Bogalusa, which lies on the Mississippi border north of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain, has struggled in recent years. As jobs disappear and the town shrinks, urban decay and crime are on the rise. Six people were shot dead in the town last year, which was double the year before, according to the New Orleans Advocate. Eight have been fatally shot so far this year, almost all of them young Black men like Truong.
The fact that the small town’s murder rate is on par with that of New Orleans is what the new mayor says compelled him to run. Just the other week, Truong was among those fleeing when shots rang out at a high school football game, leaving a 15-year-old dead.
“When I was in college, I always knew that I wanted to run for something, but I never thought it would be this soon,” he said. “But after constantly seeing that most of the victims are people my age, some people that I went to school with, and at that point, I was just like, you know, I have to try to do something about this.”
Schuver said the new mayor impressed voters during the campaign by calling for police to be more present in the community, not just at crime scenes, and by suggesting ideas to maximize economic opportunities with the town’s existing airport and a new interstate corridor.
“I wouldn’t be shocked if someday you don’t see him running for much larger races on the line as well,” Schuver said. “Somebody that young might make mistakes along the line, but I think even the ones who didn’t support him would have to agree that he’s got a good head on his shoulders.”
Truong may be young, but he had an impressive résumé before his election. He attended Washington University in St. Louis, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and served as student body president. He then interned on Capitol Hill and worked as a teacher at a local school.
The new mayor says he’s subverting the stereotype that young people are apathetic to politics or social change. “We’re fired up right now because there are so many things going wrong in our country and we know that we have to live with the impact,” he said.
He’s also grateful that voters of all ages put their faith in him to run Bogalusa, and he hopes to make his fellow Gen Z’ers proud.
“It’s not lost on me the responsibility to represent my generation well, because I know that there are a lot of people that are still skeptical and you’re waiting to see what happens,” Truong said. “It’s humbling and it’s also a huge responsibility, but I’m not going to take it lightly.”
Published: 2022-11-10 21:12:04