Tara Thorn Hong is a Democrat running for Massachusetts State Representative in the 18th Middlesex District.

In 2013, with the help of his step-father, Tara came to Lowell from Cambodia with his mother and his sister. They arrived with no English skills and no money, and he worried they would never be a part of the community. While there were challenges, they found a place to call home.

“The City of Lowell has never been a strange place to live. The community welcomed us and gave us a chance to rebuild our lives.”

Upon arrival, Tara entered 7th grade at the Stoklosa Middle School in the Acre neighborhood. There he was supported and prepped for high school, where he thrived with the help of the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. He finished school with a 4.0 GPA and went to Middlesex Community College for one semester, then on to UMass Lowell, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in Political Science and a minor in Criminal Justice.

“I believe that state and local governments should offer a variety of programs to help students from all walks of life feel welcome and supported, and give them the tools necessary to become confident and capable learners.”

Tara spends most Saturday mornings with the Lowell Litter Krewe, cleaning different areas of the city each week. He serves as a board member for the Krewe and for Mill City Grows, both of which help the community in many ways. To help make Lowell the best it can be, he has volunteered for political campaigns of those he believes in. He has had the honor of working full time for the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association as the Civic Engagement Coordinator. Through face-to-face engagement with the public, educating them about voting and the importance of every voice, he understands the struggles that many experience in their day-to-day lives.

“My career plan remains as it was when I first arrived in this country—I will serve the community that gave me so much. I want to help ease the struggles faced by my neighbors.”

Through these experiences, Tara has learned how important it is for those in leadership to communicate with the people they represent. It is only through the exchange of actual concerns and ideas that we can create new initiatives and programs that will improve our residents’ lives.

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