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A daughter of Vietnam boat refugees Tiffany Au is running for Hawaii House of Rep.


A daughter of Vietnam boat refugees Tiffany Au is running for Hawaii House of Rep. This is what America is all about, giving the average person a chance to make their own mark in the world, in this case, a daughter of refugees from Vietnam where life is very hard life to live. I’ve visited Vietnam many times and know firsthand that the people there look up to America’s as their close friends.

A daughter of Vietnam boat refugees Tiffany Au is running for Hawaii House of Rep.HONOLULU, As the end of the Vietnam War  sparked a diaspora of hundreds of thousands of people who took to boats to  escape the communist takeover, many would face disease, starvation and deadly  storms at sea, never making it to freedom.

Among the fortunate few who braved the rough seas and reached safety were  Lily and Tien Au, barely married and in their early twenties. The Aus would make  it as far as Singapore where they were spotted by jet skiers and rescued and  taken to a refugee camp in Malaysia. After waiting a long year, the two were  granted asylum in the United States and settled in Hawaii.

Today, just one generation later Tiffany Au, the youngest daughter of Lily and Tien  Au is making waves in Hawaii as a rising community leader and the reigning local  2012 Narcissus Queen. Now running for office as a Republican candidate for state  representative, Tiffany Au is perhaps one of the most amazing examples of the  dynamic, ongoing miracle of the American Dream.

As a generational bridge between Asia and America, Tiffany Au has a special  perspective on the past, present and future of Asia-Pacific policy. Curious  about what she thought about the changing economies of Southeast Asia and  China’s military buildup, I sought out Ms. Au for a few questions. Here is a  transcript, with light edits for clarity.

Danny de Gracia: Tiffany, you have a very unique story  and place in America’s history. Your mother in particular was one of the boat  people who fled from Vietnam following the war and then after waiting for asylum  finally settled down in the United States. Tell us what it was like for you in  particular growing up and what made you decide to get into elected  politics?

Tiffany Au: Lily and Tien Au were Chinese boat-people  refugees from Vietnam and are living examples of the American Dream. They came  to Hawaii to escape communism with just a few belongings and a desire for a  better life. Hard work was a way of life for my parents, and they instilled  those values in my sister and I.

We understood that a good education and a lot of hard work were key  components to being successful in America, a country that allowed those who are  determined to persevere.  By example, they taught us to look forward, find  ways to improve our situation, and make the most out of the opportunities  presented to us.

While working for Representative Corinne Ching at the Hawaii State Capitol, I  saw bills that went through that were alarming to me. I found the overspending  by our elected officials so disturbing that I decided to run for office.  

Those opportunities that made our country great and allowed hard-working  individuals, such as my parents, to succeed will be limited for my generation if  our government continues to overspend, tax  us heavily, and over-regulate.

DDG: A lot of our D.C. readers have never been to Hawaii  before. What’s it like living there?

Au: Hawaii is fantastic. There’s a reason why Hawaii is a  top vacation destination: the weather is usually 80 degrees and always sunny,  the people are always friendly, and the food always incredible. It’s  paradise.

DDG: What do you think about America’s current trade  relationship and foreign policy towards Southeast Asian nations?

Au: For too long the United States has allowed nations like  China to impose high tariffs on U.S. imports. In spite of that, however, free  and open trade is always a good thing.

DDG: A lot of policymakers in Washington D.C. are  starting to get extremely concerned about China’s conventional military buildup.  Since you live in Hawaii which is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, what are  your thoughts about the developing arms race between the United States and the  People’s Republic of China?

Au: Although China and the United States are tied at the hip  economically, China’s recent show of force by its naval deployments, sea trials of  its Soviet era Varyag Admiral Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier and their long held  belief that it owns the South China Sea and everything in it are causes for  great concern.

China knows that it cannot currently match the United States  weapon-for-weapon and that its military technology is at least twenty years  behind ours, however, they still may pose a threat one day.

A daughter of Vietnam boat refugees Tiffany Au is running for Hawaii House of Rep.

DDG: If you’re elected to office, what are some of the  things you’d like to do or change?

Au:The Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) has as  its vision a “Live, Work and Play” community. I share a parallel vision of an “Enjoy, Thrive and Stay” community. By this I mean:

“Enjoy” – roads, sewers, and our infrastructure must be fixed. We also need  better enforcement of laws that deter crime and promote a safe and friendly  environment, as well as more urban green spaces and the improved utilization of  areas like Kaka’ako Waterfront Park, Aloha Tower Marketplace and Mother Waldron  Park.

“Thrive” – small  businesses need to have a role and a future in Hawaii. State, local and HCDA  planning and policies should reflect this.  Over regulation and high taxes  inhibit the growth of small business. Streamlining the State’s regulatory  commission and lowering the corporate tax rate will allow businesses to lower  operating costs thus creating more jobs.

“Stay” – along with high-end condos, development patterns need to incorporate  housing aimed at families of all income brackets, creating a sense of place in a  community that is safe, clean, modern and exciting.

Furthermore, I stand for education reform. Education is the key to a strong  economy. The state must dedicate its tax dollars toward repairing schools and  giving our teachers the tools necessary to do their jobs teaching and mentoring  our students.

[I also support] growing tourism. Hawaii’s geographic location makes it ideal  for us to be that bridge between Asia and the United States. China, Korea, and  Vietnam are emerging markets that we must grow to keep our number one industry  vibrant and prosperous.

DDG: What’s your thoughts about this presidential race?  As a Republican, how do you feel about Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as  his running mate?

Au: I believe it was good for the country to elect its first  African American President. That said, I feel as a Nation we’ve moved in the  wrong direction and that a course correction is in order. What I know of Mitt  Romney and Paul Ryan is they are both self-made individuals who believe that  through hard work and perseverance one can achieve anything.

The successes in  their respective professions bear this out and under their leadership, we can  get back to the business  of being the greatest Nation on earth.

DDG:What are some of the national issues that you are  most concerned with right now?

Au:Just one: the national debt!

DDG: What do you think about the Supreme Court’s  upholding of Obamacare?

Au: Justice Roberts’ judgment was the deciding vote to  uphold Obamacare and the consequence of that decision is now approximately 40  million new enrollees in a health care system already bursting at the seams. And  to pay for it, this October the Obama administration will raid Medicare to the  tune of $716 billion dollars. Is this what President Obama means by “shared  sacrifice”?

DDG: Last but not least, is there anything you would  like to tell our readers in D.C.?

Au: Aloha! You’re always welcome to Hawaii and don’t forget  to “Circle Island” and try some dishes from our local shrimp trucks, malasadas  and shave ice!

A daughter of Vietnam boat refugees Tiffany Au is running for Hawaii House of Rep., and you can see that she is a very proud Hawaiian…

~~Aloha Nui Loa


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