In November, Tri Ta – managing editor of NAILS’ companion Vietnamese language publication VietSALON – was elected to represent the residents of Westminster, Calif., as a new member of its city council. Urged to run by friends within the city’s large Vietnamese community, Tri built his campaign on the foundation of coalition building, reaching out to all members of the community.

Tri won the race (his first) by a narrow margin and didn’t even know he’d won until several weeks after the election when all the absentee and provisional ballots were counted. His agenda as councilman is simple: to be the best public servant he can be. Tri, who came to the United States in 1992 and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, feels proud and a little surprised by his success. “I’m proud to serve the nail community with my work at VietSALON and now I’m honored that I’ve received this new opportunity to serve Westminster residents on the city council,” he says.