Concept

March Fong Eu

Summary
March Kong Fong Eu (; March 29, 1922 – December 21, 2017) was an American dental hygienist and politician who served as the 24th secretary of state of California for five terms from 1975 to 1994. A member of the Democratic Party, she served in the California State Assembly from 1967 to 1974 and later as the United States ambassador to Micronesia under Bill Clinton from 1994 to 1996. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Eu was the first Asian American woman to hold statewide constitutional office in the United States and was also the first woman to serve as Secretary of State of California. She is the adoptive mother of Matt Fong, a Republican who served one term as treasurer of California. Eu was born March Kong on March 29, 1922, in Oakdale, California, a city in the San Joaquin Valley, where her Chinese immigrant parents Yuen Kong and Shiu Shee ran a hand-wash laundry. Her grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Huaxian County (now Huadu District) in the South China province of Guangdong. The family later moved to Richmond, California. Eu earned a Bachelor of Science in dentistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1943 and a Master of Education from Mills College. She earned an Ed.D. from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 1954. She became a dental hygienist working in the Oakland Unified School District and served a term as president of the American Dental Hygienist Association. She served on the Alameda County Board of Education from 1954 to 1964. In 1966, Eu was elected as a Democrat to the California State Assembly from the 15th District, representing Oakland and Castro Valley. She served four terms. She is perhaps best known for her successful campaign to ban pay toilets, arguing that they discriminated against women since urinals were free. Eu was elected Secretary of State of California in 1974, becoming the first Asian American woman ever elected to a state constitutional office in the United States. She remained the only woman to serve as California Secretary of State until 2006, when voters elected Debra Bowen.
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