“Sam’s first car was an orange Ford Pinto with a bumper sticker that read, “This vehicle explodes on impact.” The car’s stereo system was the envy of any high school kid, as it had AM reception only!”
Here’s a person whose life story can provide a reality check for us suburbanites when we may be feeling sorry for ourselves.
In a Weekly Standard article “From the Killing Fields to Congress? Race to Watch:Meas v. Tsongas in Massachusetts,” we are introduced to Sam Meas (right), a Cambodian-American running for Congress as a Republican in Massachusetts, a state with not one Republican in Congress.
Sam Maes is a refugee from the Khmer Rouge’s genocide. He does not know his entire family or when he was born. According to The Standard, he is the first-ever Cambodian-American to run for the US Congress.
“It’s a welcome respite from his opponent, Niki Tsongas, the widow of Senator PaulTsongas, and a solid Democratic vote in the House, voting with Nancy Pelosi some 98 percent of the time. Tsongas, a freshman in Massachusetts’s most conservative district stumbled during a town hall meeting last summer when she poorly explained why Congress is exempt from its wonderful health bill. After she stammered about how she gets an “array” of health care options, voters shouted back that they, too, want a choice.
Voters may not get a choice in health care, but should Meas win the September 14 primary, he’ll give them a choice on Election Day. “She’s so convoluted, she’s so out of touch,” Meas says. “The things that many of us in her district oppose – the health care bill, funding ACORN – she voted for all of them.” Tsongas, the newest member of the Massachusetts House delegation, narrowly won her first campaign for Congress 51 percent to 46 percent in a 2007 special election against Republican Jim Ogonowski.
Meas plans to bring many first time voters to the poll with him. Over 20,000 Cambodians live in Lowell, the main city of the 5th congressional district, making it the second largest Cambodian population in the United States, after Long Beach.”
From Sam Maes’ Web site:
Sam (Sambo) Meas was born in Cambodia, Kandal Province, sometime between 1970 and 1972. As a result of the civil war and the genocidal regime of the Khmer Rouge that drove Cambodia back into the Stone Age, all institutions and birth and death records were destroyed.
Sam’s Family The United States Immigration and Naturalization record lists December 31, 1972, as his official date of birth, but Sam could actually be two years younger or older. In 1983, Sam and his oldest cousin escaped the war zone along the Cambodia-Thai border and made their way to Kao I Dang refugee camp inside Thailand. After several months of living in the camp, Sam’s cousin left Sam in the camp alone, went back to Cambodia, and never returned. For the next three years, alone in the camp, Sam relied on the generosity of other Cambodian refugee families to survive.
Sam and the other families shared a common situation: they were all Cambodian (Khmers) and fellow refugees living in barb-wired and guarded camp inside Thailand. Because Sam was alone, the other families took sympathy on him, giving him money, food, and clothing. In return, Sam cooked, cleaned, sewed, babysat, carried water, chopped wood, and smuggled food and goods from Thai entrepreneurs in the villages bordering the camp. But through it all, Sam was acutely aware that he was an outsider among those families, as he was not bonded to them by blood. At one point, a young Thai military officer took Sam in, fed him, and let him watch TV; and in exchange Sam did his laundry, and shined his shoes and boots. For the most part, Sam was as happy a teenage boy as could be expected under the circumstances. In fact, he considered himself fortunate. For a while he worked as an aid to a Thai UNHCR immigration officer, running errands, making coffee, doing research and translations. He was not starving, he was not physically or mentally abused, he had a place to lay his head at night, and he had friends. While engaging in the vigorous daily survival activities, with a lot of luck and the grace of the Lord Buddha, Sam managed to persuade fellow Cambodians who were teaching English to take him on as a student so that that he could learn English free of charge. He also attended grammar school taught in Khmer, the language of Cambodia. As a result, Sam is now fluent in both in English and Khmer. After three years in the camp, Sam was sponsored by Catholic Charities of Virginia and was permitted to resettle in the United States of America as an “unaccompanied minor.” Sam arrived in the United States on November 16, 1986, as a foster child of the Abbey family of Richmond, Virginia. Chris and Louise Abbey gave Sam as much as love, care, and support as they gave their own children, two boys and two girls….
He graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Finance in 1996 and moved to Boston, Massachusetts. For nearly two years now, Sam has been a Principal with State Street Global Advisors, a division of State Street Corporation, where he oversees a team of Performance Measurement Analysts providing performance and attribution data to Active Quantitative (Developed and Emerging Markets Strategies) Portfolio Managers. Sam married his long-time girl friend and partner, Leah SaroeunSuan-Meas, in June 2001. Sam and Leah are proud parents of two beautiful, intelligent, vibrant, and energetic girls, Monique and Sydney. Since June 2001 Sam has volunteered his time as a member of the Board of Directors of North Suffolk Mental Health Association (NSMHA), based in Chelsea, MA. NSMHA is a private, non-profit agency, with an annual budget of about $30M, providing community-based services to children, adults, and families dealing with problems of mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse. He is presently serving as the Vice Chairman of the Board and has also served as Chairman of Finance, Personnel, By-Law, Compliance, and Audit Committees.
Sam’s first car was an orange Ford Pinto with a bumper sticker that read, “This vehicle explodes on impact.” The car’s stereo system was the envy of any high school kid, as it had AM reception only!”
Join Sam Meas on Facebook.
Connect with Benjamin Hodge at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, The Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas. He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011. His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRA, Kansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).