Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Janet's Been Sworn In... But Can She Bring Us Together?

Today, something happened. What we've all been waiting for finally happened. Janet Nguyen was FINALLY sworn in as County Supervisor. THANK GAWD I FINALLY HAVE A SUPERVISOR!! But how long will this last? Will she really be able to follow through on her promise to "unite the district" and "represent everyone"?

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(Cross-posted at Calitics)

After all the counting and recounting...
After all the legal battles...
And after all the campaigning, before AND after the election...
It finally came down to this.

Or, as Janet Nguyen said herself:
"It has been a short election, but a very, very, very long Election Day."

Bill Steiner, the former County Supervisor who is a longtime mentor of Janet, swore her in today. He praised her as a great student when she first took his political science class, and he commented on her track record as a political staffer, and then as a Garden Grove Councilmember. Oh yes, and he responded to an earlier tirade about Janet "not representing everyone" by talking about how she will work hard to represent everyone in the district.

After the swearing-in, Janet addressed the crowd. She thanked her family, her consultants, and her supporters. She still seemed amazed that "only in America can a 30 year-old Vietnamese-American woman be elected" as an Orange County Supervisor. And yes, she pledged to unite the district and represent everyone in the community.

Lou Correa, the man who once sat where Janet sits now, then addressed the crowd, and talked about the reality of representing such a diverse swing district that is OC's First Supervisorial District.

"Central Orange County is a marketplace of ideas... Every race has been tight. Every race has been debated. I think that's a good thing. Neither the Democratic Party or the Republican Party can anoint someone."

After the ceremony ended, I stepped outside to talk with some friends. And just before he left to return to Sacramento, I spoke with Lou... And with Tammy Tran, the political AND policy genius who now works in his district office. While I was speaking with them, I remembered how they have done such a great job at reaching out to the Vietnamese-American community here, as well as everyone else in the district. I guess this strong outreach and these strong ties to the community here in OC are the true strengths of Lou Correa and his political team. But anyways, as I was thinking about this, it dawned on me... That may be what Janet Nguyen might try to repeat.

One of Janet's GOP supporters suggested that she hire one of Lou's old aides to help her with her new job. He also said that he expects Janet to hire additional Latino staffers, and to aggressively win some goodwill in Latino-heavy Santa Ana...
So can this be the key to Janet's success?

She's now "part of the county family", but how much of a mark will she make in this hall? I guess we will have to wait and see.

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