I’m not going to detail the list of organizations I belong to, civic and public areas of involvement, education, awards, and accomplishments. Every candidate does this and it seems redundant. I would rather talk about the events in my life that have led me here. The reality is that my story is also the story of our community (H.E.B.). I am a product of the great people living all around us. Today I am here because of you.
I am proud to have been born and raised in H.E.B. My mother immigrated to the States when she was a young woman. She came from Japan without knowing a single word of English and without knowing anyone other than my father. She came here legally to live the American dream. She took a chance.
I was born into a household that spoke two languages. Unfortunately, in a few short years my mother was forced to learn to raise me as a single parent. Life was difficult for her. She struggled to learn English, to learn how to drive a car, to find work, and to provide a home for us. English became a second language in my house. But, she persevered. She never gave up despite the struggles, despite the prejudices. She sacrificed everything for me.
I mention the above because this isn’t where my story ends. This is where it begins. You see, she didn’t raise me alone. The entire community raised me. The people in this community took us under their wing and helped to raise me. Thanks to our friends, neighbors, teachers, and community leaders I never went to bed hungry. I never experienced the loneliness that typically befell others with similar circumstances. So many people adopted my mother and myself to help us through those difficult times. Everyone knew we were poor, except me. I can never repay the debt that we owe to everyone. But, I am determined to try. I am determined to apply these same lessons to my public service.
Our friends and neighbors looked in on us every day. Other parents saw that I got to and from school everyday safely. My teachers took the time to work with me, teach me, and to help me learn English before and after school. My coaches took me in and taught me the value of being a part of a team and to work hard. The handful of other Japanese emigrants in the area saw that we always had food on the table and their husbands always saw that I had gloves and bats and balls to play baseball. And everyone taught me the value of helping one another no matter the circumstance, no matter the color of one’s skin, to be unselfish, and to return the favor. I was taught t appreciate all my good fortune and to respect all those everyone around me. I am a product of this community. Today I am here because of you.