5 Vietnamese Americans elected to Oregon House

five viets
  • Newly elected representatives Dr. Hai Pham (D, OR-36), Dr. Thuy Tran (D, OR-45), Hoa Nguyen (D, OR-48), Daniel Nguyen (D, OR-38) and incumbent lawmaker Khanh Pham (D, OR-46) are all set to take their seats in the Oregon House on Jan. 9, 2023.
  • By occupying 8% of the seats in the state legislature, the lawmakers have become the largest group of Vietnamese American state representatives in the country.
  • Rep. Khanh Pham noted that while the wins represent “the resilience of refugees and their children,” it would be a mistake to generalize them over their racial backgrounds.

Oregon now has the largest group of Vietnamese American lawmakers in the country following the election of four new Vietnamese representatives and one incumbent Vietnamese lawmaker this month.

Hillsboro dentist Dr. Hai Pham (D, OR-36), Northeast Portland optometrist Dr. Thuy Tran (D, OR-45), Portland Public Schools attendance officer Hoa Nguyen (D, OR-48) and Lake Oswego restaurant owner Daniel Nguyen (D, OR-38) are all set to join incumbent Khanh Pham (D, OR-46) when they assume office on Jan. 9, 2023.

With the victories, Vietnamese Americans now represent 8% of the lawmakers in the Oregon House, which is larger than the 6% Asian American population in Oregon, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Khanh Pham, who first won her seat in 2020, defeated Republican Timothy Sytsma in District 46 with over 82% of the vote on Nov. 8.

Dr. Tran garnered nearly 84% of the votes in District 45 to defeat Republican candidate George Donnerberg, while Dr. Hai Pham received over 60% of the votes to defeat Republican Greer Trice for the District 36 seat. 

Hoa Nguyen won 54% of the votes in District 48 to defeat Republican John Masterman, while Daniel Nguyen beat Republican Alistair Firmin by securing over 69% of the vote in District 38. 

Following her win, Dr. Tran published a statement on her website celebrating the support from the Vietnamese community in Multnomah County. 

“One of which I’m proud of is to have been able to be supported by so many members of our community, and to stand alongside a record number of other Vietnamese Americans running for office this year,” she wrote. 

Rep. Khanh Pham told Willamette Week that the Vietnamese Americans’ victory sweep is a “testament to the resilience of refugees and their children, as well as an inspiring story of the evolving meaning of what it means to be American.”

She noted, however, that the five should not be generalized solely by their racial backgrounds. 

“Each of us have very different backgrounds—from business, to healthcare to education, and climate justice,” she was quoted as saying. “Our election wins demonstrate that Vietnamese people (as with other communities of color) are not a monolith, and cannot be reduced to a simplistic or narrow agendas. We are as broad, diverse, and complicated as any other community.”

 

Featured Image via Dr. Thuy Tran, Daniel Nguyen, Dick Hughes, Hoa Nguyen, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon

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