Dominik Lay Joins the 18th Middlesex District State Rep. Race

Dominik Lay interviewed by Soben Ung/ Khmer Post USA on July 15, 2022

Lowell, MA — The 18th Middlesex District State Rep. election has gotten more competitive as Dominik Lay, a current 3rd term Lowell School Committee member, has joined the race.  Lay resigned from State Senator Kennedy’s office in May where he has worked as a District Constituent Service Coordinator since 2019 to run for the post.  Khmer Post USA previously reported another candidate, Tara Hong, a recent graduate from UMass Lowell has announced his candidacy in March. The incumbent Rep. Rady Mom was elected in 2014.

The 18th Middlesex District includes the Acre and Highlands, has 42,000 residents with over 30% Asians, mostly Cambodian Americans. The other two State Rep seats representing Lowell are District 17, Vanna Howard, unchallenged this term, and District 16 which is currently open as a result of Tom Golden taking the City Manager position earlier this year. A long-time city councilor Rodney Elliott is running for that seat against Zoe Dzineku.

Dominik Lay with supporters at Captain John on Westford St. on July 21, 2022. Photo by Soben Ung/Khmer Post USA

“18th Middlesex District has been forgotten and the economic development and job training needs to happen. With my experience as a school committee and having worked at the state house, I want help the city council and school committee have less problems with the funding,” said Lay in an interview with Khmer Post USA.

Dominik Lay held his first fundraiser at Captain John on Westford Street and has drawn a crowd of some 50 people including many attendees who are lifelong friends, some teachers and parents from public school, and colleagues from work. One parent Mrs. Yoko Nakamura of Ever Street said “we came to support Dominik because we believe he’s a good leader. He always offers help at school.”

Lowell Public School teacher Sophea Uong said “as a friend with Dominik for 32 years, he’s one of the most thoughtful individual and always tries his best to help others.”

Dominik Lay, Thara Ros, Lowell Public Charter School Family Lasion, and Reasy Yun, Lay’s Campaign Volunteer
Dominik Lay with two parents, Mr. Yiethseng Thang and Mrs. Yoko Nakamura

Thara Ros, a Lowell Charter School Family Liaison also attended the fundraiser and expressed his support, “an experienced candidate who worked many years to help our community and especially our kids. Dominik is a trusted and valued person who has sacrificed his time and energy for the community.”

Patty Kirwin-Kielty, Chief of Staff from State Senator Kennedy Office also attended the fundraiser.

Another supporter, Corinna Sar, came from the same province as Dominik in Cambodia, Kamphong Chnang, recounted the story of her father who knew of Domink’s father, a well-respected teacher in the province who died during the Khmer Rouge.

As a young boy, Dominik survived the Khmer Rouge with one brother, came to the United States in 1982. He went to middle school and high school in the Boston area then to the University of Vermont where he earned a degree in Mathematics. He worked as data analysis for many years prior to joining politics. Some life-long friends such as Cheang Ngor who worked with him at Electronic Data System also came to support. His former teacher, Dr. NaPandita Rithipol a longtime Buddhist monk in Lowell shared a story about how he once travelled to Lowell long ago and was planning to drive back to D.C. alone, instead, Dominik drove him some 9 hours home to D.C. and took a flight back to Boston. “This is just an example for you to know the type of person Dominik is, a very selfless person” he said.

Dominik Lay and Dr. NaPandita Rithipol
Dominik Lay, Bophadevy Peou, Corinna Sar, and Kimberly Tan

Dominik Lay ran for School Committee in 2015. He was elected in 2017, served for a term, came back for a second term in 2020 after Bob Hoey resigned, and was elected again in 2021. He is currently serving his third term from 2022-2023.

It was never brought to light who was the whistle blower that lead the city of Lowell to challenge Dominik Lay’s residency status in court; however, the court has ruled three times in Dominik’s favor, that he is in fact a legal resident of Lowell. The City of Lowell has dropped their appeal. “There was no case and there should be no doubt,” said Lay when Khmer Post USA probed the question.

Prior to coming to Lowell, he served as Treasurer for the Cambodian Community of Massachusetts in the late 1990s in Chelsea, alongside Councilor Vesna Nuon who served as board president.

Primary election will be held on Tuesday, September 6, 2022.