Capitol Alert

Get to know a freshman: Ling Ling Chang (VIDEO)

Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang leaves the chambers at the end of session on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015.
Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang leaves the chambers at the end of session on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015.

Nearly a third of the 2015-2016 California Legislature are first-term members. In this occasional series, The Bee introduces you to Sacramento’s newest lawmakers.

Ling Ling Chang was into tech before it was cool.

The Diamond Bar Republican joins an Assembly GOP caucus intent on positioning itself as a champion of California's thriving innovation economy. Those efforts will enlist a self-proclaimed "innately shy tech geek" whose early fascination with computers in the days of modem-to-modem connections perplexed her Taiwanese parents.

“My mom didn’t understand why a young girl would be so obsessed with computers, so she would try and prohibit me from going online. I found my way around it until my mom started removing the keyboard,” Chang said, laughing. “Now she completely regrets it. Technology, to me, it’s like second nature. I can actually work something without having to read the user manual.”

Even when she entered public life after years working for a health information systems company, winning spots on the Walnut Valley Water District Board of Directors and then the Diamond Bar City Council, Chang retained her digital diligence. She set up a Friendster account (remember Friendster?) to help with her water board campaign and pushed Diamond Bar to create a social media presence and launch a civic app.

“We got online because of me,” Chang said. “They were afraid of technology.”

Now, as she contemplates the government’s role in overseeing the tech sector and protecting individual privacy, it’s not uncommon for Chang to email articles to staffers on technology at all hours of the night. A recent one dealt with voice recognition.

“I’m obsessed with information,” Chang said. “I love information.”

WATCH: Chang talks about how society’s view of technology has changed since her childhood ‘obsession’

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.