SYCAMORE – The past president for the League of Women Voters chapter in DeKalb County announced her intent to run for the office of county clerk and recorder.
Linh Nguyen of DeKalb said her upbringing in Vietnam and running the county’s league chapter during the 2020 elections gave her more of an appreciation for the local election process and democratic government. Nguyen is a chemistry and biochemistry instructor at Northern Illinois University and has a doctoral degree in computational chemistry. Through her work, she said she’s trained to use state-of-the-art technology and super computers to generate and process enormous amounts of data, along with properly vetting tech vendors to get the best possible equipment at the lowest cost.
“So I think I have the passion for democracy and elections and I have the qualifications for that office,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen said the main catalyst that got her to consider running for office was when eight people were shot and killed by a gunman on March 16 in massage parlors near Atlanta, Georgia, six of those victims being women of Asian descent. She said she was moved to run for office after she realized she could use her position as a minority leader in the community to be heard.
“I’ve been waiting long enough, hoping somebody else would speak out for me, for my community, for my children,” Nguyen said. “But maybe it’s time that I have to put myself out there and be the change I want to see.”
With the candidate filing deadline still months away, Nguyen said she would run as a Democrat in the Nov. 8, 2022 race. If elected, she would be the first woman of color to serve in the office.
However, Nguyen said she believes she could keep the office nonpartisan and help restore faith in the voting process. She said her first orders of business would include creating a better partnership with area high schools beyond the already-existing teen election judge program and encouraging more social media outreach to younger and soon-to-be voters.
“Because they are the future electorate,” Nguyen said. “They are the future leaders of DeKalb County. So they need to learn about how a democratic government works. They need to be more engaged with their civic duty so that they can learn, so that later they can lead.”
When asked whether he is running for re-election in the office, DeKalb County Clerk Doug Johnson said he thinks voters need a break from election campaigning from the 2020 general and consolidated elections. He said he had no news at this time regarding another run for office.
“The 2022 election is a ways off,” Johnson said. “So maybe we can enjoy the summer without being badgered by politician’s campaigns. Plus, my office is waiting on the next set of election laws the party in power is going to pass – which we will need to follow, just like in 2020 and Illinois Senate Bill 1863.”
Nguyen said though she first moved to the area in 2016, she believes her community involvement so far in what she called “a purple county” such as DeKalb County speaks for itself. Regardless of any resident’s party affiliation, she said she wants to ensure everyone’s right to vote.
“Because the divisiveness that is going on only benefits lazy politicians, right? Because they don’t have to do much,” Nguyen said. “If they are in the red district, they just slap their name and the Republican label on the ballot and they get the vote. If they’re in the blue district, they slap their name on a ballot with the Democratic party and they get their vote. So I want to change that.”
Katie Finlon covers local government and breaking news for DeKalb County in Illinois. She has covered local government news for Shaw Media since 2018 and has had bylines in Daily Chronicle, Kendall County Record newspapers, Northwest Herald and in public radio over the years.