The first Asian American Pacific Islander woman to serve in the legislature from the Sacramento region, Nguyen beat Sacramento City Councilman Eric Guerra by more than seven points in the November 2022 general election. The two, both Democrats, had run neck-in-neck with one another in the June 2022 primary.
According to her legislative biography, Nguyen is the daughter of Vietnam War refugees who fled the country by boat. Born in approximately 1979, Nguyen grew up in Sacramento and went to college locally, graduating from California State University, Sacramento in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and sciences/liberal studies.
Initially aspiring to be a teacher, Nguyen has been executive director since 2008 of Asian Resources Inc, which the Sacramento Bee described in February 2017 as “a Sacramento-based nonprofit that offers social services to low-income immigrant and refugee communities, including those with language barriers.”
The paper was writing about Nguyen as she’d just been appointed unanimously to Elk Grove City Council, becoming the first Asian American women to serve. The appointment was not without controversy, with 18 people calling for a special election, including one resident who told the council, “I think this process shows the disrespect you all have for the residents of Elk Grove.”
Nguyen subsequently won election to the council in 2018. She has two children.
The press release section of Nguyen’s website hasn’t been updated beyond a release to announce her swearing into office, as of this writing in early February 2023. That said, she has wasted no time since being elected, already having introduced seven bills through this writing. These bills include:
AB 32: Nguyen’s first bill, which she introduced on the day she was sworn into office, would expand the definition of violent crime to include felony hate crimes and would mandate a local program. The Elk Grove Daily News noted that this was a reintroduction of a failed bill by former Assemblyman and now-Sacramento County Sheriff Jim Cooper.
Nguyen told the paper there’d been a substantial increase in hate crimes against various groups, saying, “Acts of violence inspired by racism and hate are among the most heinous crimes a person can commit, we cannot allow individuals who seek to cause harm and divide our communities early release from prison.”
Groups such as the ACLU opposed Cooper’s bill, with the paper noting that a representative for the organization said in a public hearing in 2022, “This bill is not about violent crime, it is about harsher punishment for non-violent crimes. Targeting non-violent hate crimes by re-categorizing them as violent will do nothing to stop violent hate crime.”
AB 333: Another of Nguyen’s bills, introduced on Jan. 30, 2023, seeks to amend the vehicle code to allow the issuance of licenses or permits for wrecked or abandoned vehicles.
District Boundaries and Office Locations
Nguyen’s district includes over 500,000 people within Sacramento County, according to census data posted on her legislative website. The district features all or parts of the cities of Elk Grove and Sacramento as well as unincorporated communities such as Freeport, a tiny settlement in the Sacramento River Delta.
Nguyen keeps the following offices: