Yến Huỳnh MPA '19 Appointed to Olympia City Council

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April 7, 2021
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Image of MPA Alumnae Yen Huynh in Grad Cap, Blue shirt and Red fan earrings

“I care deeply about the future of our City – the land and its residents,” writes Yến Huỳnh ’19, an MPA alumna appointed in January 2021 to serve on the Olympia City County in Position #2 (filling the seat recently held by newly appointed Representative Jessica Bateman MPA '12.)  After being selected from 29 candidates, "Huynh now becomes the only person of color on the council and the youngest member. Huỳnh will serve until the November 2021 election, when the seat will be up for election; ... she intends to run for the seat at that time.” - The Olympian, BY BRANDON BLOCK JANUARY 06, 2021 05:45 AM, UPDATED JANUARY 09, 2021 03:32 PM

On her website, Yến dives deeper into her motivations for seeking appointment to the City Council. “I believe wholeheartedly that government at the local level has the most impact on peoples’ daily lives and I feel a genuine civic responsibility to contribute my skills and experiences to Olympia’s long-term growth and success,” she writes. As a young woman of color, daughter of Vietnamese refugees, first-generation college student, a state employee and renter with a multicultural upbringing, Yến’s background informs her approach to governing. She recalls that her experience “helped me to understand the importance of recognizing, welcoming, and celebrating differences.” Looking ahead to her work on the City Council, she writes, “Providing more diversity within the Council should encourage more robust conversations, creative solutions, and more informed decision making.”

When describing her vision, Yến writes, “I see a future where Olympia has thriving small businesses and transformative art, in a diverse community that is accessible and welcoming for all to enjoy.” Her priorities include “public health and safety,” “economic recovery and sustainability as we grow,” and “climate justice” and plans to move these initiatives forward by “leading with diversity, equity, and inclusion,” “supporting our small businesses,” and “strengthening our arts and cultures.”

In recognizing Yến’s achievement, we recognize the journey it took to get there. Yến writes, “People who come from backgrounds like mine are often told by society to keep their heads down, be grateful for what we have, work hard, don’t make any waves, and rarely see ourselves represented in public office.” Yến intends to work to change this narrative and aims to “address these barriers at the city level” and “govern with empathy for Olympians of all backgrounds.”

Congratulations, Yến!