A champion for families — with a uniquely American story
Dr. Mai Khanh Tran has been caring for the children of California’s hardworking families for twenty-five years, and she is running for Congress to fight for all Americans to have the opportunity to succeed. Born in Vietnam, Mai Khanh’s parents had to leave her and her three siblings in an orphanage to protect them before the Fall of Saigon. She and her siblings came to the United States as refugees as part of Operation Baby-Lift in 1975, when Mai Khanh was nine years old. “I still am so grateful and humble,” she has said of the Marines who carried her to safety. Once reunited with her parents in Oregon, her family worked tirelessly to make ends meet. Her father, a judge in Vietnam, found work as a janitor in a courthouse before going back to school to study accounting. Mai Khanh and her siblings worked alongside their parents picking berries during summers, and the family of six slept in the living room and kitchen to rent out their apartment’s bedroom. With the help of Pell grants and scholarships, Mai Khanh earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard — cleaning dorm bathrooms as a janitor, among other jobs, to get by. Determined to serve others, she went on to graduate from Dartmouth-Brown Medical School with the help of scholarships, federal grants, and student loans. Following her residency in pediatrics at UCLA, Mai Khanh made Orange County her home and joined a multi-specialty group practice where she is still serving children of working families. At a time when extreme Republicans in Congress are determined to undo all the progress we have worked so hard to make, she is running to take them on and to get our country moving forward again.
A fighter protecting access to care when we've never needed one more
Mai Khanh became inspired to run for the first time to be the champion her young patients and their families need in Washington. “I am absolutely incensed over what’s been happening,” she has said. The first patient she saw the morning after the 2016 election was a child with a brain tumor whose family had health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Realizing that their future access to lifesaving healthcare was in the hands of a greedy, heartless, and out-of-touch Republican-controlled federal government, the child’s mother, a local nail salon worker, wept with Mai Khanh in the examination room. She joined protests, went on local Vietnamese-language TV to explain the stakes for immigrant communities, and when the GOP Congress voted to repeal Obamacare she knew she had to run to fight back. “We need to be in the game,” Mai Khanh has said. She is prepared to fiercely defend access to all reproductive health care in Congress. She will fight on behalf of our seniors and their families who all too often spend their final days together worrying about affording care as her own father did. Health care is a deeply personal issue for Mai Khanh: “I’m a two-time breast cancer survivor, and was blessed to become a mother in my forties,” she has said. “Thankfully, I had reliable health insurance that I could afford, or neither would have been possible.” Mai Khanh is fighting for all Americans to have the access to health care they need so that they and their families can have the opportunity to thrive.
The candidate who has what it takes to win a high-stakes race
Mai Khanh is taking on incumbent Republican Congressman Ed Royce, who has lost touch with Californians after 25 years serving special interests in Washington. Hillary Clinton won California’s 39th District by more than 8 points in 2016, and this is a must-win race on Democrats’ path to taking back the House. Royce has been advancing the dangerous Republican agenda that hurts the women and families he was elected to serve — including voting to take away 23 million Americans’ health insurance — and they are ready to hold him accountable. The GOP and their deep-pocketed special interests will do everything they can to help their longtime loyal ally Royce hold on to this seat, but Mai Khanh has what it takes to win: “I’ve overcome pretty incredible odds,” she has said, “so I feel that I have the heart and the steel to make this happen.” The EMILY’s List community — now more than five million strong — is thrilled to support Mai Khanh’s campaign to bring new leadership to Congress. Let’s all chip in to ensure that she has the resources she needs to win this fight against the outrageous Republican status quo in Washington.