At the Democratic National Convention, Kaying Thao is in class by herself: The Roseville woman is the only Hmong-American delegate at the assembly.
Asked by Roseville Patch what that means to her, Thao replied, "That means we have a lot more work to do." She said it is "sad and upsetting' to her that North Carolina, the home state of the 2012 DNC, has the nation's third-largest population of Hmong Americans but no delegates.
But that aside, Thao said Thursday afternoon she was loving her time at the DNC. "There are so many highlights," said Thao, who is a Roseville School Board member. "Everything is overwhelming and exceptional. I am just excited and proud to be representing the people of Roseville and Minnesota, and the Hmong people."
Thao said she was particularly touched by First Lady Michelle Obama's speech on Tuesday night, noting, "I found myself crying so much."
Thao said she was also impressed with the speech of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who spoke on the importance of education. "Education is the No. 1 issue because it is the foundation for building our economy," she said.
In an interview with WCCO radio, Thao, 34, said she has gotten involved in the political process on behalf of her three children. "I can do all the reading I want on the process, but nothing compares to this. I feel so proud to be an American. I feel so proud to be a citizen."
Asked how she feels about President Barack Obama's chances for re-election, Thao said she feels "extremely confident that he will be re-elected in November,'' particularly if the DNC delegates harness the enthusiasm of the assembly and then share that with people when they return home.
Thao ran for the School Board last year and was elected in November, then started her term in January. To find out more about Thao and why she ran for the Roseville School Board
Meanwhile, want to read other Roseville Patch coverage of the DNC? To see our story on Roseville's Democratic reaction to Michelle Obama's speech Tuesday night