It appears there are a few things that Leland Cheung conveniently leaves off his official biography.
Seems he was a Virginia Republican. Not just a Republican, but the 2005 GOP candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 38th district (Falls Church). The Washington Post described Mr. Cheung as a “space tourism entrepreneur” who worked for “Space Adventures Ltd., a firm that reached an agreement with the Russian government enabling private citizens to pay top dollar to go to space.”
Here’s a brief exchange on the topic of the Virginia gas tax.
(Incumbent Delegate Robert) Hull supports a 5.5-cent increase in the gas tax to pay for road maintenance. The growing costs of fixing roads are eating away at the state’s ability to build new ones, he said, adding that raising the tax would keep Virginia in line with what neighboring states charge. The tax hasn’t been increased in nearly two decades, he said.
Cheung opposes the increase. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize we’re currently being overtaxed,” he said, citing the state’s large budget surplus.
OurCampaigns.com offers this biography for Leland Cheung:
Benjamin Leland Cheung graduated from Stanford University at the top of his class with a Masters degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, a Bachelors of Science in Physics, and a Bachelors of Art in Economics from Stanford University
Leland is a visionary entrepreneur who has dedicated his professional life to opening up the frontier of commercial human space exploration. In 2000, he joined the firm Space Adventures, Ltd. that later went on to pioneer the space tourism industry. In 2001, he was a part of the team that brokered a historic agreement with the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation to send private, paying clients to the International Space Station. Since that time, Leland has continued to work on opening up the frontier of space for the benefit of all humanity.
Leland is a leader who has the future in mind. He has not been content to watch the future unfold but has worked hard to define it. He is a creative problem solver who is prepared to lead in a technology driven economy. He will work to ensure that high-tech jobs return to Virginia, that our students have the quality education they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world, and that our communities are safe and secure.
It is time for people with fresh ideas to go to Richmond to fight for the future. Leland looks forward to fighting for our children’s future so that they have the tools they need to reach for the stars.
According to vafree.com, Leland Cheung’s top three priorities for Virginia were:
- Capping and Lowering taxes for Virginia residents and businesses, Returning the budget surplus to taxpayers, etc.
- Traffic – Putting in place simple measures to start addressing our traffic problems today. HOT Lanes, Regional Transit Authorities, proper use of the Transportation Trust Fund, Private Public Partnerships, etc.
- Keeping our economy growing – supporting the Virginia Advanced Research Alliance, providing incentives to new and existing businesses that create high paying jobs, continuous improvement of our educational system, etc.
Leland Cheung’s answers to the issue of funding transportation were:
- Do you agree that the Commonwealth of Virginia is experiencing a transportation crisis? A for Strongly agree
- Do you agree that the development of a long-term, dedicated, sustainable funding source for Virginia’s transportation programs is important? A for Strongly agree
- If you answered “Agree” or “Strongly Agree” to question 7 above, what new revenue sources would you support for increased transportation funding?
- Fuel tax increase (each one cent provides $40 million per year): No
- Sales tax increase (each one-half cent provides $400 million per year): No
- Increased motor vehicle license fees (1$ provides $8.5 million): No
- Tolls where applicable: No
- Other sources: Proper use of existing funds. We’re NOT trying to tax people out of driving.
- Do you support the Commonwealth allowing existing state or interstate roads to be converted into tollroads to fund improvements to those roads? Yes
- Would you support legislative action to protect Transportation Trust Fund monies from being diverted to non-transportation purposes? A for Strongly support
Oh, and here’s Leland Cheung’s answer on the topic of Right to Work:
- Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statement: ‘I support Virginia’s Right to Work law that ensures that no Virginian must join or pay dues to a union to get or keep a job, and I will oppose legislation to weaken or modify that law.’ A for Strongly agree
The Washington Post endorsement in this race was sharp and concise:
District 38: Robert D. Hull (D), who has held the seat since 1994, faces token opposition from B. Leland Cheung (R). Mr. Hull is well prepared; Mr. Cheung, an engineer, is a novice with no substantial record of community involvement.
Just nine years later, Leland Cheung is selling himself as a progressive and he is trying to get the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor.