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First Cambodian American to run for US Congress

A Cambodian American who has put forward his candidacy for upcoming US House of Representatives elections is mobilizing support from Cambodian community in the States.

In a meeting in Maryland last weekend, 38-year-old Sam Meas, who will run on a Repulican platform for 5th district in Massachussets, was optimistic that votes from Cambodian Americans can put him through to the House. The town of Lowell is in the 5th district of Massachussets and is home to 30,000 Cambodians.

“I am here in Maryland to firstly announce my candidacy and that I am the first Cambodian who dares to run for the House of Represenatives,” Sam Meas told VOA Khmer in an interview. “Secondly, I need Cambodian community outside the constituency that I run for to fully support me. Though they cannot vote, they can provide financial support and tell their relatives there to vote for me.”

More than 20 people from Washington area attended the gathering to listen to Sam Meas’s political platform.

“I am greatly excited to see a Cambodian running for an office here, especially up to the Congressional level because this will benefit Cambodian community here and those in Cambodia,” president of the Cambodian Association for Democracy and Human Rights, Yap Kimtung, told VOA Khmer after listening to Sam Meas’s presentation. “I would like to appeal to all Cambodian-American to register and vote for him.”

Sam Meas sees that once he wins the election he will be focusing on tax reduction and immigration issues.

Some young Cambodians in the US face deportation for crimes they commit despite living here for more than 20 years.

“I want to work with the government to change the law requiring deportation of Cambodian children who have lived in the US for 20 or 25 years for petty crimes they committed and were deported just because their parents don’t have citizenship,” said Sam Meas.

Sam Meas might face internal challengers from the Republican Party before the party endorses its candidate for the elections set for November 2010. The House of Representatives seat in this Massachussets district has been held by the Democratic Party since 1975.