Bao Nguyen

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Bao Nguyen
Mayor of Garden Grove
Assumed office
December 2014
Preceded by Bruce Broadwater
Trustee of Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education
In office
July 2011 – December 2014
Personal details
Born 1980 (age 39–40)
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Pacifica High School
Naropa University
University of California, Irvine
Occupation Community organizer, educator, politician, trustee

Bao Nguyen[1] (born 1980) is an American Democratic politician from Orange County, California and the current mayor of Garden Grove. Prior, he served as a trustee on the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education.

Nguyen is the first Vietnamese-American and Asian American mayor in Garden Grove’s history, as well as its youngest, and first openly gay mayor.

Early life

Nguyen was born in a UN refugee camp in Thailand to parents escaping Vietnam, and arrived in the United States when he was 3 months old.[2] He attended school within the Garden Grove Unified School District. He attended Garden Grove High School, and graduated from Pacifica High School in 1998, where he won the Most Spirited Award from his graduating class.[3]


Nguyen graduated from UC Irvine with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. As an undergraduate, he interned for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, in Rockville, Maryland.[4][5]

Nguyen also earned a master's degree in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, as well as a Dispute Resolution Mediation Certification from the Orange County Human Relations Commission. At Universidad Internacional in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Nguyen completed an intensive Spanish immersion program.[6]

Political career

Nguyen was appointed to the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education in 2011, after a close race in 2010. He was elected as a trustee in 2012, and served a term as vice president. As a board member, he fought against the exclusion of LGBT Vietnamese from the annual Little Saigon Tết Parade.[7][8]

In 2014, California governor Jerry Brown appointed Nguyen to the Orange County Fair Board of Directors, California 32nd District Agricultural Association, where he continues to serve.[9]

Nguyen defeated incumbent Bruce Broadwater by 15 votes in the 2014 election to become mayor of Garden Grove. He became the first Vietnamese Democratic mayor in the United States, as well as the youngest mayor in Orange County, and the first non-white mayor of Garden Grove.[10] As mayor, he sought to improve government transparency and accountability, and to engage voters by making city finance records available online.[11][12][13] He also worked to attract business and jobs to the city.[14]

Mayor Nguyen is currently running for Loretta Sanchez's open seat in California's 46th congressional district.[15]

On February 9, 2016, the day of the New Hampshire primary, Nguyen announced his endorsement of presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.[16]


The president of the Garden Grove Police Association that supported Bruce Broadwater, Nguyen's opponent in the election of 2014, who also was a Democrat "surreptitiously recorded a conversation" with Mayor Nguyen, the newly elected-mayor.[17] According to the source, "during the discussion, Nguyen called City Councilman Phat Bui 'a fucking dick,' a reference to efforts by Bui's supporters to label Nguyen a communist sympathizer for not vehemently protesting Riverside's sister-city relationship with Can Tho, Vietnam".[18] Phat Bui is a Republican councilman of the city of Garden Grove.

Personal life

In July 2015, Bao Nguyen came out as gay.[19] He currently lives in Garden Grove.


  1. "Mayor Bao Nguyen". City of Garden Grove.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Do, Anh (November 18, 2014). "Two cities in Little Saigon elect Vietnamese American mayors". Los Angeles Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Lam, Andrew (December 9, 2014). "Bao Nguyen, Rabble Rouser Transforming Politics in Little Saigon, OC". Huffington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Ramirez, Bianca (November 18, 2014). "Garden Grove's first Vietnamese-American mayor plans to be a hands-on leader". Southern California Public Radio.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Bai, Stephany (November 18, 2015). "Bao Nguyen, First Vietnamese-American Mayor of Major U.S. City, is Running For Congress". NBC News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Wisckol, Martin (October 12, 2015). "Garden Grove mayor Bao Nguyen to announce bid for Congress". The Orange County Register.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Moxley, R. Scott. "Garden Grove Police Union Boss Secretly Recorded Private Conversation With Mayor". OC Weekly. Retrieved 2016-03-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Moxley, R. Scott. "Garden Grove Police Union Boss Secretly Recorded Private Conversation With Mayor". OC Weekly. Retrieved 2016-03-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Bao Nguyen announces Congressional run".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links