Matthew Harper is a California State Assemblyman, representing the 74th District. The 74th Assembly District includes the coastal Orange County communities of Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine, Laguna Woods and Laguna Beach. Prior to being sworn into the California State Assembly, Harper served as the 59th Mayor of Huntington Beach.
Early life and education
Harper was born in Long Beach, California and lived briefly in Colorado, but grew up in Westminster and Huntington Beach. He is a graduate of Huntington Beach High School. After transferring from Orange Coast College, Harper earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Public Policy and Management at the University of Southern California.
Assemblyman Matthew Harper was first elected to the Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD) in 1998, re-elected with the most votes in 2002, and named to an uncontested third term in 2006. There are five governing board members, or trustees, that are each elected at-large by HBUHSD voters. The HBUHSD serves the secondary education needs of the Orange County communities of Huntington Beach, most of Westminster, most of Fountain Valley, a portion of Garden Grove and all of unincorporated Midway City. Four separate feeder elementary school districts serve the primary education needs of the territory served by the HBUHSD. High schools in the district include: Huntington Beach High School, Westminster High School, Marina High School, Fountain Valley High School, Edison High School, Ocean View High School, Valley Vista High School, Coast High School, Community Day School, and Huntington Beach Adult School.
After completing his third term on the HBUHSD Board of Trustees, Harper was elected to the Huntington Beach City Council November 2, 2010 on a campaign platform of public safety, infrastructure, economic development, administrative and fiscal accountability, property rights, personal freedom and opposition to higher taxes. There are seven city council members that are each elected at-large by voters in the City of Huntington Beach. In 2012, Harper was chosen by the mayors of the Second District to the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors. In 2013, Harper was chosen to be the 59th individual to serve as the Mayor of Huntington Beach. As Mayor, Matthew Harper worked to complete the Vans Skate Park, broke ground on a new senior center, and sought to repeal several laws, including the 1987 ban on state-approved fireworks. In his four years on the Huntington Beach City Council, Harper "built a reputation as conservative, pro-business and unafraid."
From 2007–2011, Harper served as a policy advisor and deputy chief of staff to then-Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen. In 2011, Harper served as an appointee to the five-member Orange County Redistricting Committee.
For two years, Harper was the elected Chairman for the Young Republican Federation of California (YRFC) and served on their state board for over ten years. Locally, Harper has been elected to several terms to the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee. Harper has served on the executive committee for the OCGOP. Statewide, Harper served as the elected Associate Representative to the California Republican Party. As Associate Representative, Harper was an ex-officio member of the state platform committee. Assemblyman Matthew Harper continues as a delegate to the California Republican Party.
2014 California State Assembly
|California's 74th State Assembly district election, 2014|
2016 California State Assembly
|California's 74th State Assembly district election, 2016|
|Republican||Matthew Harper (incumbent)||42,317||38.9|
|Republican||Matthew Harper (incumbent)||114,477||56.2|