On Tuesday, April 27, 2021, Senator Joe Nguyen of the 34th Legislative District announced his candidacy for King County Executive.
Nguyen will face incumbent Dow Constantine, who has held the position since being elected in Nov., 2009.
He currently serves as a state senator for the 34th Legislative District (D-White Center).
Nguyen was raised in White Center, and currently works as a program manager for Microsoft.
In a video release (see below), Nguyen shared his “commitment to act with the fierce urgency of now to address the systemic inequities that left too many people in King County so vulnerable before the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It’s time for a new generation of leadership.
It’s time to put people over politics.
It’s time for a new deal for King County.
Let’s get to work. pic.twitter.com/FUDUGKHOQu
— Joe Nguyen for King County Executive (@meetjoenguyen) April 27, 2021
“Politics should be about people, not careers, and it’s increasingly clear that governments run by transactional politicians do not serve communities. Decisions from the top down are easy—but they do not solve real and systemic problems. Engaging communities, being mindful of the people you serve, adjusting systems and behaviors to accommodate the people you work for—that’s good governing.”
“It’s time for a King County government that acts as if — and not just says — ‘You belong here.’ It’s time for a King County government that reflects the care and compassion our communities demonstrate every day. It’s time for a King County government that listens to the voices of those furthest from power and centers the lived experiences of those navigating a society that wasn’t built for them,” said Sen. Nguyen.
In many ways, Joe’s life story is the story of countless people in King County: after his parents came here as refugees from the Vietnam War, they were resettled in public housing in White Center, where they raised Joe and his siblings. His father was a mechanic and his mother worked as a seamstress before a tragic car accident turned their family’s world upside down. The accident left his father quadraplegic, requiring Joe and his siblings to take turns leaving during lunch to take care of him, returning to class to finish out the school day.
Starting when he was just 14, Joe started working to help support his family. After class at his school, Joe worked as a janitor to pay for tuition. At 15, he took various routes of public transportation to work at the IMAX theater on the waterfront, spending 90 minutes commuting by bus to a job he could have reached in 15 minutes if his family could afford a car.
After the death of Burien resident Tommy Le in 2017, Joe knew he had to step up for his community in a bold, new way – he launched his campaign for the 34th District State Senate seat to bring our voices to Olympia. In a crowded election, with a well-funded Democratic opponent soaking up traditional establishment support, no one gave Joe a chance.
But Joe ran a truly people-powered campaign, and refused corporate PAC contributions — despite being outraised and outspent by his opponent by 4:1, Joe won by double digits. He proved in that campaign that people over politics was a winning strategy, and became the first Vietnamese American ever elected to the Washington State Senate, alongside Representative My-Linh Thai’s election as the first Vietnamese American to ever be elected to the State House. In just his first term in the state senate, Joe has played a critical role in passing progressive tax reform, increasing accountability for law enforcement, protecting our environment, and securing funding for programs that support our most vulnerable.
In addition to serving as State Senator from the 34th LD, Joe is a Senior Manager at Microsoft working to provide job training that supports all people with the skills needed to succeed in this rapidly changing, technologically dependent economy.
Joe lives in West Seattle with his wife Tallie, a former special education teacher in the Highline Public School District, and is a very proud father to their three energetic children under the age of 5.