Duy Nguyen considers himself a black sheep.
The Fountain Valley City Council candidate's only political experience is from studying it in school.
He said that while he lacks a political history, his life as a working man should be considered because he understands the finances to help the city balance its budget. Other candidates, he said, may not understand the limited resources that the city has, and spending needs to be watched more carefully to ensure the city doesn't fall into a deficit.
Politicians need to know how to adapt to new situations, Nguyen said, and his experience as a banker, which meant he was confronted with many changes after the 2008 financial crisis, has allowed him to adapt quickly. Some of his opponents may not have the skills or time needed to adapt to change, he said, either due to age or work status.
"For the candidate who just graduated high school, their greatest responsibility is going to college," said Nguyen, a Fountain Valley resident for five years and a banker for 18. "The two candidates who are running against me that are retired have no concerns. They're well off. They're done. A leader needs to adapt to each and every employee because they need to understand the difficulties of their lives and families."
Nguyen, who also ran for the council in 2010 and lost, said he is better prepared for his campaign this time and has more community supporters. He also said that he is not seeking endorsements because he wants to show that the city is his only concern and that he is not affiliated with any particular group.
On his platform, Nguyen stresses the importance of helping small businesses that may be struggling due to the city's current regulations.
"Having a small business is like having a baby," said Nguyen, who previously owned two financial companies. "You need to constantly protect, budget and basically cater your life to that business. The city needs to understand that we can't make it so hard for small businesses to start or to progress."
Nguyen also said that Fountain Valley needs to reevaluate all of its budgets and make cuts where they are needed. He cited road construction on Edinger Avenue and Brookhurst Street, for example, which he said costs money that could be used for more needed projects.
Union contracts for city employees also need to be renegotiated, he said, because the city can't risk laying off additional staff, including the police department and the fire department, which would make the city less safe to live in.
Patrick Tucker, a fellow council candidate who has a similar working background, said that he believes in having community members on the council.
"I strongly believe that if you bring in people from the private sector, they have a different outlook than someone who has been in the public light their whole life," said Tucker, the vice president of operations for Allen Tire Company. "They bring a different perspective in government. Duy's got a financial background, so I think he would do well to help with the budget."