Tong talks background, politics

Angela Xiao

State attorney-general hopeful William Tong knows the Elm City’s votes are a must for Democrats running for office in Connecticut. With elections less than two weeks away, Tong honed in on the Yale vote by speaking candidly with Yalies at an intimate Thursday event hosted by the Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Association, known by its acronym YULAA.

Tong, a state representative and the Democratic nominee for Connecticut’s top civil law enforcement position, spoke earnestly with a small group of students in William L. Harkness Hall. As midterm elections near, Tong opened with an appeal to Yale’s voters — telling attendees about his own background and political career. He then delved into a discussion about the race, his plans for the position and an interpretation of the legal field’s current atmopshere, before ending with another appeal to vote.

“Unless you all turn out and vote, we’re not going to win,” Tong told attendees. “That’s true in cities across the country because Democrats stand for, in general, fairness and equity and social change. Fairness and equity and social change matter most in cities … New Haven is an incredibly important part of that equation.”

In a moderated discussion between Tong and Akhil Rajan ’21, a member of the board of YULAA and Dwight Hall, Tong spoke frankly about the lack of diversity and representation he experienced as the son of immigrants living in Connecticut. Although the landscape has changed since his childhood, he highlighted the importance of continuing to push for progress.

Describing himself as one of very few Asian-Americans in his immediate community, Tong explained that he grew up helping out in the kitchen of his parents’ Chinese restaurant. He later attended the Massachusetts boarding school Phillips Academy, Brown University and the University of Chicago Law School.

“I was surprised by how personal [Tong] was,” attendee and YULAA member Nathalie Beauchamps ’21 said. “It was really well-balanced with personal commentary and political stances.”

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