Hoan Huynh, the first refugee and first Vietnamese American elected to state office in Illinois history, was sworn in on Wednesday.
Representing the 13th State House District, the Democrat succeeds retiring House Majority Leader Greg Harris. The 13th State House District, covering the North Side Chicago neighborhoods, is home to 110,128 residents, about 45 percent of whom are part of a racial or ethnic minority group.
Huynh was born in Vietnam to Vietnamese Chinese parents. His father fought in the Vietnam War alongside American troops. In the early 1990s, Huynh’s family accepted asylum and moved to the U.S.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University along with a master’s degree from Harvard University. Prior to running for office, Huynh worked distributing social impact investments at community organization Chicago Beyond.
Huynh also made history as the first Asian American to represent the Chicago North Side in the General Assembly as well as the first person of color to represent the 13th State House District.
With 40,168 votes cast, Huynh received 36,367 votes — an overwhelming 90.5 percent of the total vote count.
First-time voters, younger voters, LGBTQ-plus voters, seniors, women, immigrants and communities of color were among the voter demographics attributed to Huynh’s victory.
“It is only in the United States of America, and the great city of Chicago and state of Illinois that a refugee from Vietnam can come here with nothing but hope, have access to opportunities, and be elected as the next State Representative of the 13th District,” Huynh stated.
“We must continue the fight for a progressive, equitable, and inclusive future where everyone, regardless of where you come from, your ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and religion, would have access to opportunity and safety.”