But they know they’ll need more than anti-Trump sentiment to win.
By Daniel Marans
RICHMOND, Va. ― When Kathy Tran and her husband found out their fourth child was due on Inauguration Day, they were excited. Tran, the daughter of Vietnamese refugees and a workforce development specialist, assumed her preferred candidate, Democrat Hillary Clinton, would win.
“It was fantastic,” she recalled. “How apropos that our baby would be due on Inauguration Day!”
But after Donald Trump’s victory, the impending birth took on a different significance as the couple wondered whether a country of immigrants was turning its back on newcomers. They decided to name their daughter Elise Minh Khanh, a name heavy with symbolism. “Elise” was for “Ellis Island,” where Tran’s husband’s Jewish ancestors arrived in the United States. “Minh Khanh,” which means “bright bell” in Vietnamese, references the the Liberty Bell.
“Her name means to us, ‘Ring the bells of liberty and champion opportunity for all,’” Tran explained.
But giving her baby a poetic name was not enough.
“I could not just give such an aspirational name to my baby and expect that she rise to the occasion and create that future for herself and her generation,” she said. “So I had to jump in myself.”
Tran, 38, decided to run for a Virginia House of Delegates seat representing the swath of northern Virginia suburbs where she lives. She is hoping to unseat Dave Albo, the 42nd district’s Republican incumbent. Voters in the district opted for Clinton by a 20-point margin, and she hopes that turning out those voters will be enough to dislodge Albo after nearly 24 years in office.
Tran is one of dozens of House of Delegates candidates who gathered over coffee and Jimmy John’s sandwiches for the Virginia Democratic House Caucus’ new candidate training seminar in downtown Richmond on March 18.