San Jose Council Member Madison Nguyen in Tough Recall Election

January 23, 2009

Nguyen is the first Vietnamese American to serve on the city council in San Jose, which has a large Vietnamese population. It's a huge deal to be the "first" and it opens the doors to political power, which is generally a good thing if you're trying to increase representation of Asian Americans.

What's interesting is that it's Vietnamese Americans who started the Nguyen recall effort, potentially setting back the gains made with her election. On the other hand, this whole ordeal could be a sign that Vietnamese American political power in San Jose is strong. The council did change its vote and a grassroots effort showed it could have an influence. It's also likely that Nguyen would run again if recalled and have a good shot at being re-elected.

Ethnic divisions, hardball politics, the legacy of the Vietnam War: this story has it all. It's no wonder the arguments are heated on both sides.


Harry Mok

Editor in chief

Editor in Chief Harry Mok wrote about growing up on a Chinese vegetable farm for the second issue of Hyphen and has been a volunteer editor since 2004. As a board member of the San Francisco and New York chapters of the Asian American Journalists Association, Harry has recruited and organized events for student members. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was also a graduate student instructor in the Asian American Studies Department.



This is so ridiculous and embarrassing on the level with the original Little Saigon in OC that got into violent demonstrations over a shop carrying a communist flag.Recall her because she didn't vote your way? Nguyen has a point that the name polarizes different ethnicities that also inhabit the community. Cut it out! I'm vietnamese so I can say that the recall proponents are embarrassing out community.