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Informed Voters Make Better Choices

Uong Rithy, former city councilman of Lowell, Massachusetts talks to Voice of America's 'Hello VOA' call-in show program on Monday, about the importance of informed voting, in reference to the U.S 2006 elections.

A resident of Lowell, Uong Rithy was the first Cambodian-American to get elected and has recently finished his 3rd term as city councilman.

Rithy tells VOA Khmer his initial desire to get into politics six years ago, "I wanted to get into politics to help Cambodians in Lowell."

Lowell is home to approximately 30,000 to 40,000 Cambodian immigrants, and Lowell boasts that it is the second largest Cambodian community in the United States, behind Long Beach, California.

In the live discussion with callers from Cambodia, former city councilman reminded listeners that, "Khmer people [in Cambodia] have to realize the value of their votes, and they should not vote for candidates that hand out small 'gifts' in return for a vote at the ballot box."

At the end, he appeals to listeners in Cambodia to empower and informed themselves during the election process, to vote in politicians who will be effective custodians for Cambodia's future.

Meanwhile, Rithy will be devoting his free time to helping fellow Cambodians in the City of Lowell, with both transportation and interpreting services for the mid-term elections.

To listen to our complete 'Hello VOA' call-in show, hosted by VOA's Poch Reasey, please click on the links above.