Several dozen people gathered Thursday morning at Pioneer Frontier playground as Joda Thongnopnua announced his candidacy for the Tennessee House of Representatives in District 30.
According to a press release, Thongnopnua’s first bid for public office will center on concerns of working families and solutions that expand opportunity for the residents of his district and all Tennesseans.
“Working families in Tennessee deserve someone who’s going to fight for them,” said Thongnopnua. “Not just another empty suit who’s only running to rubber stamp a failed agenda of politicians in Nashville. That’s why I’m running, to make sure voters have a clear choice: someone with substance or more of the same.”
Rather than cable news talking points or partisan politics, Joda is committed to running a campaign where substance comes first. Thongnopnua emphasized that bread-and-butter economic issues will be at the forefront of his campaign, arguing they matter most to the working families of his district and across Tennessee, including: raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid, and fighting predatory lending practices.
Standing in East Ridge’s Pioneer Frontier Park, he highlighted his local roots and his family’s story of working their way into the middle class. From them, he learned the value of hard work and perseverance. But he also saw that the path into the middle class is getting increasingly narrower with each passing year.
“I was raised in a working family in East Ridge, so I know first hand that we can’t afford to elect a politician who will settle for two more years of the same problems,” Thongnopnua said. “I watched my parents work hard to provide for my sisters and I. Sometimes, that meant making tough choices. But that never shook their core belief that if they worked hard, played by the rules, and did the right thing, they could achieve the American Dream. But because of the inaction and negligence of our state legislature, too many Tennesseans are falling further behind and find themselves locked out of the promise of opportunity. “
Today, Thongnopnua serves as the Executive Director of the Metro Ideas Project, a non-profit urban policy startup that helps cities like Chattanooga work better, smarter and for the good of all citizens. He has helped city leaders fight for more funding for neglected schools, developed neighborhood revitalization strategies, and worked to put a stop to predatory lending across Tennessee.
Throughout his career, Thongnopnua has developed a reputation as a sensible, pragmatic community leader that has worked with wide range of people, regardless of their political party. He pledged to bring the same consensus building style to his campaign.
Over the next 11 months, Thongnopnua will organize alongside community leaders, local workers, and residents across the district to build a robust campaign focused on fighting for working families.
Tennessee’s 30th State House District includes the East Lake, Missionary Ridge, East Ridge, Brainerd, East Brainerd, Concord, Apison, and Collegedale communities.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 6. For more information on the Joda for TN-30 campaign, visit votejoda.com.