Monday, November 11, 2013

Congratulations to Betsy Hodges, Mayor-elect of Minneapolis

I had the chance to visit briefly with Betsy Hodges in the last days of her campaign to become mayor of Minneapolis. She will be only the fourth mayor the Lao community has ever known since our diaspora began. She ran on a platform built on inclusiveness, and I'm delighted to see already many Lao and Southeast Asian constituents getting involved, many for the very first time since coming to the US in the 1980s.

I found Mayor Hodges to be very intelligent and up-to-date on the issues, and I appreciated the way she took time to speak to our Lao girls and encouraged them to one day run for office. She's the only candidate I know of who has done so.

Minneapolis is home to almost 70% of the Lao population in Minnesota, which has the 3rd largest Lao population in the US next to California and Minnesota. Most of them live in North Minneapolis. They've had amazing success there, including myself. But those of us who are struggling are really struggling. Over half of our community is under the age of 18, and with test scores being what they are, I hope that the Mayor and city council will do their best to fix the system to meet our needs and prepare our community for the next evolution of the city into the 2020s.

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