Monday, November 8, 2010
The entire country cast their ballots in the midterm elections this week, but this weekend the Hmong community in Wisconsin will be casting historic votes for a leader of its community.
Most leaders of Hmong clan councils are appointed by general Vang Pao, a revered Hmong leader. But this time, and only in Wisconsin, people will get to cast their ballots for candidates.
These ballot boxes may not be high-tech, but Hmong leaders in Eau Claire say they represent progress.
“The Hmong people are very excited, especially the younger generation, is really excited about the election,” says Eau Claire City Council Member Thomas Vue, a local Hmong leader.
Vue says the community's been getting the word out about Saturday’s election.
“This is the first time they're voting for the 18th Hmong (Clan) Council, so some Hmong people in Eau Claire are still confused about the election,” says Vue.
As Hmong people in Wisconsin cast their ballots Saturday, they’ll be the first to do so for their community’s representatives.
“In the past, we just appointed leaders to represent the 18 Council, but most of the community in Eau Claire and Wisconsin said that's not very effective, we need to select the right person,” says Vue.
Vue says whomever's elected has the task of being the voice of more than 40,000 Hmong people in our state.
“The 18 council president has a big job, to represent all the Hmong in Wisconsin,” says Vue.
But he says he's confident those who vote will pick the best person for the job.
Polling locations for the election will be in eau Claire, la Crosse, green bay, Wausau, Madison, Milwaukee, and Appleton.
Hmong in Eau Claire can go to the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association downtown on Farwell Street to cast their ballots tomorrow. The ballots should be tallied by the end of next week.
Wisconsin has the third largest Hmong population in the United States, behind California and Minnesota.