Our first Youth Commissioner spotlight begins in District 5 with Commissioner Andrew Lieu.
Andrew’s journey to the Youth Commission started in middle school, where he describes himself as the “shy, quiet kid, at the back of the classroom, who loved learning and listening.” But suddenly, his world changed. In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Andrew decided that he needed to step into a leadership position to give back to the city and district that had been serving him all his life.
With this newfound confidence, Andrew ran for his first major leadership role: ASB President. Taking inspiration from the quote, “in unity there is strength”, Andrew drafted the school’s very first constitution, spoke to school staff about LGBTQ+ issues, and spearheaded a newfound vision for student governance.
As Andrew moved to high school, Andrew was elected class officer at his school, Overfelt High School. While he looked forward to serving his school every day, he felt that he was unable to harness his maximum potential. He decided to search for a position where he could inspire and empower youth around the city. He researched and applied for months and finally found leadership positions in the California Association of Student Councils (CASC) and the San Jose Youth Commission.
In CASC, Andrew helped to advance AB46, a bill that established the first statewide youth commission in California for advising the high levels of state government (the state legislature, Governor Newson and the state superintendent). In the San Jose Youth Commission, which he has been a part of since March 2022, Andrew played a major role in the update for the county Bill of Rights for youth - a part of the city’s Youth Master Plan.
Today, Andrew stresses the need for tax cuts. He is concerned that financial burdens placed on a single family member can lead to mental drain. Instead, he proposes that governments should equip families with the necessary tools to succeed financially, by providing health care, tax plans, and family plans.
To future commissioners, Andrew advises to have a positive mindset, stay humble, and always be open to learn. He stresses that making the right connections can direct one to unimaginable destinations. In closing, Andrew remarks, “I’ve built myself a decent network of elected officials and was invited to talk to the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.; it changed my life. So make the most out of it and have fun!”
The San José Youth Commission is the official youth advisory group to the mayor and city council. We represent all the youth and work to:
- Empower youth to pursue their careers and encourage them to be civically engaged through local and city-wide events and initiatives.
- Foster a safe, inclusive, and accessible space for youth in San Jose to express their passions and interest.
- Provide equitable access and support to marginalized youth communities.
- Promote awareness about various issues and opportunities to San Jose youth.
- Advise and prompt City Council to act upon youth priorities and input.