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Suely Saro, Aide To Exited Sen. Lara And Supporter Of Councilwoman Gonzalez To Succeed Him, Announces She's Running To Become LB's Next 6th Dist. Councilmember


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(Feb 20, 2019, 2:55 p.m.) -- Suely Saro -- an aide to immediate-past state Senator Ricardo Lara and a supporter of 1st dist. Councilwoman Lena Gonalez's bid to succed him -- has announced her candidacy for LB's 6th Council district seat in 2020. The 6th dist. includes much of LB's "Cambodia Town"; Ms. Saro, born in a Thailand refugee camp, is the daughter of parents who fled the Cambodian genocide.

The district's incumbent is Vice Mayor/Councilman Dee Andrews, first in 2007, who hasn't publicly announced his plans for 2020. Andrews was re-elected wihtout a runoff in 2016 in a write-in camapaign. In November 2018, LB voters approved Charter Amendment BBB (supported by LB's incumbents with support from leaders of Equity for Cambodians) which lets Andrews seek another term in 2020 but this time with his name listed on the ballot, avoiding a write-in requirement.

Ms. Saro, who currently chairs LB's Citizens Police Complaint Commission, posted the following statement on her Facebook page today (Feb. 20):

...I'm running for City Council to bring people together, to make positive changes happen in our community, and to serve as a strong advocate inside City Hall. I understand the importance of listening, working in partnerships, and building consensus to ensure all voices are represented in decision making. I believe it is important that residents benefit from good policies that ensure a thriving local economy, healthy communities, and a safe and clean environment. I am excited and ready for the campaign ahead and look forward to working with my fellow residents to create meaningful changes in Long Beachís 6th District!... Please support my campaign [seeks contributions]...This will help fund the campaign we need to win to create meaningful changes! Thank you!

[Scroll down for further.]

On her campaign website (www.suelysaro.com), Ms. Saro writes:

Suely Saro have [sic] worked closely with residents in the Sixth District and throughout the City of Long Beach as a field representative for the Office of Senator Ricardo Lara and Chair of Long Beach's Citizen Police Complaint Commission. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at the School of Social Work at California State University, Los Angeles.

Suely was born in a refugee camp in Thailand to parents who survived the genocide where they eventually resettled in the City of Los Angeles, and later moving to the City of Long Beach. Suely grew up in low socio-economic neighborhoods and in a community where many suffered from the effects of war and genocide such as post-traumatic stress disorder and resettlement challenges such a language and cultural barriers. Through passion, drive, and persistence Suely fought her way through the public school system to be placed in academic programs that led her on a pathway to college and a future of organizing and advocacy. Suely graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a bachelorís degree in Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology. She earned a Masterís degree in Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach and a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D) in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne.

Suely has been dedicated to fighting for equity for working families, youth, immigrants, and women. She began her career as a labor organizer working alongside janitors and healthcare workers in their fight for fair wages and better working conditions. She went on to become the first Cambodian American Executive Director of Khmer Girls in Action developing the leadership skills of young women and men to improve their school and community. Subsequently, she joined the Health Access Project at Asians Americans Advancing Justice Los Angeles to provide education, build coalitions, and conduct advocacy on the Affordable Care Act.

To contribute to alleviating poverty and empowering women with disability in Cambodia, Suely co-founded and is the board chair of Women for Women Foundation (WfWF) based in Cambodia. Since 2005, WfWF have helped over 700 women with disability and their families increase economic security through employment in a social enterprise program. WfWF is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) where its fashionable accessories and products are sold throughout the world. Meanwhile, Suely also serves as the Board Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) Professional Network based in Long Beach.

Suely and her husband are raising their two children in the Wrigley Neighborhood of Central Long Beach.

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Like all Councilmembers, the 6th dist. Councilmember has a co-equal vote on matters that affect LB residents citywide, including budget priorities, taxpayer services, City Hall spending, land use and development decisions and setting City policies.

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