ITHACA, NY – One of Ithaca’s second ward Council seats will soon have a new occupant: software engineer Ducson Nguyen. Representing the democratic party, Nguyen defeated his opponent, the independent Sean Gannon. We asked a Nguyen a few questions about what the victory means for him and how he sees himself fitting into the Common Council.

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1 – What does this victory mean to you personally?
2 – Do you think your win says anything about voter attitudes in Ithaca?
3 – What are your major goals on the council?
4 – What strengths do you think you’ll bring to council?
5 – What do you foresee as your biggest challenges and opportunities going forward?

1 — What does this victory mean to you, personally?

“It’s a vindication of months of hard work planning, organizing, and knocking on doors. Running for office is far outside my comfort zone, but I went for it because I thought I could help the city, and the work has paid off. The process has also made me more grateful than ever to have the family, friends, and community that I do. It’s humbling to see that kind of support behind you.”

2 — Do you think your win says anything about voter attitudes in Ithaca?

“I think it shows that residents are truly concerned about the affordability of living in Ithaca, because that was the focus of my campaign. I’d also like to think that both my primary and general election victories demonstrated that voters appreciated thoughtful, detailed stances on issues. Many people I talked to told me that having specific information on my website about my points of view brought them to support me.”

3 — What are your major goals on the council?

“One of my first goals is to build the infrastructure necessary to do a better job keeping 2nd ward residents informed about city issues (and the public meetings relevant to those issues). Much of this will be online, but I know that not everyone has easy access to the internet, so I’ll work on how to reach out to those people regularly as well.

Beyond that, I want to work hard to find every single little thing I can do on council to work towards a more affordable city, and focus on bringing more safety to our roads and sidewalks for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. 

4 — What strengths do you think you’ll bring to council?

“I’m a policy wonk who enjoys reading about the innovative approaches to governance that other cities are experimenting with. I also work with and love technology. I want to bring innovation to the council, combining those interests to see that Ithaca doesn’t just take direction from other cities, but starts being an inspiration for them as well.”

5 – What do you foresee as your biggest challenges and opportunities going forward?

“Many of the things that we want for our city cost money, and even in an improving economy that’s hard to come by. So obviously we’ll have to be realistic about setting goals. But many things can be accomplished by grinding away with hard work, so I’m looking forward to bringing my energy and commitment to the team, diving in and seeing where I can contribute the most.”

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.