We’ve heard from another candidate who has entered the race for our area’s 34th District State Senate seat, open since Sen. Sharon Nelson is not running for re-election. Here’s the announcement from Joe Nguyen‘s campaign:
Joe Nguyen, a Senior Manager at Microsoft who was born and raised in the 34th Legislative District, announced he would run for State Senate. The son of Vietnamese refugees and father of two, Nguyen aims to succeed retiring Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson for the open seat. He is off to a strong start with an early endorsement from Senator Bob Hasegawa.
Nguyen’s involvement in the Seattle area is lifelong, multi-faceted and represents a lived experience that is deeply connected with the values of hard work and service in this community. His mother escaped Vietnam with his sister on her back – and floated for weeks in the Pacific until seen by a Coast Guard plane and picked up by a cargo ship. He was born and raised in White Center/Burien, where his parents settled.
At Microsoft, Nguyen is working to provide accessible job training resources that empowers all people
with the right – often new – skills needed to succeed in this rapidly changing, technologically dependent economy.
“As the father of two young children and husband to an all-star educator, there is no issue more important than education,” said Nguyen. “Our state should be a national leader, not only in providing the kind of education that sets our kids up for success, but in reducing inequity and disparity. Fully funding our state’s obligation for education is essential, but it is not enough. Our teachers need better pay and benefits; our kids need resources in the classroom and beyond – whatever it takes so all students arrive at school ready to learn and thrive.”
Nguyen serves as the Associate Board Chairperson at Wellspring Family Services, which partners with families experiencing homelessness. This year, he helped Wellspring promote and advocate for legislation that will incorporate training in trauma-informed child care for early learning providers in Washington. This legislation was signed by Governor Inslee in March.
Nguyen is committed to finding solutions, so our residents can afford to stay here. “Seattle grows more unaffordable every day. People are worried they will no longer be able to live in their homes because they can’t afford the taxes. Health care costs, property taxes and rents are rising faster than wages. Despite Washington having one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, many residents right here in the 34th, don’t have any access to that prosperity.”
Nguyen was appointed by the King County Council to the Community Advisory Committee for the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO). He serves as a bridge between the community and the King County Sheriff’s Office in efforts to hold law enforcement accountable for providing fair and just police services to the public. “Along with law enforcement de-escalation resources and training,” Nguyen said, “Washington must implement solutions to decrease the epidemic of gun violence. There were nearly 700 firearm-related deaths last year in the state. We need stronger gun laws and policies to protect our children and save lives.”
Nguyen attended Highline Public Schools, John F. Kennedy High School in Burien, and graduated from Seattle University, where he was a two-term student body President. He lives with his wife Tallie, a former Highline Public School teacher who taught for a decade, and their two children near the West Seattle Junction.
“I am excited for the opportunity to amplify the voices and ensure a seat at the table for all our
neighbors, community members, business owners, teachers, immigrants, union workers and families that make our community such a special place to live.”
America is made greatest by its immigrants and refugees. If elected, Nguyen would be the first legislator of Vietnamese heritage in Washington and despite being one of the most diverse communities in the state, he would also be the first legislator of color from the 34th district.