Questioning the Locals | Chue Xiong
get to know your neighbors, one question at a time
WHO: Chue Xiong, 29
WHAT: Eau Claire School Board member and community liaison for the Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association
LIVES: Eau Claire’s northside
IN THE CITY FOR: 15 years
FAMILY: Daughter, born in February
Chue Xiong hadn’t been out of school for many years himself when he mounted a successful campaign last spring to be elected to the Eau Claire school board. “There are a few motivators,” Xiong says when asked about why he ran for office. “The main ones are to make sure the kids are represented and to motivate minorities to take part in local politics.” Despite his relatively young age, Xiong already has led an eventful life: Born in a refugee camp in Thailand, he moved with his family to Eau Claire at the age of eight. Between graduating from North High in 2003 and from Chippewa Valley Technical College last year, Xiong served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including a 14-month stint in Iraq. Xiong, who recently became a first-time father and is studying at UW-Stout, took time to talk to Volume One about serving on the school board, loving (and hating) the Valley’s seasons, and what awesome TV show he’d recommend to his school board peers.
What place in town considers you a regular? None, I try to spread my time everywhere and in doing so I am not a regular anywhere.
What’s your favorite local festival? The International Fall Festival, because I love seeing all the unique cultures that make up this wonderful city.
You moved to Eau Claire at age eight. What are your first memories of coming here? My first memory of Eau Claire was the snow and the cold; I loved it for about 5 minutes before I figure out cold is not really good for the body.
How has Eau Claire changed during your lifetime, especially for Hmong residents? The city has developed (U.S. Highway 53) and the people have become more accepting. The Hmong people have made advancements in the community, they came here as refugees and now participating in politics.
What was the most surprising thing you learned after joining the school board? That there is a lot of work and no matter how much you look into a situation before you make your decision someone will not be happy with it.
What do you wish Eau Claire residents knew about our school system? Our vision: All children in the district are prepared for post-secondary success.
What’s the best part of living in the Chippewa Valley? The four seasons. I enjoy all of them to the fullest.
What frustrates you most about the Chippewa Valley? The amount of snow and cold weather we have been getting.
What is one of the best cultural experiences you’ve ever had in the Chippewa Valley? Making friends with different groups and enjoying their traditional foods.
What’s something very few people know about you? I am very shy and I get headaches right before I give any kind of public speech.
Death bed, one meal from a local restaurant, what would it be? The House Sushi Roll at Muaug Thai Restaurant.
Water Street or Downtown? Downtown, because there’s more to do then just the bars.
South side or north side? I’m biased and will not make a comment.
What book, TV show, or movie would you recommend to other members of the school board? A book I would recommend would be The Art of War by Sun Tzu. The teachings in this book are great for tactfully resolving confrontations. A movie or show I would recommend is The Walking Dead, because it’s awesome.