Rafu Wire and Staff Reports

GARDEN GROVE — Garden Grove City Councilmember Kim Bernice Nguyen announced on Jan. 25 she will challenge Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Cypress) in the 2024 election.

Kim Bernice Nguyen

In November, Nguyen, a Democrat, narrowly lost to then-Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento, 51.68% to 48.32%, in the race for the 2nd District seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. She was first elected to the City Council in 2016 and re-elected in 2020.

Steel, who was born in South Korea and raised in Japan, is in her first term representing the 45th Congressional District, having defeated Democrat Jay Chen in the November election. She previously served on the State Board of Equalization and the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

The district is based in Orange and Los Angeles counties and includes all of Garden Grove, Westminster, Cerritos, Buena Park, Placentia, Hawaiian Gardens, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Artesia, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, and La Palma, as well as parts of Brea and Fullerton.

Nguyen’s campaign website provides the following profile:

“Raised by her Vietnamese father and Mexican mother, Kim Bernice Nguyen learned early on to fight for her accomplishments. She was the first in her family to graduate high school and college. At just 25, she won a seat on the Garden Grove City Council, becoming the youngest person ever elected. In 2020, Kim was overwhelmingly re-elected with more than 75% of the vote.

“As a councilmember, Kim has been a fierce advocate for neighborhoods — championing new economic development, infrastructure projects, and park rehabilitation while reducing crime and homelessness. Kim is a leader on women’s issues, standing up to harassment and seeking equality and justice throughout Southern California. She has fought to ensure that immigrants, like her mother, have the dignity and opportunity to thrive in our communities.

“In Congress, Kim will work to restore integrity and accountability to a broken Washington. She has a proven record of bipartisanship, working with her colleagues on council to deliver meaningful policies to strengthen small businesses and create economic opportunity. Kim understands the challenges we face in Southern California, especially the rising cost of living, housing, education, and healthcare.

“In Congress, she will work to reduce medical and prescription drug costs, increase housing affordability, invest in job training to help raise wages, and reduce inflation so working families in Southern California can thrive.

“A lifelong resident of CA-45, Kim attended Clinton-Mendenhall Elementary, Doig Intermediate, and Santiago High School. She will bring a much-needed public health background to Congress, having formerly worked for CalOptima and now as a program manager for a large health plan [Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan].”

“Washington, D.C. is broken,” Nguyen said in a statement. “Secret deals with right-wing extremists to secure leadership is no way to govern our country. While Washington plays political games, California families are struggling, dealing with the rising cost of living, education, and health care, as well as climate disasters like floods and wildfires.”

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