The two cities that make up the majority of Little Saigon are now being led by Vietnamese Americans for the first time after a final count of ballots in this month’s elections.
Bao Nguyen, a Garden Grove school trustee, beat veteran political figure Bruce Broadwater to become mayor of Garden Grove. In neighboring Westminster, voters elected Mayor Tri Ta.
Nguyen won the mayor’s race by just 15 votes, as the Orange County Registrar of Voters continued to count ballots for nearly two weeks after the election.
Little Saigon, the nation’s largest Vietnamese American enclave, sprawls over four cities but the heart of the community is in Westminster and Garden Grove.
Nguyen, 34, will become the second Vietnamese American mayor of a U.S. city and the first such elected mayor of a U.S. city with more than 100,000 residents. He’s believed to be the youngest mayor in Garden Grove’s history.
“I’m excited to begin the work of instituting common sense reforms and changing the culture at City Hall to be more transparent, efficient and inclusive,” Nguyen said.
Apart from Nguyen’s work on the school board, he serves on the Orange County Fair Board and is a member of the Commission on Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.