Against considerable odds, California State Senator Janet Nguyen was recently elected a California State Senator. According to the LA Times, she is not a stranger to being cast as the underdog.
Nguyen defeated heavily favored Democrat Jose Solorio, who was endorsed by Governor Brown, to become the first Vietnamese American elected to the state senate in US history.
As a child, Nguyen and her family escaped Vietnam after the communist takeover. Although separated from her parents for a period, Nguyen ultimately reached Thailand via boat, and from there was sponsored by a church organization as she and her family arrived in America.
“[When we arrived], we were on welfare with food stamps and bought clothes from the Salvation Army. When I was 10, I’d go along with other people to help clean houses and make a little money. My parents had different odd jobs,” Nguyen said.
Ultimately inspired to venture into politics by a political science professor, Nguyen views politics as an opportunity to represent her community.
“I wanted to be at the table for someone like me, a woman, a minority, a refugee, a taxpayer. I wanted to be at the table when laws were created. I believe that government works for the people.” Nguyen said.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Nguyen in the state capitol. To learn more about her political philosophy, visit the LA Times.