By TOM LAVENTURE
AAP staff writer
ST. PAUL (October 1, 2010) – There are currently three candidates running for President of Lao Family Community of Minnesota for the term 2011-2012. The public is invited to vote for president on December 11, 2010 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Lao Family, 320 University Avenue W., St. Paul, MN 55103. Current Lao Family Community Board Vice President ChuPheng Lee is running, as are Mr. Tou Xiong, Board Sectretary, and Song T. Xiong, Board Member in charge of Economic Development.
Chupheng Lee kicked off his community campaign with a banquet last Thursday at Lao Family’s rental hall. Lee said simply that his goals are to build trust and gain the support of a wider section of the community through an honest, open and transparent operation of Lao Family.
“It’s time for Lao Family Community to be inclusive and live up to its name,” said Lee.
His experience includes Renew Minnesota and leader of the Hmong Organizing Program at TakeAction Minnesota, chair of the 2009 Hmong Freedom Celebration, and current chair of the 2010-2011 Hmong New Year Celebration at River Centre.
To ensure the continued success of the annual Hmong New Year Celebration, and the Hmong Freedom Celebration, more commonly known as the Hmong Fourth of July Soccer Tournament, Lee said he plans to increase the prize money for sports events, talent shows and pageants.
His other goals include building a new Lao Family Center to meet the growing and changing community needs. He said a new center would have enough office space for its social service programs, a larger banquet hall for 600 persons, a gymnasium for sports and fitness programs, a cultural center and elders programs, a Hmong history museum and library, along with a heritage garden display for traditional customs and statues of great leaders.
Lee has a degree in Business Administration and in addition to managing or owning several small businesses and a farm, he has served as Vice President of Lao Family for several years. He is also president of the Hmong Diaspora Leadership Council, and vice president of both the Hmong Leadership Steering Committee and the United Hmong Stand For Justice.
He said the ambitious goal of uniting the Hmong community would require being inclusive to all clans. When everyone is participating and serving, he said the annual cultural events could then work on merging the two New Year celebrations that take place on Thanksgiving weekend and again during the December holidays.
The promotion of youth is also a goal Lee said would be helped with an internship program for Hmong graduates that could serve Lao Family or be referred out to serve the Hmong community through other agencies and organizations.
Lee said that his goals could not be met without strong leadership and the ability to organize Hmong professionals and business relationships with in the interest of the community working toward a Hmong Town.
On the international level, Lee travel to Laos and Thailand to work with the U.S. Embassy on obtaining visas for a Hmong soccer team, singers, and provincial officials to visit the United States. Most recently, he won reinstatement of Lao Family’s English Language program and the rental hall.
Lee and spouse Mai Vang Xiong, owner/manager of Infinite Hair Salon, have been married for 18 years and have seven children together.
The Lee campaign office is located at 425 University Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55103. Contact ChuPheng Lee at 651-210-8800 or [email protected]