When Tony Lam won his seat on the Westminster City Council in 1992, he was the first Vietnamese-American to successfully run a campaign to fruition. His success unleashed a huge wave of participation by Viets in politics that resulted in the vast number of candidates and office holders we see today.
After almost a decade not running for anything, Lam is now back, seeking a seat on the Midway City Sanitary Board, as one of four candidates vying for three seats.
In his candidate statement (here), Lam said he would “provide experienced leadership.”
“While serving the City of Westminster as Mayor Pro-Tem, Councilman and Planning Commissioner, I cut costs, improve city services, and rebuilt our water system. I know the importance of maintaining our utilities to protect city assets,” he wrote.
Of his previous elected office, Lam wrote, “I was the first Vietnamese American elected official in the United States, elected with support throughout Westminster. I am recognized as a consensus builder.”
Lam is currently on the Orange County Planning Commission and the Orange County Airport Authority, appointed to both posts by OC Supervisor Janet Nguyen.
Lam first won his election in 1992 and served three terms until he decided not to run again in 2002.
In 1999, Lam was the subject of a lengthy and obscene picketing by none other than Ky Ngo - something that still scares other Vietnamese office holders today. Read the Reg’s Frank Mickadeit’s analysis of Lam’s case here.
During the 2008 elections, OC supervisor candidate Dina Nguyen and her supporters – all allies of Assemblyman Van Tran – also accused Lam of being a communist sympathizer.
The Midway City Sanitary Board, despite its name, serves the city of Westminster, plus the small unincorporated area known as Midway City – making it Lam’s natural stomping ground.
The race for three seats features two incumbents – Westminster Mayor Margie Rice and Westminster Councilman Tyler Diep – and two challengers, Lam and Frank Cobo.