My-Linh Thai

What position are you running for?
State Representative, position 2 – Legislative District 41

What motivate you to run for this particular position now?
I was driving home from a Washington State School Directors Association Regional meeting when I received a phone call, informing me that Representative Judy Clibborn announced her retirement that morning and asking whether I would consider running as State Representative for the Legislative District 41.

As I serve in the capacity of School Board Director, I have learned that there are many social factors, outside of the classroom, that impact students’ readiness to learn. There are students who are experiencing homelessness, or face discrimination on a daily basis, or whose only healthy meal that day is his/her school lunch….these are some of the reality our youths and their families face today. Not only in the Bellevue School District do we witness these situations, but we also see them across other school districts. I have learned that not all of our students and families have access to healthcare, even the very basic. I have learned that many of our students and families having to move from one apartment to another due to unaffordable rent, despite holding 2-3 jobs.

Since the Great Recession of 2008, State Legislature has made significant cuts to Public Health and Public Safety has not made significant investment in this area. I would like to work with physicians, nurses, therapists, and those who are advocating for important services to keep our public healthy and safe.

Last, but not least is the opportunity and responsibility to share our refugee’s stories and participating in decisions which reflect the fundamental fact that this country is built by immigrants and that our stories should be celebrated.

What strengths/qualifications do you bring to this position?
I have the privilege being elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2017 to serve as School Board Director for the Bellevue School District. During the past five years, I have not only advocated for the 20,000 plus students of the Bellevue School District, but worked collaboratively with Board Directors across the State through legislative process to advocate for 1.1 million students across the State.

I also have experience working with refugee health. After graduating from the University of Washington, School of Pharmacy, I worked with the King County Department of Public Health Refugee Clinic. I have witnessed and learned first-hand the importance of programs that educate and provide preventive health services to those who don’t have access to mainstream health system.

Being a refugee, arriving to the United States in 1983 with no knowledge of English, I wear that with pride. Through perseverance and gratitude, I am now at a place where I have not only the opportunity but the responsibility to give back.

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?
When elected, I would like to:

1. Legislate to amply fund WA State Public Education and an equitable educational system where each and every youth are supported to reach their full potentials.

2. Legislate to fund Public Health and Public Safety where every person in WA State have access to healthcare, dental care and mental health care; and that every person deserves to feel safe and be safe in public space afforded to them by the Constitution.

3. Work on building an infra-structure where healthy community-building is central

What are your hope for the Vietnamese community and how do you plan to contribute to making that hope a reality?
My hope is that as our Vietnamese community grows and matures, our Vietnamese culture will be preserved so that our future generations know their roots and learn to love the richness of the Vietnamese culture through Arts, Literatures, and Food.
Secondly, I hope that our Vietnamese community would actively engage in civics as part of our rights in America.

Last, but not least, I hope that we continue to share our stories and when we have an opportunity to lead, we will step up and serve to further the pursuits of liberty and freedom which our parent generations have sacrificed for us to experience and protect.
In my capacity, I wish to collaborate with many organizations currently working to preserve the Vietnamese tradition and culture and by running for office, I wish to serve as a trail blazer for many more young Vietnamese-American leaders to enter the public service / state government since our lives are impacted by many of the legislative decisions.

Tam Dinh

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