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A 28-year-old Chinese woman runs for US mayor at no cost

A 28-year-old Chinese woman runs for US mayor at no cost

By Winfred ParkerPublished 2 years ago 6 min read
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On November 6, 2007, Huang Sufen, a 28-year-old Chinese woman, was elected mayor of Fitchburg in the United States with 72 percent of the vote, defeating several veteran rivals and becoming the city's first Chinese mayor in 243 years. With no background and no qualifications, how did Huang Sufen defeat a strong political opponent and win the support of voters?

Dark horse candidate

Ms. Wong is the son of a Hong Kong immigrant who has lived in the United States for 35 years. Her father, Mr. Wong, runs a restaurant and her mother, Ms. Kwok, is a nurse. After graduating with a master's degree in economics from Boston University in 2000, she worked on human rights in Australia and taught World Economy for a semester at the University of Wyoming before joining the Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority in the US.

Once rich in coal and oil, home to multinational corporations and a population of nearly a million, Fitchburg has run out of resources and lost a large number of workers. The difference between Fitchburg and the past made Huang Sufen deeply concerned. She decided to participate in politics and lead the city on the road to revitalization.

But the father said, "The employment situation is serious now, you work hard to support the family on the line, politics is a rich man's game, you have what capital?" But Ms. Huang is still looking for opportunities.

In January 2005, she ran for council and was elected as the youngest councilor in Fitchburg's history. In December 2006, the speaker of the Fitchburg City Council, Ricardo Ricordi, announced his resignation, and Hoang So-Feng ran for the presidency against 56-year-old Councilman Salvador. But Disavador's son, who was involved in a school shooting, dropped out of the race, and 26-year-old Wong Su Fan was elected speaker.

With a salary of just $20,000 a year, Wong has to wear two hats to make ends meet, working for the redevelopment Authority and visiting factories, communities, and schools to form proposals for the government.

On June 1, 2007, the 65-year-old mayor of Fitchburg died of illness, leaving the mayor's seat vacant. By law, the speaker automatically takes over the remaining year and a half of the mayor's term, but the older members did not care about the younger speaker, Hwang So Fern, and they signed a petition to hold an early election.

Desalvador and Donnelly are the top candidates for mayor, and they've been advertising heavily in the media. Donnelly also hired a private investigator to dig up the dirt on Desalvador and falsely allege that he shared a pole dancer with his son. She has no campaign contributions and no support. Huang Sufen did not publicly announce her candidacy for mayor until just before the registration deadline.

The news of Huang Sufen's candidacy for mayor dropped like a bomb on the city of Fitchburg. Citizens were both curious and suspicious, thinking that she was just playing a political game with heavy participation because she was not competitive at all. Donnelly and Desalvo openly mocked her.

Once, Huang Sufen went to a Philadelphia baseball game. Instead of sitting in the box in a suit and tie, she mingled with the fans in a casual outfit, her face smeared with paint, cheering for Philadelphia. CNN's famous talk show host David Wright immediately raised the microphone to interview: "You come to the game, did you have permission from your parents?" The question is ironic and provocative. Huang Sufen pointed to David Wright wearing a No. 7 jersey, and calmly asked: "Why do you wear this number? Do you know the real owner of the jersey?" David Wright replied, "Of course, I know. It's the number of Rusli, the famous distributor of your Philadelphia team." "Leslie is only 18 years old, but he was the MVP of the 2006 National League. Who says young people can't make it? Who says you can't run for mayor at 28?" Huang Sufen's ingenious play, let Feichburg citizens at the moment bright: this little woman, spirit, and intelligence are not small!

With no campaign funds, Huang applied for a blog address at AOL and used it as her campaign site. Huang Sufen printed many business cards and gave them away for free. On the back of the card, Huang included her blog address.

Every day, she updates her blog, pointing out which roads need fixing, which factories pollute the environment and need to be moved, and which nightclubs have exciting shows. At the same time, she raised questions for the city, such as: How can a mayor who only reveals the dark side of others brings sunshine to the city? Is 50 or 60 years old something to brag about in front of the 200-year-old Fitchburg? These problems point directly to the key of the competitor. Huang Sufen's blog gets thousands of visitors every day.

Huang Sufen has attracted public attention, but her path to the mayoralty remains far from clear.

A series of clever moves, sympathetic to the people

As the primary time approaches, the candidates for mayor of Fitchburg are stepping up their activities. Donnelly bought out commercials on the network to give speeches, and Desalvador drew Barbara and her husband, James, a popular television star.

Meanwhile, Simon Wong set up a grocery shop next to the Fitchburg Scrap Market, selling fresh meat and vegetables in the morning and marshmallows and preserves in the afternoon. The scrap market is the site of a former American steel company, where a large number of unemployed workers stole and sold scrap steel to make a living after the company moved. Different from other shops, Huang Sufen posts his account outside the door, so people can see how much money he earns in a day. In this humble grocery store, where she earns hundreds of dollars a day, Huang Sufen shows the unemployed around her that everyone can improve their lives as long as they work hard and work hard.

On HIS BLOG, HE WRITES ABOUT the JOYS, FRUSTRATIONS, AND hardships of running a business.

The city of Fitchburg is west of Boston, where two rivers meet from the upper reaches of Philadelphia. Sufen Huang had an idea to build an artificial beach where rivers meet, so that Fitchburg's, who can't afford to spend their holidays away from home, can enjoy the most beautiful scenery on their doorstep. Huang Sufen summoned her classmates and friends, some of whom were truck drivers, some of whom were hydraulic engineers, and some of whom worked in garden design institutes. Use a week, Lisa wong and her friends to 1000 metric tons of sand, two pieces of each building 500 meters of beach, they are still on the beach planted 40 Himalayan big trees, built three drinking fountains, 20 abandoned large decks, and 40 hammocks put strewn at random have to send, but also for people to read free newspapers.

The people of Fitchburg were awestruck and many of them shed tears as the beauty of their hard work was fully revealed, a place they had dreamed of many times.

At the same time, both Donnelly and Desalvador are beefing up their teams of campaign advisers, who are paying top city planners to chart Fitchburg's future path. The hype of Huang Sufen's artificial beach looks hollow and pale in comparison.

The artificial beach along the river in Fitchburg not only meets the needs of citizens for leisure and entertainment, but also attracts tourists from other places to come for sightseeing, and the arrival of tourists drives the development of the surrounding service industry. Huang Sufen did not spend too much money but achieved a feat, but also the hearts of voters.

The three mayoral candidates speak at Fitchburg Park on August 19, 2007. Desalvador first came to power. He proposed to develop the high-tech industry and attract well-known companies like Microsoft and IBM to invest in Fitchburg. Fitchburg's citizens were mostly industrial workers with a low level of knowledge, and his idea did not receive much response. In his speech, Donnelly promised that he would reduce taxes on citizens. This idea won much applause. Huang Sufen the last stage, as an immigrant identity, expressed his deep feelings for the city, Huang Sufen stressed that she is the child of all citizens, which children do not strive for good days for their parents?!

During her speech, her mobile phone rang one after another and Huang answered. In such a serious setting to answer the phone, Soffen Huang's move provoked a lot of discussions, Donnelly and Disavador's team took the lead in stirring up the crowd, booing and whistling.

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Winfred Parker

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