For­mer naval of­fi­cer run­ning for state house

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By MAY ZHOU in Houston mayzhou@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Nghi Ho of­fi­cially launched his cam­paign for Texas House Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for West Houston’s Dis­trict 149 on Dec 30, 2013 at Gil’s BBQ.

Lo­cal elected of­fi­cials, Repub­li­can Party lead­ers and sup­port­ers gath­ered to sup­port Ho, who was re­cently elected to a fifth term on the Alief In­de­pen­dent School Dis­trict ( ISD) Board of Trustees, where he has been a suc­cess­ful leader in rais­ing ed­u­ca­tion stan­dards while low­er­ing taxes.

At the launch party, Ho said that he and his fam­ily had lived in the Dis­trict 149 com­mu­nity since the late 1970s. Both he and his son An­drew grad­u­ated from Alief’s El­sik High School and his daugh­ter Amanda was cur­rently a ju­nior there.

Ho re­counted his pub­lic ser­vice record. “I served as an of­fi­cer in the US Navy for five years and have been elected five times to the Alief ISD Board of Trustees since 1996.

“This is my home and I love my com­mu­nity,” he said.

Talk­ing about his rea­sons for want­ing to run for of­fice, Ho said, “Serv­ing on the school dis­trict board has been both a re­ward­ing and frus­trat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The most ag­gra­vat­ing thing is that of­ten times we are told that we can’t do this, we can’t do that, be­cause this is the state law.

“Now I want to go to Austin and fix the state law,” he said.

Ho’s plat­form in­cludes low­er­ing taxes, im­prov­ing dis­ci­pline in schools and trans­parency of dropout rates. “We need to in­crease aca­demic achieve­ment and in­crease rigor,” he said. “We need to com­pete at the global level, not just against other school dis­tricts. We need to com­pete bet­ter against China and In­dia.”

Ho is most crit­i­cal of the state’s as­sess­ment sys­tem, which re­cently adopted the stan­dard test STAAR to re­place the pre­vi­ous TAKS, both stan­dard­ized tests for grades 9 to 11. He calls this switch purely “play­ing with num­bers”.

“Ev­ery time they use a new sys­tem, the score drops so that they can show we have im­proved from a 50 per­cent pass rate to 90 per­cent af­ter 10 years, yet our SAT scores con­tinue to drop. They have been do­ing this since the 1980s. It’s a scam. Half the kids go­ing to col­lege are not ready and have to take remedial classes af­ter ad­mis­sion. We need to make a high school diploma mean some­thing. ”

For­mer Texas State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and cur­rent pres­i­dent of the Texas Asian Repub­li­can Party As­sem­bly, Martha Wong said she has been en­cour­ag­ing Ho to run “be­cause he’s ded­i­cated to mak­ing the com­mu­nity bet­ter”.

“He has al­ready done pub­lic ser­vice, and it’s a good time for him to move to a higher level be­cause his kids are in col­lege and high school so his fam­ily re­spon­si­bil­ity is less­ened,” Wong said. “He knows what’s good for our peo­ple and he will be a good rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the peo­ple.

“He has two chal­lengers, but Ho’s rep­u­ta­tion is su­pe­rior to the other two peo­ple, so I think he will do well,” Wong said, adding that the pri­mary will be in March 2014, and the fi­nal elec­tion in Novem­ber.

MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY

Nghi Ho (left) talks to sup­port­ers at his cam­paign launch for Texas State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for House Dis­trict 149 in West Houston on Dec 30, jok­ingly and fondly calls Martha Wong (right), for­mer State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and cur­rent pres­i­dent of the Texas Asian Repub­li­can Party As­sem­bly, “mother” be­cause she has en­cour­aged Ho to run.

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