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Left: U.S. Senator Alex Padilla. Right: Monterey Park Councilmember Henry Lo. Photos: Getty images.
Left: U.S. Senator Alex Padilla. Right: Monterey Park Councilmember Henry Lo. Photos: Getty images.

Alex Padilla will bring the former Monterey Park mayor as his State of the Union guest

Henry Lo, who served as mayor when a tragic gun massacre struck the city of Monterey Park, will join Padilla as Joe Biden addresses the nation.

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California U.S. Senator Alex Padilla announced on Friday, Feb. 3, that former Monterey Park mayor Henry Lo would join him as a guest for the upcoming State of the Union address.

Lo, now a City Councilmember, was on the tail-end of his mayoral term when a tragedy at Half Moon Bay claimed 11 lives in a mass shooting amid Lunar New Year celebrations.

“As Monterey Park, Half Moon Bay, and too many other communities throughout California and across the country grieve the tragic loss of life from mass shootings, it’s an honor to be joined by Councilman Henry Lo at this year’s State of the Union address,” a statement by Padilla read. 

On the night of Saturday, Jan. 21, Huu Can Tran, 72, opened fire on Star Ballroom Dance Studio in an incident that claimed the lives of 11 innocent people. Little is known about the motive of the shooting. 

Tran took his own life after a standoff with officers who attempted to apprehend him. 

Monterey Park, prepared for a reorganization of its leadership, had Lo in the public eye as he exited his term to address a tragic shooting instance at Half Moon Bay. Although Lo’s media appearances were limited, he could be seen with the families of the deceased in the immediate aftermath.

While the investigation was ongoing, Lo appeared in interviews with NBC News to speak on behalf of a community that had already been “on edge” before the incident. 

In a joint statement with Padilla, Lo expressed the sentiments of a community reeling from the tragedy. 

“Monterey Park is a city of immigrants, a city that embodies the American Dream,” Lo said in a statement.

“But on what should have been a day of celebration for us, Monterey Park joined the long list of cities in America that have woken up to the tragic reality that a mass shooting has claimed the lives of its community members.” 

Lo, himself the son of immigrants, will accompany Padilla, a longtime advocate of gun reform and who voted in favor of Biden’s Safer Communities Act, which is lauded as the first landmark legislation addressing gun reform in well over three decades. 

“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was an important step to protecting our communities, and I thank Senator Padilla for his continued advocacy at the federal level for common-sense gun safety reforms that will keep our communities safe,” Lo said in a statement. 

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