AN immigrant, Marine, husband, and entrepreneur, Paul Nimsuwan is running to represent Nevada’s 35th assembly district.
Having come to the U.S. at the age of 14, Nimsuwan grew up in Las Vegas and went on to graduate from Las Vegas’ Durango High School, before attending the city’s University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he received his B.A. in criminal justice.
While in college, Nimsuwan enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving until 2007 when he was injured while serving in the line of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Following his time in the Marine Corps, Nimsuwan earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Massachusetts in 2012, and his Masters of Laws degree in banking and financial law from Boston University in 2013.
He then went to work on policy, legislative affairs, and budget at the Office of Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon where he was awarded the Presidential Management Fellowship.
After leaving government service, Nimsuwan entered the world of entrepreneurship as he launched a start-up consumer electronics company whilst also serving his community as a pro bono legal volunteer, helping those with low-incomes with immigration, family law, and housing.
Now as a Democratic candidate for the state’s Assembly seat of District 35 in the House Nevada Legislator, Nimsuwan has goals of improving education, expand economic opportunities, and strengthen public safety.
With less than a month left to go until the closed primary election, Nimsuwan shared with the Asian Journal a little bit about himself and the issues he’s most concerned about. Here are some things to know about Paul Nimsuwan.
His experience in the U.S. Marine Corps helped shape him
“The Marine-Corps experience was one of the experiences that I honor because I had to serve the country that had given me everything and the American dream that our family wanted,” said Nimsuwan. “The Marine Corps taught me a lot especially how to be disciplined, honest, and committed.”
Nimsuwan shared that being in the Marine Corps gave him a different perspective that he wouldn’t have seen in the civilian life. While in Iraq, he faced death twice — each giving him much to think about.
“The first time, all I thought of was my family, my mom, and my sister,” shared Nimsuwan, who was 19 at the time and not married.
The second time, he began to think about his bigger purpose.
“I thought about my family, but the next things I thought were, ‘Who am I? What am I going to do? Is this the end of my life? What have I done for other people?’,” said Nimsuwan.
“I wanted to be more than just myself and that’s why I said, ‘You know, I’m committing to public service’,” he added. “I wanted to help people.”
He comes from a family of Asian immigrants
Escaping economic turmoil brought by a recession in Southeast Asia, Nimsuwan and his family moved from Thailand to the U.S. where he grew up in Las Vegas and became an alumnus of its Clark County School District and UNLV.
“When I was in Thailand, back in the 1980’s and 90’s, they had a recession so that’s when my family moved here in 1998,” Nimsuwan shared.
He added, “Back then, we had nothing but the American dream that we hoped for — and today, we have a roof over our heads, we have food on the table, and I have always wanted to give back to the community.”
Members of his family continued to live in Las Vegas, including his aunt and mother who are still Las Vegas residents.
He’s big on the importance of quality education
Having grown up in a middle-class immigrant family, Nimsuwan said the value of education was something he found clear early on.
“We worked hard and I knew that education would be the key to success,” said Nimsuwan.
He added, “Education is something that should not be compromised because kids today are the future of our country and I am where I am today because of education.”
Touching on the state of education in Nevada which has gotten dismal ratings, Nimsuwan said he has strong improvement plans.
“We need to increase funding,” he said, adding that better infrastructure also needs to be of focus.
“So many schools don’t have adequate infrastructure and it’s actually a danger to the children and students,” he said, adding that more talks on safety issues need to be discussed in light of recent headlines across the U.S. regarding student safety.
Nimsuwan described education as being part of a “loop” that brings in higher paying jobs to the state. He cited his experiences studying in Boston — which he described as an “education city” — when talking about the importance of quality education.
“In Boston, what we have seen is that families are doing better when their kids are actually attending, not only a school, but a quality school,” he said.
He said those kids have been more likely to stay in the city upon getting a job.
“We see that cycle where kids are able to get a good education and when they come out, they get a good high-paying job and they want to stay in the family within the state,” Nimsuwan added.
He said he wants to see the same cycle happen in Las Vegas.
Nimsuwan also touched on the increasing tuition cost of college which often hinders students from pursuing higher education.
“I’ve gone through college and I know it’s very expensive,” said Nimsuwan. “Tuition cost has been increasing and increasing, so we need to control the cost of education, make sure that the student debt is somehow repayable at the end.”
Acknowledging that college is not a choice for everyone, Nimsuwan added that vocational courses, training, and online classes are just some ways young people can further themselves.
He’s also all about expanding economic opportunities and accessible healthcare
Being a small business owner, Nimsuwan said he wants to further make it easier for small business to open and operate.
Given the state’s low business taxes, Nimsuwan said he sees the potential for economic growth through investing in education and infrastructure to attract tech, manufacturing, and renewable companies to Nevada.
As for health care, he’s among those calling for it to be universal.
“We heard a lot of the terms right now people are saying, but there are a lot of loopholes,” he said. “What we are hoping to do is provide healthcare for everyone.”
“That’s what we’re trying to do, and a lot of that has to do with low-income people that work for minimum wage and are not getting the healthcare that they need. Or even illegal immigrants — those are people that need to be protected too,” he added.
As Nevada struggles in dealing with mental health, Nimsuwan also wants to enhance the healthcare system in tackling mental health issues — especially among veterans.
‘It’s about what I can do for the people’
Having spoken to people and getting involved in different clubs and organizations to understand people’s concerns, Nimsuwan said that his goal is to solve what the people believe are problems — not those he alone thinks are.
“It’s not about myself. It’s about what I can do for the people,” said Nimsuwan. “I am fortunate today that people have been giving me the opportunity to succeed, and I want to do the same thing for them and their families. (Rae Ann Varona with reports from Robert Macabagdal/AJPress)