Viet Voice

Tri Ta Becomes the First Vietnamese-American Elected Mayor in the United States

by Kimberly Pham | December 17, 2012 | Bookmark +

Newly-elected Mayor Tri Ta was sworn into office on Dec. 12, 2012 as the first Vietnamese-American elected mayor in the United States.

VietSALON Magazine managing editor Tri Ta has a new title to add to his name — mayor for the City of Westminster, Calif. As managing editor of VietSALON for the last six years, Ta has been an integral part of its success, coming on board at the magazine’s infancy in 2006 and building the content and connections with manufacturers and salon owners to help strengthen the nail industry, dedicated to bringing valuable information to Vietnamese salon professionals to help better their businesses.

He had taken a step back in 2009 to allow for more time to help the community as an elected councilman and then as Mayor Pro Tem for the city of Westminster, as well as continuously being a voice and leader within the Vietnamese community. But Ta continues to be the backbone of VietSALON Magazine, writing, translating, and editing.

State Sen. Lou Correa (far right) congratulates the newly-elected Westminster City Council. From left to right: newly-appointed Mayor Pro Tem Andy Quach (standing council member), Diana Carey, Sergio Contreras, Mayor Ta, and Margie Rice, who stepped down as the longest-serving mayor of Westminster, later appointed to fill the vacant council seat.

Now Ta takes the helm as mayor for the City of Westminster, whose population is 40% Vietnamese, the largest concentration of Vietnamese residents in the country. This poses a unique obstacle for the first elected mayor of Vietnamese descent. Ta must walk a fine line by catering to all communities within his city equally, as well as continuing to represent as a leader within the largest Vietnamese-American community.

“I am honored and grateful for this opportunity. I will serve the people with patience, determination, and will listen with an open mind. With my six years of experience I believe I will continue to help to move the city forward,” Ta says.

Such a responsibility to help multiple communities would be too great a feat for any one person. But Tri is centered by his family and by a personal commitment to himself as a philosopher, poet, and martial artist. He and his wife are also avid hikers, finding peace in nature and publishing books of their own poetry, many of which are inspired by the natural world. His philosophy: “Be honest to yourself, to your family, and to your community."

Ta’s win, a milestone for the Vietnamese-American community, has not gone unnoticed, with reports from the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, a radio interview with Southern California Public Radio 89.3 KPCC host Frank Skoltze, an interview with SoCal Insider’s Rick Reiff on PBS’ local programming (episode: Nov. 29, 2012), and a slew of interviews from local Vietnamese television, radio, and print media.

Ta’s advance in his new role as mayor-elect goes to show that the Vietnamese-American voice is a powerful voice. Together, we can make a difference if we come together to support each other in the community.

Even with the added title and pressure, Ta will continue to translate and write stories on the latest news, products, and services in the professional nail industry and I am honored to work alongside him to provide you, our readers, with the most valuable content.

— Kim
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