Politics

Garden Grove's first Vietnamese-American mayor plans to be a hands-on leader

File: Los Angeles County residents vote inside All Saints Episcopal Church in Highland Park during Election Day on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 4, 2014.
File: Los Angeles County residents vote inside All Saints Episcopal Church in Highland Park during Election Day on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 4, 2014.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Garden Grove Unified School District Trustee Bao Nguyen, 34, said he plans to be a hands-on leader as the city's newest mayor. Nguyen will be Garden Grove's first Vietnamese-American mayor.

Nguyen beat incumbent Bruce Broadwater by 15 votes in the Nov. 4, 2014 election — that's according to the final tally out this week from the Orange County Registrar's Office. But Broadwater could still ask for a recount.

Nguyen is trilingual in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. He said he plans to use that skill to help bridge divides among the city's diverse population.

"I intend on finding our common values and articulating a message that can unify people that shows that we're one city,” Nguyen said. “We share a lot of things together — our schools, our churches and temples, and our streets, and library."

Nguyen said that it was such a close race because it was a highly contested race.

“Folks that turned out were heard,” Nguyen said. “I think this shows that there’s voters that really want to see change in Garden Grove.”

When asked about what kind of changes voters want to see, Nguyen said he believes that voters want to see a transparent government that’s accountable to the people.

“We’re a local government; we’re not some kind of high court,” Nguyen said. “As an elected official, as mayor, I will definitely listen to the people.”