I am a proud Hmong American, part of that first generation born in this country to refugee parents from war torn Laos. My parents who were simple farmers and spoke no English when they arrived in Minnesota some 40 years ago, worked hard to make sure their children could one day have more and better opportunities than they did.
As the oldest in the family, my first responsibilities as soon as I was old enough were to look after my siblings, cook for them, teach them, be a good example for them. My other responsibility was to be the interpreter for my parents all those years growing up. My father worked two jobs to make ends meet and my mother worked in an assembly. Both my parents did not have much of a formal education, but they had strength and determination, and they were able to keep a roof over our heads.
I did not get to where I am today alone. My parents were political refugees, uprooted by war, resettled in a place they knew very little about. We survived those early years on food stamps, on state and county programs for the poor. We relied on local charities and the kindness of neighbors and even strangers when times got tough. I remember my father’s workplace donated toys for us during Christmas.
I cannot tell you how much my parents sacrificed for me. Because of their hard work for 35 years, I am a proud product of St. Paul Public Schools, graduated from St. Olaf College, came back home to work and organize in the city I love. A city and an Eastside that has given my family so much, I am truly grateful.
In the last 10 years, I have been organizing and building capacity with partners, organizers and activists across the Twin Cities. I have worked in our public schools. I’ve led nonprofits to get out the vote. I have helped run many campaigns, and dedicated myself to civic engagement and political participation. It is in this spirit of service that I wish to serve you at our State Capitol, in representing you and all of us on the Eastside in District 67B.
When my good friend and Representative Sheldon Johnson decided to retire a few months ago, I decided that the time has come for me to step up and serve the good people of the Eastside. The Eastside of St. Paul is a great place because of Representative Sheldon Johnson’s service and leadership to the Eastside, and to our great state of Minnesota. I have always looked up to him as a model as well role model legislator and public service leader, and I am thankful, and most humbled for his support of my campaign.
As a candidate running for public office, and as a young Hmong American who knows the struggles as well as opportunities in this state, I believe that when we care for one another, look after one another, and work together, we can accomplish many great things.
I want to be your voice at the Minnesota House of Representatives. I ask for your support, your vote, and your contribution.