Virginia Chang Kiraly is the fourth candidate to enter the race to replace Supervisor Don Horsley. The other candidates, Menlo Park Councilmember Ray Mueller; San Carlos Mayor Laura Palmer-Lohan; Half Moon Bay resident and labor leader Steven Booker have all been interviewed in previous columns.

Chang Kiraly and her husband moved to Menlo Park in 1994. They have two sons. She has 15 years professional experience in corporate financial analysis, planning and risk management. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her to the Commission for Economic Development where she served from 2007-2014 and was appointed chair of the biotech advisory committee. She was a Republican at the time but switched her party affiliation to Democrat in 2019. The position of supervisor is nonpartisan.

She ran for several offices unsuccessfully, for trustee of the Sequoia Union High School District in 2009 and for Assembly in 2006 against the late Ira Ruskin. She was finally elected to public office in 2011 as a member of the Menlo Park Fire Protection Board of Directors and appointed in 2015 but elected in 2016 to the San Mateo county Harbor District. She is the first Asian American woman to serve on both boards.


Her parents are Chinese immigrants. They came to Austin, Texas, in the 1950s where she was born. Her father became a professor of chemistry at the University of Texas and her mother graduated from there and became a dietician. Chang Kiraly attended high school in Austin, graduated from the University of Texas in 1986 with a degree in government and received a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California in 2020.


The Harbor District, which has been one of the most troubled special districts in the county, has turned itself around, according to Chang Kiraly, and has accomplished much to be proud of. She pointed to the Living Shoreline Project to repair the trail leading to Maverick Beach by imitating Mother Nature and trying to offset damage from climate change. The district has beefed up protective measures on county beaches to avoid future drowning tragedies by providing a permanent life buoy to throw into the water to rescue people from being swept out to sea.


Chang Kiraly has started raising money and will release the names of endorsers at the close of filing period. Her website is Right now there is speculation that the June primary may be delayed because of the slow census count. The election is in 2022 and, because there are four candidates in the race, it is anticipated that no one will win an outright majority. The two who prevail in the primary will face each other in November 2022. Horsley has said he will not endorse a candidate now but might in the primary. He and voters in the District 3, which covers primarily the unincorporated parts of San Mateo County and with most of the voters in Pacifica, will have some interesting choices: a Menlo Park councilmember who is a white male; the mayor of San Carlos, a working mother who is a lesbian; a resident of Half Moon Bay who is a labor leader and works with troubled youth throughout the county and is an African American; and Chang Kiraly, member of the Harbor Commission and the Menlo Park Fire Protection District and is of Asian descent. Who says we have no diversity in San Mateo County politics today.


The hasty and messy departure from Kabul is reminiscent of the south Vietnamese clinging to the last plane out of Saigon. In both cases, Vietnam and Afghanistan, the U.S. had no viable partner, just a corrupt government with little or no support from its own people. In both cases we spent too many American dollars and destroyed too many American lives. Today, Vietnam is doing OK and is no longer an enemy of the United States. That is because the new leadership’s main goal was to unify the country. It’s doubtful such leadership will emerge from the Taliban or from Afghanistan but history is always full of surprises.

Sue Lempert is the former mayor of San Mateo. Her column runs every Monday. She can be reached at

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(12) comments


Ms. Kiraly has a number of accomplishments in various areas. She also seems to be a smart lady, after all she switched from Republican to Democrat.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Tafhdyd my friend,

Please tell me you are messing with me. You know a politician switching from one political party to another or "evolving" from their position on marriage is effortless and meaningless. Wink, Wink. Hehe



Being from Alaska I think you would understand that I like to go fishing.:)

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Hi Tafhdyd,

Yes, we both enjoy fishing. The post I made was intended for fish that might get snagged, unintentionally.

Terence Y

Hey Sue, maybe next time a few sentences on how you feel about bumbling Biden leaving Americans behind in Afghanistan? In this case, Biden’s inaction and incompetence is no surprise. Too bad Biden’s main goal is not to unify the country – well maybe unifying Afghanistan under the Taliban – but do we really want to count that as an accomplishment?


Biden said the buck stops at his desk, but must say that there is more to this.

Biden owns it and his main responsibility is at the strategic level and his staff owns the logistics to carry out Biden’s strategic decision.

Terence, if you must blame, then blame the president who got America into this mess in the first place…and based on an incorrect basis…Weapons of Mass Destruction, which were never found.

Then Bush ran out of troops, so he ordered the National Guard (which is supposed to be a home based defense organization) to supplement regular troops over there.

Then paid private corporations billions to also supplement short falls of governmental agencies…or were those short falls artificially made?

Bottom line…there is enough to blame every administration and everyone…

Terence Y

BenToy – we can debate the merits of Americans going to Afghanistan, just as we can debate whether it was wise for Obama to trade $5 billion and 5 Taliban hostages in return for the deserter known as Bowe Bergdahl (another disastrous Obama decision), but did any of those administrations abandon Americans behind enemy lines? As I see it, instead of the Taliban taking Biden behind the gym (as Biden said he would try to do to our great President Trump) the Taliban is taking coward-in-chief Biden in front of the world’s gym. Bottom line... Americans are stranded behind enemy lines, regardless of our history in Afghanistan and basement Biden is accountable. BTW, is Biden still hiding or has he trotted himself out to make a rambling statement and then run and hide when questions arise?

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Mr. Toy,

Good for you. Except for one congresswoman, all of Congress voted to support going to war in Afghanistan.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Actually Terence, I would like Ms. Lempert to opine on why our politicians are "coddling" enemies of humanity in Afghanistan.



Not what you are asking for but I am curious what you think of this item?

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Hello again my friend,

I enjoyed the piece; it was a good read. Thanks.

I have no way of knowing the veracity of Mr. Kunce's claims, but I agree with his opinions and the possible sentiments underlying them.

It is my opinion that if we needed to get involved with Afghanistan at all, it should have been to destroy our enemies. We cannot change the way people think and choose to live.

Furthermore, I would not be surprised if money sent there returned to the pockets of the scoundrels appropriating it.

Terence Y

Wilfred – that’s a good one. I’d also like to see that but I think we’ll get another lecture about masking or getting a jab or censoring folks she doesn’t agree with.

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