The Sacramento Bee reports the nation’s Hmong community is still buzzing over the election of the nation’s first Hmong/American mayor.
Steve Ly was elected in the city of Elk Grove, a town of 162,000 people just south of Sacramento, Calif. and will be sworn in Wednesday (Dec. 14).
Ly received $10,000 in contributions from Hmong as far away as Wisconsin and Minnesota to propel him to victory.
Ly said he was encouraged by his father, who considered his greatest accomplishment becoming an American citizen in 1995. His father fought in the CIA's secret war and voted in every election until his death.
“He would tell me about how he would go on missions in the jungles of northern Laos to recover American pilots dead or alive before they fell into enemy hands,” Ly recalled. “He would remind me voting was why he fought for $5 a month.”
The mayor-elect first won a seat to the city council in 2014. Ly has received congratulatory messages from around the U.S. and the world.