Law professor runs for U.S. Senate seat, wants to strike ‘lightning’ in Washington

Jan Ting is not teaching at the Temple Law School this semester. In fact, he is hoping that he will not have the opportunity to teach at the Temple Law School for the next six years.

Ting is running for a U.S. Senate seat in his home state, Delaware, and took a leave of absence this semester in order to campaign.

As the official candidate of the Republican Party, he is running against incumbent Democratic candidate Thomas Carper and Libertarian Party candidate William Morris, as well as several write-in candidates.

Ting, the son of Chinese immigrant parents who came to the U.S. to study, was born in 1948 in Ann Arbor, Mich. His father beat Chinese exclusion laws and gained citizenship while on active duty serving as a medical doctor during World War II.

Ting said that his father’s military service gave him a strong passion for the U.S. political system.

“My parents always taught me that the electoral process was important. My father was a World War II veteran and that always reminded me that people died for the rights we have,” Ting said.

Ting is running his campaign for Senate on the platforms of immigration reform, tax reform and national security. He also plans to reform several issues that he said no one in Congress today is willing to talk about.

“Social Security, Medicare and healthcare are all heading for a train wreck,” Ting said. “None of our elected officials seem concerned about that. They are all out raising money for their own campaigns.

Progress on these issues is difficult, if not impossible. Because they have no term limits, they put off working on these issues.”

Ting attended Oberlin College and received his bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies. He then attended the University of Hawaii to continue his studies. For him, Hawaii was an easy choice.

“I got a good scholarship from the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii,” Ting said. “They picked up all of my expenses.”

After gradating from the University of Hawaii, Ting received his law degree from Harvard University in 1975. It was after graduation that he moved to Philadelphia
with his wife, Helen Page Ting.

He worked as a lawyer specializing in tax law until 1977, when he joined the Temple Law School faculty. As a relatively new law school graduate, Ting said he had more in common with some of the students than he expected.

“I started teaching at Temple two years out of law school,” Ting said. “I taught the evening division. Many of my students were older than I was – I remember that year well.”

In recent years, Ting taught classes that focused on tax law and immigration law, and he served as the director of the Graduate Tax Program from 1994 to 2001. Ting said that his work in an academic environment supported his political interests and knowledge.

“It’s given me the opportunity to think about these issues, as well as write and discuss them,” Ting said.

In addition to teaching, Ting also has a long history of working in politics.

He left Temple in 1990 to serve as assistant commissioner at the Immigration & Naturalization Service for the Department of Justice under George H. W. Bush. In 1993, he returned to the Temple Law School.

“When my boss left, I left,” Ting said.

“After Clinton won the election, the whole administration changed and I returned to my teaching post at Temple.

Ting also testified before the 9/11 commission on issues regarding national security and immigration.

“I testified that the borders of this country are wide open and we needed to do something,” Ting said. “One of their points after the fact was that we need to secure the borders.”

Ting has been a resident of Wilmington, Del. since 1983 and is currently a guest professor at Widener University in Wilmington. Ting said that he hopes his campaign in Delaware will serve as motivation for lawmakers across the country.

“If I am elected, it’s going to be a wake-up call. It’s going to be a lightning bolt to complacent Washington,
D.C. People will wake up and say, ‘Who is this guy? Where did he come from? What are his issues?’ My issues will become the national issues,” Ting said.

Whether he is elected or not, Ting said he hopes to continue his relationship with the university.

“It’s gone on for a long time and I don’t see any reason why my election to the U.S. Senate would change that,” Ting said.

Alex Irwin can be reached at a.irwin@temple.edu.

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