The fate of a politician striving to become only the second Cambodian-American to hold public office in the United States will be determined this morning as polls close in the election for the town of Lowell, Massachusetts.
Van Pech’s family migrated to Lowell, a small manufacturing town on the eastern seaboard that has been a quiet magnet for Cambodian immigrants over the past three decades, after fleeing from the Khmer Rouge to a refugee camp in Thailand in 1984.
Yesterday, Pech said he was excited by the opportunity to represent Cambodians and other minorities in Lowell.
“This whole experience has been very stressful and exciting, I’ve learned so much and have met some amazing people in this journey. The main thing is I hope people exercise their right
to vote,” he said.
“I feel optimistic and hopeful going into election day. It is up to the voters now.”
If Pech wins his race for Lowell, he will join Rithy Uong as the only other American of Cambodian descent to win public office in the US – Uong held a spot on Lowell’s City Council from 1999 until stepping down in 2005.