Steve Vibol Meng of Long Beach, California, is pleased to announce his candidacy for the 6th District. Below is Mr. Meng’s statement.
June 8, 2019
I, Steve Vibol Meng, am very pleased to be running to represent the City Council’s 6th District in the March 2020 election. I have made the 6th District and City of Long Beach my home for the past 30 years, and look forward to collaborating with residents toward making it a better place to live, work, and play. My wife and I are raising two great kids in the 6th district.
I was born in Cambodia and spent the early years of my childhood in Takeo province in southeastern Cambodia. After escaping the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979), which claimed over two million innocent lives, including those of my father, grandfather and numerous relatives, I spent more than 10 years in the Khao I Dang refugee camp on the Thai border before my family had the amazing opportunity to resettle in the United States.
I came to the U.S. in my early 20s, and despite my limited English, I put myself through college, first at Long Beach City College and later the California State University of Long Beach, where I earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree. During my studies I served as President, Vice-President, and Secretary of the Cambodian Student Association at Long Beach City College, and President and Vice-President of the Cambodian Student Society at California State University, Long Beach. My school experiences helped to shape my leadership growth, and my desire to represent and work for the betterment of the larger community.
I am fluent in Cambodian (Khmer), and my background as a genocide survivor and first-generation Cambodian-American has helped me to build trust and good working relationships with the Cambodian community, whose members have suffered the after-effects of war (such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD) and resettlement challenges such as language and cultural barriers. I feel it is important that this population, so often overlooked, is represented in local government, and I am ready and eager to serve.
Since my school days, I have served as an officer for or on the boards of various non-profit organizations including: President/Vice-President/Board Member/Council Coordinator (CAM-CC) for the Cambodian Coordinating Council (CAM-CC), Board Member of the Cambodian New Year Parade Committee and Grand Marshal of the parade itself, and Vice-Chair of the Asian/Pacific Islander Advisory Board to the Police Chief of Long Beach. I have also served as a volunteer for Long Beach Unified School District, the United Cambodian Community, the Cambodia Town Film Festival, Friends Without a Border, Long Beach Senior Center and many other non-profit organizations. I have served as a translator and community advocate for more than 25 years, and have working with various government official and departments.
In 2015, I founded the Cambodian-Americans for Rural Education (CARE) Foundation, a nonprofit that builds libraries for underprivileged children in rural Cambodia. CARE recently completed its second library, and is planning its third.
I currently serve as a small business loan officer and business consultant with Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment in Los Angeles, where I have worked for the past 10 years.