SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California Trailblazers, a program committed to identifying, recruiting and training the next generation of Republican leaders, today announced its board of directors has elevated Phillip Chen (AD 55) to ‘Pathfinder’ status ahead of the 2016 election. Chen is a small businessman who operates a successful property management company and is dedicated to protecting communities from crime.

“Trailblazers is proud to announce Phillip Chen has met the program’s first-tier benchmarks and earned the ‘Pathfinder’ distinction. Chen’s background as a small business owner and his public service experience make him a tremendous candidate to carry the Republican banner in Assembly District 55,” said Trailblazers CEO Jessica Patterson.

Candidates must complete core campaign benchmarks to earn ‘Pathfinder’ status. This includes: raising more than $100,000, without personal loans, identifying local volunteers and precinct captains, and establishing a website and social media presence.

In addition to running a small business, Chen has also dedicated himself to public service by protecting his community from crime as a former Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy, teaching at two universities, and fighting for taxpayers. In 2009, he was recognized by the Walnut/Diamond Bar Sheriff’s Station as the “Reserve Deputy of the Year.” Appointed to the Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice Planning by Pete Wilson, Chen worked on legislation to protect foster children, prevent gang violence, and fight drug abuse.

Chen earned his B.A. in Communications from California State University, Fullerton and both a Master’s in Public Administration and Doctoral of Educational Psychology from the University of Southern California. He also served as an Adjunct Faculty Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.

Throughout 2016, California Trailblazers will continue to provide ongoing support to Republican legislative candidates. Candidates who seek to enter the second tier of the Trailblazers program, Rising Star status, must raise $250,000 in campaign contributions, identify local volunteers and precinct captains and create a substantial online presence through a dynamic website and active social media effort.