We caught up with AD-68 candidate Joe Dovinh this afternoon to get to the bottom of his late entry into the AD-68 race as a Democrat.Â Mr. Dovinh took issue with a post written by Chris Prevatt and our own interview got off to a rocky and argumentative start, where he almost insisted I record the inteview.Â But, having read his quotes back to him, Dovinh seemed satisfied with my accuracy.
His argument with Prevatt’s post was that it relied heavily on a post by our friendÂ Boslavik.Â Dovinh suggested that Bolsavik’s post, doubting that the blogger had even listened to the radio show where Dovinh claimed to be the second highest vote getting amnong 12 Vietnamese candidates for office in 2008 behind Assemblyman Van Tran.
“On the Bolsvik website, it says that I went boasting about my vote count which Bolsavik got wrong,” said Dovinh.Â “I doubt that Bolsivik listened to the show and if he did, he misquoted me.Â I got the second most votes of any Vietnamese American candidate after Van Tran himself and I cited the number of votes I got in both races.”
Mr. Dovinh is a communications professional with his hand in a number of media outlets.Â He is aÂ freelance journalist and writer with a new blog.Â Â He writes for Vietstar, a weekly newspaper published in Little Saigon, penning an English language columnÂ called “New Voices.”Â He’s also written for Seattle Weekly and done several op-ed’s for the Seattle Post Intellgencer and TheÂ Vietnamese American.Â Dovinh is also a TV host and anchorman for VHN and VAN TV (Vietnamese American TV);Â VHN is carried in seven counties throughout California whileÂ VAN is a national network.Â In addition, he also hosts a legal show that featuresÂ Dina Nguyen, a former First District BoS candidate, and a lawyer with Nantha & Associates.Â The program is broadcast in Vietnamese and covers issues pertaining toÂ personal injury, workmanâ€™s comp, business law.Â In addition, Dovinh is also a court contract interpreter for Vietnamese-speaking individuals in San Diego County, LA County and Orange County.
Â That all said, we moved to the thorny part of the inteview; his ties to Assemblyman Van Tran.
“I see Van Tran as a friend,”Â he said.Â “VanÂ is one of the first Vietnamese American elected officials.Â Heâ€™s a trailblazer and somebody who a lot of people, like myself, look up to.Â On a personal note, there are times we have worked together.”Â
Dovinh described how he and Tran worked together during theÂ 2008Â electional cycle to combat negativity on Vietnamese radio.
“There were a lot of negative political shows on radio attacking –Â not just the candidates — but everyday people,” Dovinh said.Â “One radio station had issued a ‘no personal attacks’ policy which was not being enforced.Â I assisted Van Tran at aÂ press conference that addressed this issue.Â It’s unacceptable when people who are not running for office â€“ friends and supporters â€“ are being attacked and, together,Â we called for community restraint.”Â
Dovinh said the news that he was running for his friend’s former Assembly seat came as aÂ complete surprise to Van Tran.Â And the two men met for lunch to talk about the race.
“I am getting some encouragement (from Van Tran)Â to run but no financial support and no other support in the form ofÂ resources from him otherwise,” said Dovinh.
Dovinh only recently registered as a Democrat and supported Arizona Senator John McCain in the 2008 election.
“John McCain is a hero to Vietnamese Americans for his work after the war in assistanting Vietnamese immigrants to settle in the US,” he said.Â “My community owed John McCain for his work in resettling Vietnamese immigrants after the war.Â It’s an exception I made to my beliefs as a Democrat.”
Â Dovinh sais heÂ doesnâ€™t agree with the Republican agenda.Â Â
“I support healthcare reform,” he said.Â “I support the economic programs including the stimulus program.”Â
Dovinh said he was aÂ registered Decline To State voter for aÂ period of time.Â But he joined the Democratic Party as he re-evaluatedÂ hisÂ political aspirations.Â
“I am more attuned and affilitated with Democrats,” he said.Â “Most of my mentors were Democrats.Â Brian D. Jones, my professor at UniversityÂ of Washington Political Science Department.Â The Late Professor Daniel Lev at Washington held great influence to my way of thinking.Â I havenâ€™t been as active with hardcore Democrats in Orange County.Â But I have been to many Loretta Sanchez and Lou Correra events.Â I have met Assemblyman Jose Solorio.Â I do look up to these politicians and they are leaders of our community.Â I would welcome the opportunity to work more closely with them.Â I admire Loretta with her work on human rights.
Â This begged the question.Â Will he support his friend Van Tran for Congress or support the Democratic imcumbent Sanchez?
“I will vote for my party (of the CD-47 race), however I am supportive of Van Tran as a Vietnamese American,” said Dovinh.Â “I will support Vietnamese Americans who can promote and advance our agenda and I think Van Tran can if he isÂ given the chance.Â But I will vote with my party on that race.Â I also knowÂ Van Tran will vote for the Republican candidate in AD 68 and not me.Â We donâ€™t always agree politically but weâ€™re friends personally.”