Bao Nguyen–one of Orange County's rising, young political stars–announced today that he is running for mayor of Garden Grove, his hometown city.
The intellectually-weighty, calm but irrepressible son of Vietnam War refugees, Nguyen–currently a trustee of the Garden Grove Unified School District's Board of Education–says he can help make serious improvements in city affairs for residents.
"I want to return focus back to our neighborhoods and businesses," the UC Irvine graduate said in a statement. "Our neighborhoods need attention as much as our tourism industry. We should be a city where our children will choose to stay, raise families and grow businesses."
On the school board, Nguyen's achievements have included improving learning standards for students in language skills as well as fighting homophobic plots to ban gay and lesbian Vietnamese American citizens from participating in the annual Tet parade in Little Saigon.
If elected mayor, he says improving Garden Grove's infrastructure is a top goal.
"My priority is ensuring our city is accountable to families and taxpayers by having responsible budgets that focus resources on livable neighborhoods," said Nguyen, who enjoys allies in the county's labor union community. "Our sidewalks, road and streetlights need repair."
He says he wants to strengthen commercial infrastructure to attract high-paying, technology company jobs and to help residents, particularly senior citizens, get access to important healthcare.
Among Nguyen's opponents will be Bruce Broadwater, the current mayor who is seen by many observers–to be overly kind–as the fossil-like, slippery tool of certain business special interests in the city.
Nguyen won 2013 honors in OC Weekly's annual People issue and first saw national media attention as a college student in 2000 after my news article involving Sen. John McCain's use of the slur "gook."