Thursday, March 21, 2013

Endorsing Chue Xiong for School Board

I've had the pleasure of getting to know several excellent candidates for Eau Claire's local races. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be writing about a few of those that really stick out to me. I'm endorsing Chue Xiong for Eau Claire's School Board race.

Last week, Chue Xiong and I chatted across a kitchen table over a beer, Wisconsin-style, in a long and winding conversation. We drifted everywhere, it seems....from his early childhood experience in a Thai refugee camp, to his time in high school, to the time he served in Iraq as a Marine.

Chue moved to America at age 9 from a Thai refugee camp, not knowing a word of English. He was born into poverty, and has a clear identification with the poor in our community. Chue joined the Marines out of high school to serve his country, and volunteered for combat on his second assignment. At age 22 he was leading 72 Marines in a combat theatre, making difficult decisions in times of high stress. He now serves professionally as a cultural liaison between the Hmong community and area schools and businesses.

Chue embodies everything we hope America can be for everyone. Over the course of our conversation, he demonstrated broad empathy, patience, humility, and a youthful exuberance for bringing people together to solve problems. There are no cookie-cutter solutions available for every community - if there were, we wouldn't need to elect anyone to school board at all. We need people who can bring an open mind, a commitment to the community, and a willingness to learn from past mistakes. Chue brings all of these things.  I'll be voting for Chue Xiong on April 2nd to help ensure a well-rounded education for all of our students, for the benefit of our entire community.