Nation’s first Vietnamese-American mayor takes office in Westminster

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

Westminster Mayor Trin Tra sits in his newly won seat

Winning a seat on a local city council is an honor in itself. Being elected mayor makes a statement. Tri Ta is not only the newest mayor of the Orange County city of Westminster but he is the first Vietnamese American elected in the nation. As you can imagine, he will be watched closely.

“I recognize I am the first Vietnamese American mayor, that’s why there will be a lot more responsibility on my shoulders but at the same time I’m a really fair person. I’m here to help everyone, every community in my city. If you want to move a city forward, we all have to work together, we need to encourage each other. By understanding every person’s concerns, I believe I will be able to help this city,” said Ta.

John Tran in Rosemead became mayor in 2007 but that position was rotated among councilmembers.

Westminster is home to the largest Vietnamese district outside of Vietnam-Little Saigon.  It is also the first city in the nation to have a Vietnamese American majority on the council.

Ta isn’t new to the city politics, he’s been on the council for six years.

“I understand the city, I understand the community, I understand the demands and needs from the people in Westminster.”

Ta arrived in the U.S. from Saigon in 1992 when he was 19 years old with his parents and sisters. Since college, he’s always had a passion for politics and government.

“In order to make any community better, we need to work together. We need to understand each other more, we need to learn from each other more and by listening to the people’s concerns, it’s then and only then, will government improve,” said Ta.

As mayor he will face a lot of challenges, however, one of his main priorities is to engage and educate the Asian American communities.

“The Asian community in California is growing fast. With my election, my victory, more Asians will be encouraged to get involved in government. They will understand that every day if you want your concerns, if you want your voices to be heard, you need to get involved. You need to be your community’s voice to make your community stronger,” said Ta.

He especially wants to reach out to millennials.

“I believe there will be more Asian candidates in the future at the state and local levels. As I was elected the first Vietnamese American mayor last November, it will encourage another generation of Asian Americans to participate more in the political system.”

Ta hopes to be a role model to his two young daugthers: hard work and passion make a recipe for success.

 He’s grateful to the citizens, “who trust me and who voted for me. I will continue to work really hard to help anybody to move this city forward.”


Cheryl Getuiza

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