Miayoua Thao believes “Appleton is ready for a diverse perspective at the council table.”
That — along with lots of encouragement she says she has received from community leaders, families, friends and colleagues — is part of the reason she has decided to throw her hat into the ring for the Appleton Common Council District 7 seat being vacated by current alder Kathleen Plank, representing much of the city’s north side.
A political newcomer, Thao is a long-time Appleton resident and one of three candidates vying for the council seat in the city’s Tuesday, February 19, Spring Primary Election. The top two vote-getters in the primary will advance to the general election on April 2, 2019.
A child of Hmong political refugees from Laos, Thao and her husband, Chungyia, have lived in the city she fondly refers to as “home” for 25 years, and in district 7 for the past seven years.
Thao is an advocate for all in the community. She is a member of the of the Hmong-American Partnership and a member of the Milwaukee-based Hmong Chamber of Commerce and says she wants to “bring my experience to the city and to serve the community at large.”
Her experience and commitment to community service has earned recognition from the community. In 2007, Thao was honored with Governor Doyle’s “Good Citizenship” Award. She is a two-time Martin Luther King night awardee and was nominated for the Jane LaChappella McCarty Unity award.
A graduate of UW Oshkosh where she earned Master’s degree in professional counseling and an undergraduate degree in Human Services, Thao has made Appleton her residence of choice. “Appleton is where I chose to start my businesses. I want to grow here. I want my children to grow here and live here,” Thao said.
Over the past six years, with six children ages 4 to 21 in tow, Thao has started and run three successful businesses: a private-practice counseling center, Tongxeng Personal Homecare, and Long Cheng Marketplace.
Long Cheng Marketplace is an open market in a previously-vacant building. The renovated building provides space to other businesses including a full restaurant, a banquet hall, an Asian grocery store, a clothing store, a movie store, and a shoe store.
Thao believes that her business acumen makes her the ideal candidate.
“I think my business experience will be very beneficial to me as a councilperson. It will help me to make better decisions regarding economic development in the city of Appleton,” she said. “I believe I am the right candidate. It’s about making a difference in a community.”
When asked how she felt about being the first female Hmong to run for office in the City of Appleton, Thao said, “I have accomplished a lot, but, I want to do more for the community. I like to share my knowledge to make a difference with people in the community. That’s just me.”
Visit https://www.appleton.org/government/city-clerk/elections for more information about the election, early voting, polling hours and more.