Kathy Tran has come a long way since she first arrived in the U.S. with her parents as refugees from Vietnam.
The 42nd District’s new representative in Virginia’s House of Delegates was not even 2 years old when her family fled their home country, but she still remembers the experience of watching her parents rebuild their lives in a foreign place with empty pockets.
There are more women delegates in the Virginia House of Delegates than ever before. In November, Democrats flipped 15 seats in the lower chamber — eleven of them were won by women.
In dozens of interviews with TIME, progressive women described undergoing a metamorphosis...Now, in 2018, these doctors and mothers and teachers and executives are jumping into the arena and bringing new energy to a Democratic Party sorely in need of fresh faces. About four times as many Democratic women are running for House seats as Republican women, according to the Center for American Women and Politics; in the Senate, the ratio is 2 to 1.
Women have reached a high mark in the Virginia General Assembly this year, taking 38 out of 140 seats and starting to reshape the culture of a Southern capital often seen as an old boys’ club.
The surge was part of November’s Democratic sweep in the House of Delegates that flipped 15 seats, replacing 11 men with women. Women now hold a record 28 of 100 seats in the chamber, up from 17 last year. They make up nearly half of the Democratic caucus.
One of the first Asian-American women elected to the Virginia House of Delegates tells Broadly that she'll "continue to take a stance against the damaging policies of the Trump administration."
On Nov. 7, Kathy Tran, a refugee from Vietnam, became one of the first Asian-American women elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Her experience as a refugee fleeing violence and persecution inspired her to run for office and build a more welcoming culture for immigrants in America.
"On Tuesday, our victory in the 42nd District, and in elections across Virginia and the nation, showed that Americans are not only rejecting racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and hate, but also that we are absolutely affirming that hope, opportunity, and freedom for all are at the heart of our democracy. These are American values and they will prevail."
Democrat Kathy Tran swamped Republican Lolita Mancheno-Smoak with a runaway victory, 61 percent to 39 percent. She ended up with 7,000 more votes than the Republican in the GOP-held seat.
“Kathy Tran has been a champion for our community and I’m proud to endorse her," said civil rights leader Dolores Huerta. "She’s always stood up for Latinos, immigrants, and working families, and I know she’ll do the same thing in Richmond. A vote for Kathy Tran is a powerful way to send a message to Donald Trump and to all of America that Virginia won’t stand for bigotry and dishonesty. Sí se puede!”
On a late October afternoon, Tran, a 39-year-old workforce policy expert, put on her well-worn tennis shoes and strapped her 9-month-old daughter into a baby carrier to canvass the winding, suburban streets of Springfield.
As she talked to neighbors about traffic congestion and education, her daughter coo’ed and kicked her legs.
The Republican in that race is Lolita Mancheno-Smoak. She says Trump is a positive disruptor.
The Democrat in that race, Kathy Tran, disagrees with that assessment. “Like Trump, Lolita would defund Planned Parenthood. That’s definitely not a positive disruption. And Trumpcare, in its most extreme form would take away health care from 800,000 Virginians, again not a positive disruption.”
On The Kojo Nnamdi Show today, Kathy Tran laid out why she's running and the clear contrast in her race for the Virginia House of Delegates.
Republican Lolita Mancheno-Smoak is a proud supporter of President Donald Trump, a man she calls a "positive disruptor." Democrat Kathy Tran has emerged as a leading voice of the opposition to a Republican White House.
“I’m doing this for my kids,” said Tran. “I’m a mom of four, and I want to make sure that my kids have the best and brightest future and not just them but all the other children and families in my community, and that’s what this election is really all about.”
If and when she prevails in the November 7 general election, Kathy Tran would be the third Asian American delegate to the Virginia State Assembly. She would also be the first Vietnamese American elected at any level in Virginia.
But this is not the reason Tran is running for public office for the first time. In telephone and email interviews, her sincerity and passion for public service sparkled. “There is so much at stake in Virginia this November,” she said. “The entire country is watching what happens here.”
"I believe Ms. Tran will be a great influence in our community as we continue to work through transportation, tax, education and other issues that affect the ability and desirability of living in Northern Virginia," said Katharine Kratovil, 2017 NV/RPAC Trustees Vice-Chair and a constituent of the 42nd District. Tran demonstrated her support of proposals that facilitate the American Dream of homeownership, be it quality of education or the avoidance of unnecessary regulation.
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