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As the American-born child of Vietnamese refugees, Lan Diep has spent his entire life bridging divides. Growing up, he witnessed how the refugee community often went unrepresented and was inspired to help his community gain better access to the levels of power. Lan became a legal aid attorney to do just that.
After years of advocating for individuals on a case-by-case basis, Lan started to consider a run for office. In 2012, he attended our Ready to Lead training in Louisiana where he met other aspiring legislators and learned how to build a campaign.
When a seat became availability on the San Jose City Council, Lan initially said no when asked to run. He had doubts about running for office and his ability to raise enough money. But then, he changed his mind:
“There is a lot of reluctance to put your name out there and put your reputation on the line and to win or lose publicly. But you can only take so many trainings, you can only wait for the perfect election cycle so many times, wait for the right opponent, wait for an open seat. Really, you’ve just got to put yourself out there.”
Lan was successfully elected to San Jose City Council in 2016 and he chose to be sworn in by six political figures from competing camps. In 2017, he introduced the “Shield Our City” ordinance to limit the City’s cooperation with ICE and protect immigrant families.