My name is Tri Ngo, pronounced like "try" and "no".
I value all people, regardless of their background.
My parents fled on foot from Southern Vietnam to a refugee camp on the border of Thailand and Cambodia where I was born in 1984. Along the way they carried my older brother who has cerebral palsy. Their story still inspires me today.
I grew up on welfare in inner city Philadelphia. My second grade teacher believed in me more than I could believe in myself at the time. Teachers are creators. Students grow into the greatness that their teachers see in them.
Later we moved to Atlanta, a southern city with a thriving middle class Black population. From there I got into the school of my dreams, MIT, where I studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I became the first in my family to achieve a college degree.
I am driven by ideals and principles.
In 2008 I learned from Professor Lawrence Lessig the corrupting influence of money in politics, shattering my belief in the American mythology which states that we truly have a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” After Professor Lessig endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, I joined the campaign as a field organizer, intent on addressing this issue of corruption in politics.
After the Obama campaign, I attended Johns Hopkins University to complete a PhD in Biomedical Engineering with the intent of developing new medical imaging methods to study the brain. I hoped to enable new treatments for people with neurological conditions like my older brother.
I came to realize the academic path wasn’t for me and I turned my attention on addressing global warming. I came to California to work at Tesla as a Battery Management Systems Engineer. I have been in Oakland for four years and currently work part time at a solar inverter company.
Now I see the Oakland I love changing rapidly and I don’t see our leadership acting with the urgency required to save our communities. I see these issues as symptomatic of a system that is disconnected from the will of the people. For change to occur we must jumpstart the engine of civic engagement and insist on accountability from our leaders.
We have seen too many of our residents displaced by rising housing costs. We have passed by too many bleary-eyed homeless neighbors struggling on the streets. We have waited too long for our roads to be fixed.
We have been waiting for leadership while Oakland changes before our eyes. Our artists are being displaced. Our diversity is being lost. Our leaders say they are working hard but perhaps it’s time to work different.
I don’t believe our local government currently represents all of our people. I want to create a government that listens to and is accountable to everyone in our district.
I want to create a government that profoundly engages citizens by reducing barriers to political involvement.
I will create a government that encourages communication between neighbors because communication creates the understanding that enables real political power.
I am committed to this vision of government for our district of 57,000 citizens. On November 3rd, 2020 we will remake local government to represent the Will of the People.
Listen to my podcast here: