Do you ever wonder what Alabama politics and government might look like 20 years or even 50 years from now?

You might get a glimpse of Alabama’s political future by taking a good look at Derek Chen, a young Republican activist in Vestavia Hills.

Chen is a lawyer, having graduated from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham. He is now studying for an executive master's degree in business administration at the University of Alabama.

Chen has a unique story. Born in Orange County, Calif., to Taiwanese immigrants to the United States, Chen has chosen to settle in Alabama and make it his permanent home.

At age 26, Chen is already making a difference in Republican politics in Alabama. So far, it has been a behind-the-scenes difference, with Chen supporting Republican candidates he believes can make a positive difference. He has built a strong network of conservatives over the state. 

What does Derek Chen do for those candidates he supports? Well, it's not unusual to see him at political events, hosting fundraisers, huddling with candidates, and helping to coordinate news coverage.

Derek Chen has previously visited Donald Trump's home and headquarters in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, meeting with the 45th President and various Trump leaders. Might he be tapped for a role in a future Trump administration? Or perhaps another Republican presidential administration down the road?

And what about Derek Chen as a candidate himself in future Alabama elections? State legislature? Congress? Secondary statewide office? Time will tell, and at the ripe age of 26, time is one thing Derek Chen has on his side.

Chen’s family history and heritage make him a strong, conservative Republican. His forebears’ people, the Taiwanese, are some of the staunchest anti-communists on the face of the Earth. That’s partly because Taiwan sits on the Pacific Island of Formosa, just off the coast of Red China. Taiwan is under the threat of a communist Chinese attack 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. The Taiwanese people fought with the communist Chinese for decades. The Kuomintang “Nationalist Chinese” were ejected from mainland China and effectively banished offshore to Taiwan in the aftermath of the Chinese Civil War, which was waged between 1927 and 1949.

As a proud American born to legal immigrants to the United States from Taiwan, Chen understands the threat that communism and socialism pose to our American society. He also understands that the world's bulwark of freedom and liberty is the United States of America.

Chen is featured on Alabama political historian Steve Flowers’ statewide TV show, “Alabama Politics with Steve Flowers,” talking about his unique Alabama story. While Flowers is a historian of Alabama politics's past, Chen could be the custodian of Alabama politics' future.

Watch Chen on Flowers' show:

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.