Bopha Malone ~ From Cambodia to a Congressional Campaign

Neighbors and friends joined Bopha and Tom Malone (center) and family at Saturday’s campaign event in Bedford – Image (c) JMcCT, 2018 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

Soma Norodom (c) spoke to the assembled guests – Image (c) JMcCT, 2018 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

Bedford’s Bopha Malone was among the dozen-plus candidates running for retiring Congresswoman Niki Tsongas seat in Massachusetts’ Third District primary on September 4.

In a post-election thank you to her supporters Malone wrote, “I know that [either] Lori Trahan or Dan Koh will do an incredible job representing our district and I am confident that either one of them will keep in mind the interests and diversity which make up our country today. I will work my hardest to ensure their victory in November and I look forward to watching their influence in Congress.” Editor’s Note: According to the Boston Globe on September 7, Trahan and Koh, separated by just 52 votes, have each filed for a recount of Tuesday’s primary vote.

Bopha Malone’s daughter (c) and two friends welcomed guests to the party – Image (c) JMcCT, 2018 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

Malone’s message continued, “I knew that someone needed to represent the vibrant Southeast Asian community and I am proud to have helped offer this district a truly representative field of candidates. I promise that my dedication will not end with this election.”

The campaign had very special roots. “I grew up in a Thai refugee camp,” Malone wrote, “and if you had told me that one day I would run for Congress, I wouldn’t have believed you.” As a two-year-old in 1977, she escaped Pol Pot’s regime in Cambodia by walking to Thailand with her mother. Eventually, her family reached the Philippines, and then Texas where they stayed with relatives, finally settling Lynn, Massachusetts when she was 9  years old.

Serey Van-Ung (r) and her family were friendly with Bopha’s family growing up in Lynn and each moved to Bedford without the others knowledge. Their families remain neighbors, living just around the corner! – (l-r) Sieng Ung, Amra Ung, Akira Ung, and Serey Van-Ung – Image (c) JMcCT, 2018 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

“From the start, my candidacy aimed to inspire everyone to look beyond their current situations and think about bigger dreams. If I inspired even one person to take a big risk, focus on a big challenge, or even run for office, then that’s all the victory I need. As for me, I will work to keep the spirit of the American Dream alive and in the hands of so many hardworking Americans like you. I appreciate your support more than you know and I thank you all for taking this journey with me.

Bopha Malone with Cambodian Master Potter Yary Livan, standing before a ceramic panel commissioned for the Malone’s home – Image (JMcCT, 2018 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image)

“Above all, I want to thank my family, who have been unwavering in their love and support from the very beginning. To my mom, and to everyone one of you, thank you for your inspiration and encouragement.”

At a pre-election event, Bopha’s family, neighbors, and campaign workers gathered in Bedford on Saturday to welcome Soma Norodom, a direct descendant of King Norodom I, the Founder and Patriarch of the Cambodian Royal Family, who visited Bedford to campaign on her friend’s behalf, meeting voters and sharing stories.

Jean and Ralph Hammond, catching up with Bopha – Image (c) JMcCT, 2018 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

Bedford Rotary colleague and friend Ralph Hammond  added, “No matter, win or lose, what will count most is that this [election] will be a victory for a young woman escaping death in Cambodia, somehow making it to the USA, progressing through our public school system, then on through college and, not only give back to others, but will be forever a model for girls and women, and demonstrating for all of us the strength we can build in service above self, most importantly through service to others.  Bopha, in our hearts,  YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A WINNER!”

Click this link to learn more about Bopha Malone and her campaign

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