Republican millennial Elizabeth Heng to run for Congress

Fresno native Elizabeth Heng will be on the ballot to fill Devin Nunes’ vacancy in the 22nd Congressional District

TULARE COUNTY – Fresno millennial Elizabeth Heng will run for Congress in the 22nd Congressional District special election.

The self-proclaimed tech rebel is gunning to fill the vacancy left by former Congressman Devin Nunes’ early departure from democracy for Trump Media. She’s still weighing her options for which Congressional District she will run for in the 2022 Gubernatorial Election, where the filing deadline is March 10.

Heng brings six-and-a-half years on the hill, Stanford and Yale Ivy League education and humble roots in the Central Valley to the April 5 ballot. She told The Sun-Gazette it’s time to bring fresh ideas to Washington.

“[In 2018] as I was meeting with people up and down our community, they told me four key things that we struggled with the most: water, an immigration bill that worked, education and the business climate. Those things are much worse now than they were four years ago,” Heng said. “I’m so tired of politicians utilizing the Central Valley as a flyover state…If I earn the ability to represent our community, I will be fighting for the people.”

Heng spent her formative years in the inner city area of Fresno. The pro-life congressional candidate said her family didn’t have time to go to church growing up, as her Cambodian parents were too busy running Rasmey Market—the neighborhood grocery store they still own today—seven days a week to provide for Heng and her brothers.

After Stanford, where she was the student body president, Heng weathered the 2008 financial crisis with her brothers in the business world running T-Mobile franchises up and down the Central Valley. She said the passage of Obamacare led to business regulations that made it even harder on already struggling businesses, something she sees in today’s COVID mandates, which she believes overreach and hurt businesses in the Central Valley.

In 2010 Heng packed her bags and hit the hill to work as a staffer for anyone that would have her. She landed at former Congressman Ed Royce’s doorstep, who launched her six-and-a-half years on the hill working as a staffer, on campaigns, and traveling the world with politicians.

“It takes a long time to truly understand the process. There’s no books you can read on how to move legislation across the finish line,” Heng said.

After returning to the Central Valley with a wealth of political knowledge, Heng said seeing a government shutdown happen while her community struggled was what lit the fire under her to run for office.

“It made me so furious that these career politicians continue to play games with our lives, people can’t just not pay their bills and shut down their businesses,” Heng said. “I was at my parents grocery store, and I saw a lot of the kids I had grown up with, and they seemed to be much worse off than their parents were when we were growing up. I thought it was an injustice for people to not speak up and fight for our future, for the community that raised me to become the woman I am today. So I threw my name in the hat.”

In 2018, Heng told her parents’ American dream tale of escape from the Cambodian genocide in the 1970s in a campaign ad during her first run for Congress against incumbent Jim Costa, and things got messy. Facebook banned her campaign ad for five days on the grounds it was obscene and obnoxious. Days later, Twitter did the same. The ad was soon restored after Heng disputed the decision.

“I agree with them that the genocide and killing of millions of people is obscene and obnoxious, but I do not believe that it was right for them to shut down my voice and ability to talk about real history,” Heng said. “I was fortunate that I was running for office and had a platform to fight back and win against big tech. What about everybody else’s family stories and diverse political thoughts that are getting shut down, censored and banned?”

Heng’s clash with big tech in 2018 prompted her current business venture as CEO of The New Internet, a Fresno-based encrypted internet browser in an effort to restore autonomy back to users and protect the value of their personal data and online transactions. Heng is all in for decentralized control from big tech, but she’s not in favor of using the censorship argument to peddle lies and conspiracy theories.

“I’m not a conspiracy theory type of person, but I do believe that every individual has the right to use their voice…as long as it’s not breaking the law” Heng said. “Threatening people, etcetera, I do not think that’s acceptable.”

Heng wouldn’t say whether she’d back Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in his efforts to promote the Big Lie, decertify the 2020 Presidential Election and boycott the Jan. 6 campaign, only that she plans to forge her own path rather than make camp with the Liz Cheneys or the McCarthys of the Republican Party.

“I’m on a new path, it’s the Elizabeth Hengs of the world. I’m doing this because I want to give a voice to the voiceless,” Heng said. “I think our country right now is truly looking for solutions on how we go and where we go moving forward. If I earn the ability to become a member of Congress, instead of dealing with all the noise that I think is dividing our country, I’m really going to be focused on four things: water, immigration, our education system and the business climate.”

This article was updated Feb. 2, 2022 at 1:15 p.m.

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