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  • Writer's pictureTram T. Nguyen

Served by Lazarus House, State Rep. Shines a Light on Needs

By Neil Ungerleider, Lazarus House Ministries

Spend five minutes with State Rep. Tram Nguyen (D-18th Essex) and you see the bright future of this country.  Her immigrant journey not only radiates a classic American success story, but also the obligation one immigrant feels to those who have followed.

Nguyen (pronounced WIN) was five years old when her family “had no choice” but to leave Vietnam and then settle in Lawrence with less than $100.   Twenty-five years later, she became the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to the Massachusetts legislature.

Talking to her now, it’s not a surprising achievement, but when they arrived in 1992 that might have been harder to predict.

“After the war ended my father (who fought on the losing South Vietnamese side) was in a reeducation (prison) camp for eight years.  Even after his release, he was completely blacklisted,” said Nguyen.  “He then struggled for nine years in Vietnam to make a living, but could not.”

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