Ma has opened a campaign committee for the Board of Equalization race and said Monday that veteran Richie Ross will be her political consultant in seeking a seat stretching from the Oregon border to Santa Barbara County.
"It's making my parents very happy that my education is not going to waste," quipped Ma, who received a master's degree in taxation from Golden Gate University and is a certified public accountant.
Ma was forced to make a decision about her political future because she will be termed out of the Assembly next year.
Ma said she had planned to run for state Sen. Leland Yee's seat if he had won the recent race for San Francisco mayor, but he lost this month to acting Mayor Ed Lee.
California's recent redrawing of political districts cost San Francisco a Senate district that would have been attractive to Ma.
Her only viable options for remaining in the Legislature next year were to run for the state Senate seat of incumbent Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, or to relocate and run against Assemblyman Jerry Hill in a Peninsula Senate district, Ma said
She rejected both options. Leno and Hill are good friends - and the Peninsula is not her home base, Ma said.
Weeks ago, Ma married Jason Hodge, an Oxnard Harbor commissioner who is running for the state Senate. Because Yee's Board of Equalization seat stretches to Santa Barbara, Ma said that winning the post would allow her to spend more time near Hodge's Ventura County roots.
"I think everything just kind of worked out," she said of her decision to seek a seat on the tax commission, which administers the state's sales, property and special tax programs, and acts as an appellate body for franchise and income tax appeals.
PHOTO CREDIT: Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco speaks on the Assembly floor in 2009. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench