Application for Congressional Commission for William Chan

Contact Information

Full Name

William Chan

Other Names
N/A

Party Affiliation

Democrat

Occupation

Director of External Affairs for the City and County of Denver in the agency of Denver Economic Development & Opportunity

Educational Background

BA, Colgate University; MLS, University of Denver

Zip Code

80204

Congressional District
1

Background

Past Political Activity

Donated money to the following campaigns: Biden/Harris, Michael Bennet, Rachele Espiritu, Michael Hancock, Mike Johnston, Jamie Torres

List of Political and Civic Organizations belonged to

Platte Forum – Board Member (Present), Denver Public Schools, Bond and Mill Levy – Community Planning and Advisory Committee Member (2015-2016); Mill Oversight Committee Member (2017-2021); Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, Denver County Cultural Council – Committee Member, (2014-2020; Chair, 2017-2020); SCFD Inclusivity Advisory Board (current iteration as Community ACTS Fund – Committee Member (2019-2020); White House Office – Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders – Region VIII E3! Ambassador (2014-2017); Denver Office of Human Rights and Community Partnership, Denver Asian American Pacific-Islander Commission – Commission Member (2013-2020; Chair, 2014-2016)

Organization and Advocacy Experience

My experience organizing started in New York, supporting the New York Hotel Trades Council, Local 6 where I advocated for union employees at various hotels in New York and Puerto Rico. I listened to grievances from union members to organizing formal events to allow opportunities for members to advocate for themselves in contract negotiations. These early professional experiences have been invaluable in my community work upon returning to Colorado over a decade ago to continue ensuring that the interests of under-resourced and historically marginalized communities are not overlooked. Especially when decisions are made on behalf of and impacting individuals who may not be represented at the proverbial table.

Statement

Upon learning of this opportunity, I was excited to see democracy in action: an independent commission to determine where districts are drawn, and to align as closely as possible the people with their government. “The people” includes communities of color, who are severely underrepresented in both Congress and state legislatures. Democracy means having elected officials who represent and are accountable to the people. If chosen for the commission, I will bring a sense of deep responsibility to speak for those who are not present. I care that representation is accounted for and want to ensure all voices can be heard. When the new lines are drawn, I would want to walk away knowing that the districts create the greatest opportunities for democracy to continue, to allow for discourse that reflects different views, to ensure that the system we build as a society is not preordained.

Statement on Working with Consensus

Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to engage with many different individuals from all walks of life. More times than not, I see and share similar goals and visions for the future as the stranger next to me, but the discrepancies often occur in the path we take to arrive to that destination. Consensus is a useful tool to facilitate these conversations that can promote equity, ensuring that everyone in a group shares power and must come together to find solutions that meet everyone’s needs. I am a strong proponent of working together, rather than against each other to build a stronger community. I often lean on consensus as an expectation on many of my prior board and commission experience simply to create space where every individual can have the trust to air differences respectfully, where no one individuals’ needs and opinions dominate, and where solutions can be arrived upon to benefit as many constituents as possible. To be able to set an expectation early on to understand how we listen to various stakeholders, how we allow space for discourse to happen, and understand the different ways of communicating is a healthy path towards arriving to consensus. Consensus is not always a straight path, but we cannot be afraid of disagreement because it will ultimately lead to better solutions.

Relevant Analytic Skills for Commission

Using good judgement and sound logic depends on the background and context that is gathered. It is important to understand the problem you are solving, to have conversations that weigh the opportunities and potential risk(s) to solutions proposed, and then begin conversations on how one can move forward in collective action. When I apply logic and reasoning to a problem, I find it important to understand also the effect (i.e. unintended consequences) that decisions may have before one can move forward.

Demographics

Racial categories the applicant identifies with:
Asian
Applicant identifies with the following gender

Male