Dean Tran’s personal story of arriving in America with his family as refugees from the Vietnam War and climbing the ladder of success via education, business and politics is a remarkable one. On Tuesday, he added another stepping stone to his inspiring story in being elected to the Massachusetts State Senate from the Worcester and Middlesex District.
Tran’s victory was a big one for the Republican party and the Baker-Polito team, which campaigned for the Fitchburg City Councilor in the tight special election race to succeed Democrat Jennifer Flanagan.
Tran also becomes the first Vietnamese American elected to the Senate. Voters of North Central Massachusetts should be proud in making that political breakthrough a reality.
The Senate could use more ethnic and political diversity and Tran accomplishes both in his election victory.
Tran becomes only the seventh GOP senator in the 40-member legislative body, which is dominated by 33 Democrats.
In recent years, the Senate has become increasingly more “progressive” on social and economic issues, often butting heads with the House of Representatives and its more moderate Democrat-controlled majority.
With the Senate in turmoil, rocked by a sexual assault scandal that forced Senate President Stanley Rosenberg to step down from his leadership post, it opens the door for fiscally conservative Republicans like Tran to step up on budgetary, healthcare and pocketbook issues affecting Bay State residents.
The Senate GOP may be small in number, but a unified minority presenting good ideas can build influence in the Bay State. And from Billerica to the Berkshires to Leominster and Cap Cod, citizens are expressing a growing frustration with Beacon Hill’s Democratic majority to prioritize issues, spend money wisely, and solve lagging problems.
If the Worcester and Middlesex District election was to signify an anti-Trump referendum against all Republicans, it didn’t turn out that way. Voters were smart enough to distinguish between the faraway antics in Washington and the importance of responsible, local representation back home. A plurality of voters believed Tran fit the bill; they put party label aside to support Tran over three other candidates, including two Leominster city councilors — Democrat Sue Chalifoux Zephir and Claire Freda, who ran unenrolled.
Tran must understand Democrats won’t take this loss sitting down. He’ll likely face a sterner test 11 months from now when statewide contests, including the gubernatorial race, draw more voters to the polls. For now though, he has a chance to start fresh and build the key political relationships that can make a positive difference for North Central Massachusetts citizens.
Our advice to Dean Tran is simple: Put the people first and work in a bipartisan fashion to get the job done.