Hobbs’ Campaign Treasurer Attacks Vietnamese Refugee Turned U.S. Citizen Lawmaker

Sen. Martin Quezada [Photo via Arizona State Legislature]

By Terri Jo Neff

A state senator who also serves as treasurer for Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ gubernatorial campaign remains under fire for a tweet he wrote Friday which many perceive as an insult of a foreign-born state lawmaker.

Sen. Martin Quezada (D-LD29) tweeted “This is what #WhiteNationalism looks like” with a finger pointing downward toward Rep. Quang Nguyen’s supportive retweet of Gov. Doug Ducey’s announced signing of legislation banning government-sponsored or funded Critical Race Theory instruction.

Among those who came to Nguyen’s defense was Rep. Justin Wilmeth (R-LD15) who called Nguyen “one of the most kind, funny and caring people in this country,” along with Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-LD20) who reminded Quezada of their colleague’s history.

Nguyen (R-LD1) was born in Vietnam where several of his family members were killed by Communists. He fled to America as a child asylum applicant, later becoming a U.S. citizen and a successful businessman before his election to the Arizona House of Representatives in November 2020.

Known as a quiet and respectful lawmaker, Nguyen was vice-chair of the House Committee on Military Affairs & Public Safety. He was most animated during the session when talking about his daughter’s various experiences and achievements in the U.S. Navy.

But Nguyen garnered national headlines last month when he pushed back on a suggestion by   Rep. Daniel Hernandez (D-LD2) that Communism is not as big of a threat to Americans as White Nationalism. After Hernandez finished, Nguyen spoke up and spoke out.

“So, let me tell you something about White Nationalism,” Nguyen said while looking over at Hernandez. “White Nationalism didn’t drown 250,000 Vietnamese in the South China sea. The Communists did. White Nationalism did not execute 86,000 South Vietnamese at the Fall of Saigon. Communists did. White Nationalism did not put me here. Communism did. So don’t take it lightly. Don’t mock me. Don’t mock what I go through in life.”

As of Saturday night, neither Hobbs nor Quezada had commented on the furor over the tweet.

Nguyen was the prime sponsor of HB2575 which mandates that hospitals offering in-person visitation must include clergy as approved visitors. If a hospital does not offer in-person visitation then hospital staff must facilitate virtual clergy visits. HB2575 cleared both chambers with bipartisan support and was signed by the governor in May.