Home Wisconsin Yee Leng Xiong announces run to represent Wausau area in State Assembly

Yee Leng Xiong announces run to represent Wausau area in State Assembly

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Originally published by the Wausau Pilot & Review.

A Marathon County supervisor could be the first Hmong state representative if he is elected to represent the 85th Assembly district.

Yee Leng Xiong, a longtime leader in Marathon County’s Hmong community and the Dist. 19 supervisor for the Marathon County Board, will seek the state seat this fall, according to a campaign news release.

Xiong will run as a Democrat in the district, which encompasses Wausau and Weston.

“I was born in Wausau and raised in Weston and I want to give back to the community as their assembly representative,” Xiong told Wausau Pilot & Review.

The incumbent in Dist. 85, Republican Pat Snyder, was drawn out of the district and into the 87th. But Snyder told WisPolitics he plans to run for the 85th, which he’s represented since his 2016 election. Snyder said he’s “going to get an apartment or something” to establish residency in the redrawn 85th.

Wisconsin maps were redrawn and approved by state leaders earlier this year.

In a brief interview after making a formal announcement, Xiong said the community faces many challenges including affordable housing scarcity, workforce shortages, skyrocketing child care costs and other issues. Xiong said he wants to represent the community an assembly member to ensure a bright future for local residents.

The redrawing of Wisconsin legislative maps has scrambled several races, with some incumbents deciding not to run or change their districts instead. Although the redrawn maps still “tilted toward the Republicans,” they are competitive enough that “the party that wins the most votes will win the most seats” in the Wisconsin Legislature. The maps were drawn in 2011 after the Republicans gained a majority in the legislature, and refined in 2021, giving the party a supermajority in an 50-50 split state.

Xiong, the current Vice President of the D.C. Everest School Board and a former trustee of the Village of Weston, was elected unopposed on April 2 for another two-year term on the Marathon County Board of Supervisors. He will hold on to the county seat for now, saying the decision to retain that seat is a conversation for the future.

In the news release, Xiong said that he has garnered widespread endorsements and support from leaders, businesses, and citizens. Donna Seidel, former representative for the 85th; John Robinson, former Wausau mayor and current Dist. 4 county supervisor; Randy Radtke, newly elected county supervisor for Dist. 10; Mandy Roberts, a financial and securities expert; and Mary Thao, former Wausau City Council member and former Wausau School Board member each spoke during the announcement event.

In the campaign news release, Xiong said his campaign will focus, among others, on economic development, stressing support for small business entrepreneurs and inviting corporate businesses to invest in the district; securing adequate funding for public safety and supporting law enforcement training for community policing; securing funding for public schools; ensuring access to justice for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and ensuring funding for organizations helping such survivors. He emphasized his commitment to expanding health and mental health services as well as preserving and protecting the environment.

If elected, Xiong would be the first Hmong in the Wisconsin Assembly. According to U.S. Census data from July 2023, Wausau and Marathon County have residents who are 11% and 6.3% Asian, respectively. Although the Census does not provide a breakdown of the Asian American population, a significant number of those residnets belong to the Hmong community.

Xiong was named one of Wisconsin’s Most Influential Asian American Leaders by Madison365 in 2020.