A Gwinnett County attorney has thrown his hat in the ring to be the next Congressman representing Georgia’s 7th Congressional District.
Democrat Ethan Pham was one of six Democrats to recently qualify for the seat. The Democratic and Republican primaries for the Nov. 6 election will be held on May 22.
“This country has given me and my family so many opportunities to make a better life for ourselves,” Pham said. “I’m running to make sure that those same opportunities remain available for all Americans, regardless of who they are.”
Pham said he was born in South Vietnam and his father and grandfather fought alongside the U.S. for South Vietnam in the Vietnam War.
He said his father was imprisoned following the war and, once released, starting the process of moving the family to the U.S. They first relocated to Minnesota before coming to Rome, Georgia.
“It was really tough in the beginning,” Pham said. “My folks, we came here with nothing but the clothes on our backs. My parents each had to work two jobs washing dishes at a local restaurant to make ends meet, and we had to rely on the social safety net. My siblings and I, we got to eat because of food stamps and got our shots because of Medicaid.”
Pham said his first career after college was as a software developer. When his parents were laid off during the economic downturn, Pham helped them start a farm, where he worked when not working on software.
“They came to me asking for help, so I decided to take out a loan and purchase a chicken farm,” he said. “We’ve got a chicken farm up in Calhoun. We’ve got two chicken houses and approximately 24,000 chickens.”
After that, Pham went to law school and worked as a city attorney. More recently, he opened his own law firm with his wife.
Pham said he was motivated to run to give other families a chance to achieve success.
“Our country is facing a lot of challenges right now, but I think some of the most important issues that we are facing right now are healthcare and immigration,” he said. “America is a place where people who are willing to work hard can move up that American ladder. To do that, we need to invest in our children and our families.”
If elected, Pham said he wants to make sure kids are safe in schools, families have access to healthcare and to move toward a “compassionate immigration policy.”
“The Cumming area has seen some economic growth, and that’s largely buoyed by skilled, imported IT workers,” Pham said. ” If our local and national immigration policies are harsh and always in flux, the growth we are seeing could be at risk.”
Pham said he is aware of Forsyth’s reputation as a conservative stronghold but wanted to find out common grown with voters.
“The voters in Forsyth want the same things that people everywhere want,” he said. “They want to be able to take their kids to the doctor when they’re sick without going broke … people in Forsyth want good paying jobs, and I’m all about opportunities and creating good paying jobs.”
Pham serves on the Gwinnett County Transit Advisory Board, Gwinnett County Police Foundation and is a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett.