Matthew K. Fong
Matthew K. Fong served as a dedicated and valued member of the Think Long Committee for California from its inception until he lost his battle with cancer on June 1, 2011. Matthew was the Vice Chairman of the State Board of Equalization and the highest ranking Asian-American in the state of California. Matt represents the 7.5 million residents of the Fourth District, which geographically covers nearly all of Los Angeles County. Matt is one of the state's constitutional officers and was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson in January 1991. Fong, a fiscal conservative, brought strong academic and business skills to state government. In the course of his work on the Board, Matt applied fairness, compassion and common sense to tax administration in California. In his first two years in office, Matt moved swiftly to reduce the state agency's operating costs by nearly $7 million and increase efficiency. His knowledge of state government and "can do" attitude has even been recognized by local government officials. Matt spearheaded a successful multi-billion dollar settlement between utility companies and California's 58 counties that saved hard-earned taxpayer money. Matt Fong graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and held the rank of Lt. Colonel (selectee) in the Air Force Reserves throughout his life. Following graduation in 1975, he served a five-year military commitment. As acting comptroller and data processing manager for 8,000 men and women, Matt was awarded the USAF Meritorious Service Medal for exceptional management performance. Following his military career Matt completed an MBA at Pepperdine University. A few years later, he earned a law degree from Southwestern Law School. In 1992 he was recognized for his efforts and given the Distinguished Alumnus Award at Pepperdine where he continued his involvement as a member of the Board of Regents and served on their Finance and Investments Committee. After starting his own small business, he joined the law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter and Hampton. As a business attorney for the international firm, Matt specialized in transactional law.Following in the political footsteps of his mother, former Secretary of State March Fong Eu, Matt entered politics and, in 1990, was the Republican nominee for State Controller. Matt is widely considered a "rising star in California politics," and was asked to speak at the Republican National Convention.
Matt remained active in his community, participating on the Boards of Governors and Trustees for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Board of Directors for the Young Executives Association and as Regent of the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. Matt is survived by his wife Paula, and his two children, Matthew II and Jade.