I came to the United States from Vietnam in 1975, thanks to an airlift out for orphans and disabled children. The first picture I have of America is of the Marine who carried me off that plane. Even now, it represents to me everything that is good about this country. He looked so—oh my god—he looked like hope. We were such tiny kids, and the Marines came to take us off that plane and onto the ground in San Francisco, California. To this day, whenever I see a man in uniform, my heart swells up with just gratitude.
I never thought I would run for office—ever. It wasn’t until November 2016 that I even considered it. And then I spent a few months agonizing about whether I really wanted to do it. But when it became clear that health care was an issue, that really made me go for it. It absolutely made me feel like if there is a time for me to be a healer, to be someone to help people who have to suffer or worry about their families, this is the time.