I think that your first election certainly reaffirms the motto "Every vote counts," with something like only 16 votes at the end separating you from your opponent. We've certainly seen a lot of new voter turnout, new voter excitement this cycle. What, if any difference, do you see between 04 and 08?
What I can tell you now is turnout in 04 in the APA community, my name was on the ballot, then you saw an increase in 2006. The Asian community came out more in 2006, and now people have knowledge when going out to vote, and they have much more confidence than in 2004. So I can see that in the Asian community, and people start paying more attention to the election cycle, candidates, and the issues they stand for. So through the Asian community, the media has played a very important factor in all that since my election. And 'til now you know the media has been mobilizing people to go out and vote every election cycle, also they remind them to register to vote. And they have educated the community in terms of the issues and what the candidates represent. People are very enthusiastic about the process every election cycle now in Houston. And again, in 2008, finally just like how any other community turns out, the primary seems to be a little bit less compared to the general election.
What I can see this year is probably that turnout in the primary of 2008, the percent of voters from the Asian community is going to increase because now they've been through the process of going to vote in many elections already. And they are very excited about these national candidates. There's going to be much more increase and in the general election, I can see a very big surge of the Asians going out to vote in 2008.
I also have a question about the Vietnamese American community and their relationship to politics. It certainly seems like the older generation was heavily Republican, but now, the younger generation seems to be going more Democratic. What is your perspective?
Your question is true. When the Vietnamese Americans first came to the United States, a majority leaned toward the Republicans because they feel like they are socially conservative people, people who came through the war and understand that we have to fight in order to protect this country. So we felt like we belong to Republican party more but after 30 years here in the US they have a different approach. They can differentiate between the Republican and Democratic parties now. And the new generation coming up, the children, they are more adapted to the system here, and they understand the difference and benefits. . . They have really shared that knowledge with their parents. I can see that slowly now the older generation seems to be more independent; they go for the candidate who will do the best job for the community now. I can say that 9 years ago, if you ask Vietnamese Americans "What party?", the majority would say Republican.
Nowadays, they say independent, or 50-50 Republican-Democrat. I can see that this presidential election especially on the Democratic side excites a lot of Vietnamese Americans to go out and vote with the Democratic party because they understand it's about the economy, and jobs for their kids and the general welfare.