Mon, Dec 16, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Positive message brought victory to political novice

FRESH FACE At 27, Lu Ying-ying is the youngest city councilor in the nation's history, and high on her agenda is a plan to certify the qualifications of foreign English teachers

By Chang Yun-Ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lu Ying-ying, 27, explains how she relied on hard work to become the nation's youngest city councilor.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

The hard-fought race for positions on Taipei City Council wrapped up on Dec. 7 with many unexpected results.

The poll, which featured a record of number of candidates, saw the election of 27-year-old Lu Ying-ying (呂瀅瀅), the youngest councilor in Taiwan's history.

Lu, the DPP's councilor-elect in Taipei's Shihlin and Peitou district, outshone her more senior candidates in a tight race.

In an interview with the Taipei Times, Lu discussed how, despite her young age and being a freshman on the political scene, she overcame the odds by developing her campaign strategy to win over voters.

"Politics was strange to me before. I started to get in touch with it when I worked as an activity coordinator at President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) campaign office three years ago," Lu said.

"Through that job, I saw the passion and devotion of supporters at rallies, and that often made me wonder what they were crazy about," she said.

Lu said it struck her that she might be able to do something for them, motivating her to become more involved in politics.

Lu's campaign banners and flags featuring her image prompted the public to wonder just who this young woman with such a squeaky-clean image was.

"A smiling face is the only look you would see on my banners. Unlike other candidates, who appealed for the voters' sympathy with sad and poor looks, I insisted on bringing happiness, hope and warmth for people," Lu said.

The final series of Lu's campaign materials featured a Christmas message for voters.

"We gave candies and rode bicycles everyday to greet the public. I hoped everyone was in a happy mood in this election; that was the basic tone for my campaign strategy," Lu said.

Hard worker

Lacking an extensive political background, Lu relied on a hard-working attitude and a humble manner to succeed in the campaign.

"People often asked me who my father is, supposing that an influential family was why I could run in the election at such a young age," the councilor-elect said.

"My father is a taxi driver and my mother is a homemaker. I grew up in a simple family that has no pull with political circles," Lu said.

As a political freshman and a young member of the DPP, Lu said that she does not have any faction affiliation within the party as she does not see such an affiliation as necessary for gaining an edge.

"I visited all DPP legislators to gain their support. Among them, lawmaker Chen Sheng-hung (陳勝宏), who isn't associated with any faction, gave me a hand in the party's primary election," she said.

"Chen and I sort of help each other. He voted for me in the party's primary and I voted for him in the party's election for the Central Standing Committee as I am one of the representatives of the DPP's National Assembly," Lu said.

"For me, to seek a faction link is simply a means to get a share of booty," Lu added.

Lu's husband, Hsu Chih-cheng (許志成), is a former legislator's assistant in charge of providing service for constituents. Lu said that her husband's role in providing service to the public deepened her determination to seek an official position to represent people's needs.

"It would be more difficult to serve the public without an official post. As a councilor, I'm entitled to speak for the people so that we can carry out our service both more effectively and efficiently," Lu said.

Lu was an English teacher before participating the councilor election. She owned a Sesame Street English school in Shihpai and devoted her time to children's education.

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