Linh Hoang & Suchada
Langley, Delegates Living the 'American Dream'
September 06, 2012
The opportunity to become delegates to a political party's convention is
a dream for some Americans, especially if they were born and raised in
another country. Delegates cast votes for their state or territory and
officially nominate the partyís choice for president.
Linh Hoang is a Vietnamese-American living in Fairfax, Virginia. He is a
delegate from the 11th Congressional District of Virginia. He swims to
focus his thoughts before representing his state at the Democratic
"My family lived through wars for many generations," he said. "Starting
with my grandfather fighting against the French Colonists and then my
father fought along [side] American soldiers against communism. That's
what really drives my passion."
Suchada Langley, originally from Thailand, packed for a week to come to
the convention, but prepared for this day for years. "I think the
country is more divided than ever before," she said. "I think both
parties are fighting each other much more than even back in 2000 when it
got me into politics. And I think it's sad."
Langley is a cancer survivor who favors the presidentís health care
plan. Huong is openly gay. His party stands for policies supporting same
sex marriage. Both live in Virginia - a battleground state - where he
says Asian votes could make the difference.
Langley and Hoang join 6,000 other delegates in Charlotte. A little more
than 2 percent are Asian. Eight percent are gay or transgender. Here,
party leaders ignite the delegates, the campaignís soldiers.
"We are ready! We are fired up and ready to go!" said Langley.
"A lot of people from all backgrounds, races and generations coming
together. For me, that is truly an American experience," says Hoang.
Langley and Hoang say they won't run for delegate in four years. They
say they want to give up their spots to others, to offer more diversity
within the Virginia delegation.
Political science professor John Sides says he isnít surprised.
"Especially on the Democratic side, there is a real push to diversify
the pool of delegates using quotas for women and minorities, and in some
ways to democratize the process more," he explained.
Back on the convention floor, each state announces its delegationís
vote, culminating in the nomination of President Barack Obama for a
After the convention, the delegates share their excitement with voters
back home, hoping to tip the balance in favor of the president.