Foley. [7] [8]

In 2016, Hwang received re-election endorsements from Robert H. Steele, John Kasich, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, and the National Federation of Independent Business. [9] [10] [11]

Hwang ran for re-election in 2016 to retain his seat as state senator for the 28th district, winning with 58% of the vote; he defeated Democratic nominee Philip Dwyer. [12] [13]

In 2018, Hwang defeated Democratic nominee Michelle McCabe; in a rematch in 2020, Hwang again defeated McCabe. [14]

At various points since 2013, Hwang has publicly considered running for statewide office, [15] and in 2017 had an exploratory committee for governor. [16] Thus far, Hwang has opted not to run for statewide office. [15]

Campaign spending and advertisement controversies

In 2014, the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission investigated Hwang over an allegation of failure to disclose campaign purchases. [17] The Commission authorized the investigation after reviewing complaints and submitted materials from Town of Fairfield's Democratic Town Committee. [18] Hwang denied wrongdoing, [19] and accused the Fairfield Democratic Town Committee as trying to distract the electorate. [20]

In 2016, the State Elections Enforcement Commission fined Hwang $400 for violation of rules on campaign contribution limits. [16]

Hwang spent $15,020 on advertising on place mats at a Connecticut restaurant chain. He purchased the ads with personal funds and was later reimbursed the cost by his political committee. Hwang initially did not disclose the reimbursement on his campaign disclosure filings. [15] A local Democratic committee chairman filed an elections complaint against Hwang for the lapse in 2016. [15] In December 2017, the state Elections Enforcement Commission ruled that the failure to disclosure was unintentional, and directed him to correct his filings. [15] In January 2017, Hwang also reported spending $2,850 on "Wikipedia information management" services. [15]

In 2018, some of Hwang's campaign signs included copyrighted art from the nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations Hate Has No Home Here and Ben's Bells, without permission from the groups. After the use of the art was reported, Hwang issued an apology, said that the use was unintentional, and removed the signs and text at issue. [16]

Tenure and political positions

In 2019, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters gave Hwang a "lifetime score" of 88% and called him "a thoughtful voice on the environment and conservation," citing his advocacy for the Long Island Sound Blue Plan and State Water Plan. [21] The group endorsed Hwang's campaign for the state Senate in 2014. [22] In 2019, he supported a plastic bag ban. [23]

The Hartford Courant described Hwang in 2019 as a moderate Republican. [24] During the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries, Hwang supported John Kasich, and was named Connecticut state chairman of Kasich's campaign. [25] He hosted campaign events with Kasich in the state. [26] [27] [28] Hwang opposed Donald Trump and condemned Trump's insults targeting women, minorities, immigrants, and persons with disabilities; Hwang said in October 2016: "Trump's comments are unacceptable under any circumstances. It perpetuates the potential cycle of violence. I can't say it strong enough that I condemn them. I have never supported him because of those comments." [29]

As of 2020, Hwang is the ranking member of the state Senate committees on housing, higher education, public safety and security, and transportation. [30] Hwang was a member of the Legislative Environment Committee in 2011 [31] and 2012. [32]

Hwang voted against a pro-net neutrality bill in 2018, arguing that the matter is a federal issue. [33] [34] Like most Connecticut Republican legislators, Hwang opposes the legalization of marijuana; he opposed proposals in 2019 to legalize, tax, and regulate recreational marijuana in Connecticut. [35] He is an outspoken opponent of legalized gambling in Connecticut, [36] and has opposed moves to allow additional casinos and other gambling businesses to operate in the state. [37] [38] He has supported stronger gun control legislation. [24]

On Election Day in 2019, a high school student volunteer argued with Hwang at Fairfield's District 1 polling place about socialism; this lead to Hwang educating and informing the student on the history of socialism, along with tell her his personal experiences with the ideology . The exchange brought the student to tears and prompting a Facebook post from her mother that circulated on social media. Hwang later apologized to the student, citing he did not intend to hurt the students feelings, rather educate her on the topic. [39]

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References

  1. "Veterans salute Independence Day values in Fairfield - Connecticut Post". Ctpost.com. 2010-07-05. Retrieved 2012-09-27.
  2. 1 2 3 Tom Cleary, Hwang walks, talks -- and listens -- in re-election bid, Fairfield Citizen (October 21, 2020).
  3. 1 2 Genevieve Reilly, Hwang, Dean face off for seat in 134th District, Fairfield Citizen (October 20, 2012).
  4. 1 2 3 4 Josh LaBella, Hwang wins race for state's 28th Senate District, Fairfield Citizen (November 4, 2020).
  5. Salzo, Vincent (November 4, 2014). "Republican Tony Hwang Wins 28th District State Senate Seat". Fairfield Patch. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  6. "Hwang to run for state Senate, endorsed by McKinney". Minuteman News Center. 2014-04-02. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  7. "Foley Wins GOP Gubernatorial Primary in Connecticut". Wall Street Journal. 13 August 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  8. "Hwang State Senate Campaign Gets Boost from Llodra, McKinney". patch.com. The Patch. November 2, 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  9. Brown, Lori (October 19, 2016). "Westport Letter: Steinberg, Hwang Show Bipartisan Concern for Environment". Fairfield Daily Voice. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  10. "Gov. John Kasich Endorses State Senator Tony Hwang". Fairfield Sun. September 26, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  11. Steele, Robert (October 6, 2016). "An Endorsement for Hwang in Senate". The Hour. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  12. Gay, Patricia (November 9, 2016). "State Senator Tony Hwang Wins Re-election". The Weston Forum. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018.
  13. Weiss, Laura (November 8, 2016). "Hwang claims victory in 28th Senate District". Fairfield Citizen. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  14. Josh LaBella, Fairfield sees high election turnout and first-time volunteers, (November 6, 2020).
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Neil Vigdor, The Place Mat King: Sen. Tony Hwang Spent $15K On Restaurant Ads, Hartford Courant (May 11, 2018).
  16. 1 2 3 Genevieve Reilly, Fairfield state senator in hot water over copyrighted artwork on campaign signs, CT Post (August 30, 2018).
  17. "State Elections Agency Investigates Hwang Purchases". The Fairfield Daily Voice. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  18. "State Elections Enforcement Commission to investigate Hwang" . Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  19. "Dems' election complaint against Hwang questions spending disclosure". Fairfield Citizen. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  20. "Fairfield Rep. Hwang Responds To Election Complaint From Democrats". The Fairfield Daily Voice. 25 September 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  21. "2019 Environmental Scorecard" (PDF). Connecticut League of Conservation Voters. 2019. p. 32,36.
  22. "Connecticut League of Conservation Voters endorses Hwang". Easton Courier. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  23. Emilie Munson, Connecticut bans on plastic bags, straws, containers passed by committee, Associated Press (March 25, 2019).
  24. 1 2 Daniela Altimarti, JT Lewis, brother of Sandy Hook victim Jesse Lewis, is running for state Senate, Hartford Courant (July 15, 2019).
  25. Blair, Russell (March 24, 2016). "Ohio Gov. John Kasich Names Connecticut Campaign Chair". Hartford Courant. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  26. "Presidential Candidate Gov. John Kasich Talks Issues at SHU". Sacred Heart University. April 13, 2016.
  27. Rooney, Rachel (April 22, 2016). "GOP Presidential candidate John Kasich makes stop in CT". WFSB News. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  28. "Gov. John Kasich endorses State Senator Tony Hwang". Fairfield Sun. September 26, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  29. Ken Dixon, Majority of local GOP candidates won't take stand on Trump, CT Post (October 16, 2016).
  30. Josh LaBella. [Tony Hwang: Republican, candidate for state Senate 28th District], CT Post (September 29, 2020).
  31. "Environment Committee - Vote Tally Sheet" . Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  32. "Environment Committee - Vote Tally Sheet" . Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  33. "Republicans block state net neutrality bill - Connecticut Post" . Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  34. "Connecticut Lawmakers Won't Take A Stand On Net Neutrality". Connecticut Public Radio. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  35. Emilie Munson, Taxation of recreational marijuana debated at CT Capitol, Associated Press (April 29, 2019).
  36. Senator Tony Hwang: Trying To Stop Casinos, Hartford Courant (May 19, 2020).
  37. Brian Hallenbeck, Committee sends all gaming bills to House, Senate, Associated Press (March 19, 2019).
  38. Kevin Zimmerman, State Sen. Tony Hwang voices support for Gov. Lamont's rejection of tribes’ online gambling bid, Westchester and Fairfield County Business Journals (April 8, 2020).
  39. Scharf, Rachel (2019-11-05). "Fairfield Election Day: Turnout is steady, Hwang argues with student about socialism". Fairfield Citizen. Retrieved 2019-11-08.