By Lydia V. Solis

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – On January 25, 2023, the ‘Building Bridges in the Community’ presented a community swearing-in for San Bernardino Mayor Helen Tran, hosted by Frank Montes, Chairman of the Board, Hispanic Coalition of Small Businesses (HCSB). The oath of office was administered by CA Attorney General Rob Bonta.

“San Bernardino deserves a mayor who we can be proud of again,” the new mayor stated during her campaign, “a mayor who will work tirelessly to reduce homelessness, protect public health, rebuild our economy, and restore confidence in city government.”

Mayor Helen Tran, elected in the 2022 mayoral election, is the city’s first Asian American mayor, born in San Diego, Calif. to Vietnamese refugees.  She was the first in her family to earn a college degree, a graduate from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in American Studies.

The program started with an invocation by Pastor Bryon Sims of the Kingdom Culture Worship Center; followed by the Color Guard, the AFJROTC, San Bernardino High School; National Anthem by Rachelle Hutto; and Pledge of Allegiance by the San Gorgonia Girls Scout Troop #419.

The president of Cal State University San Bernardino Dr. Tomas Morales welcomed the guests. Other speakers, besides Mayor Helen Tran, were SBC 5th District Supervisor Joe Baca Jr.; SBC Sheriff Shannon Dicus; SBCUSD Pres. Dr. Scott Wyatt; SBVCCD Board Trustee Frank Reyes; KVC Executive Director and former Senator Connie Leyva; and Dr. Huu Vo, President of the United Council of Vietnamese Homeland & Overseas.

Among entertainers during breaks and dinner were the Mariachi & Ballet Folklorico/Mariachi Los Candenales & SBHS Ballet Folklorico; SBHS Marching Bank; Black Student Union/SBHS BSU Dance; and K-POP/SBHS K-Pop Group.

Mayor Helen Tran, “first Asian American mayor of San Bernardino and only the third female to hold the position,” is sworn in by Attorney General Rob Bonta.

San Bernardino Mayor Helen Tran and family (webpage)

Chambers of Commerce members, from left: Merwynn Montenegro (FACCTC), Geraldine ‘Gigi’ Larson (FACCOC), Gerry Palon (COFACC), Alex Kim (Three Kings Public Affairs), Michael Herrera (HSBC), and Jay Ungos (Small Business Diversity Network). 

Geraldine Larson and Gerry Palon present a certificate from HCSB (FACCOC, a member) for Attorney General Rob Bonta, accepted by his representative. (AG Bonta left early to join VP Kamala Harris to visit families of victims of the Monterey Park shooting.)

Mayor Tran with, from left: author, President Emeritus Merwynn Montenegro, FilAm Chamber of Commerce Tri-County; Geraldine ‘Gigi’ Larson, President, FilAm Chamber of Commerce of Orange County; and Gerry Palon, Founding President, Coalition of FilAm Chambers of Commerce (not in photo: Christen Montero, current FACCTC Pres. and Nick Munoz, FACCTC Board member).

The grand finale of the program:  Traditional Vietnamese Music by Lac Hong Performing Arts Group – “Doan Van Nghe Dan Toc Lac Hong.”