SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Blong Xiong hopes to make history by winning a seat in Congress.
He's rallying for the support of Minnesota's Hmong communities to help him get there.
But the seat he's running for is in Fresno, California. So why campaign here?
Achi Vang who owns a business at Hmong Village in Saint Paul said, "He's not just representing California he's definitely representing all the Hmong here in Minnesota too."
If elected, Blong Xiong, a democrat, would be the first Hmong American to ever hold a seat, and have a voice, in Congress. That's thrilling to those he met Saturday at Hmong Village.
Xiong said, "We have the great opportunity to create history in November."
Hairstylist Kally Xiong said, "All the Hmong people will be very happy for him."
While he cannot get votes in Minnesota, he is raising campaign money and support in the tight-knit Hmong community.
He can relate to all generations because Xiong, whose family assisted American forces during the Vietnam War, lived at a refugee camp before coming to the U.S. when he was five-years-old.
In his second term as a Fresno city council member, Xiong must first win a June primary in California's largely Latino 21st district, against a Latino opponent, to advance as the democratic Congressional candidate. But his supporters say he has a lot of support in the community. Because he is a first generation immigrant, he has similar concerns.
Michael Fenenbock, Xiong's campaign strategist said, "He speaks Spanish. He understands their issues."
There is no incumbent in the 21st district, due to redistricting. Xiong's supporters say he's been endorsed by key democrats and has a good chance of winning it all.
Xiong said, "Every culture that has called America home has been able to contribute and help this country so it's our turn."
Xiong also visited Minnesota before announcing his candidacy to gather support. He plans to return again soon.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)