Vietnamese Refugee Now One of the First Asian American Women Elected to Virginia’s State House

Democrat Kathy Tran defeated Republican Lolita Mancheno-Smoak after taking home the victory 61% to 39% on Tuesday.

She joins Filipina-American Kelly Fowler, delegate-elect for Virginia’s 21st District, to become one of Virginia’s first Asian-American female delegates to represent the 42nd District. 

Delegate Mark Keam in the 35th District is also part of an ever-expanding Asian-American community in Northern Virginia, according to Connection.

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The Vietnamese Democratic candidate’s historic achievement is a significant win for the community given that 58% of her district’s population consists of Asian immigrants.

Democratic Caucus Chairwoman Charniele Herring complimented Tran saying that she has “proven her commitment to Virginia’s working families in her work with both the Department of Labor and the National Immigration Forum.”

“As the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, Kathy’s record of excellent leadership and advocacy is a powerful testament to the American Dream,” Herring added.

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As for Tran’s opposition Mancheno-Smoak, she was an early supporter of President Donald Trump during the elections and even described him as a “positive disruptor.”

However, majority of the voters in the 42nd District didn’t share the same sentiments as Mancheno-Smoak since they rejected Trump and his views.

AAPI Victory Fund Activist Hyun Lee expressed his support for the change that Tran is bringing by saying, “The AAPI Victory Fund will continue to support candidates across America that understand and stand up for our community.”

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“There is no room for intolerance and racism in Virginia,” Lee stated.

According to the official campaign site, Tran and her parents left Vietnam as boat refugees when she was just 7 months old. Tran’s family sacrificed a lot in order to reach the United States and they believed that the country “represented hope, opportunity and freedom.”

Image via Twitter / Kathy Tran

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