Of the 23 candidates running in the legislative election who are members of political families, three come from families that have been active in Taiwanese politics for three generations or more — Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) and Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) representing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
Tsai is the DPP nominee for the first electoral district in Chiayi County and a fourth--generation member of a political family. The family’s involvement in local politics started when Tsai’s great-grandfather, Tsai Jen (蔡仁), established the Da Fang (大房) faction in Budai Township (布袋).
As a result, Tsai Yi-yu’s grandfather, Tsai Chang-ming (蔡長銘), served as a three-term county councilor and also became an important member of the Huang faction, an key political grouping in Chiayi County founded by the then-Chiayi County commissioner Huang Lao-da (黃老達).
Tsai Yi-yu’s father, Tsai Chi-fang (蔡啟芳), was arrested during the “Yi-ching Program,” an anti-gangster program launched during the Martial Law era (1949-1987) that allowed the government to imprison people it believed to be gangsters without a trial.
Tsai Chi-fang joined the then-recently formed DPP soon after his release. With the support of the Da Fang faction in Budai and the Lin faction — another local political group established by Lin Chin-sheng (林金生), father of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre founder Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) — he ran for the position of Chiayi County commissioner against the Huang faction candidate Tsai Tien-ching (蔡天井).
Tsai Chi-fang was later elected to the National Assembly and then as a legislator. However, he was defeated in the 2008 legislative election by the KMT’s Wong Chung-chun (翁重鈞).
Tsai Yi-yu’s involvement in politics started with his job as a lawyer for Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) of the DPP. He then ran in the party’s primaries for Taipei City council, but lost despite receiving a high number of votes. Tsai Yi-yu is running against his father’s adversary, Wong, in the legislative elections on Jan. 14.
DPP lawmaker Chiu is the third generation in his family to play a role in politics. Chiu’s grandfather, Chiu Ching-te (邱慶德), served as chairman of the Pingtung County Assembly and also served two terms as Pingtung City mayor in the 1960s.
Chiu Yi-ying’s father, Chiu Mao-nan (邱茂男), became a Pingtung County councilor at the age of 25, and had planned to run for the position of Pingtung mayor in 1977, but then fell out with and left the KMT.
Chiu Mao-nan was later imprisoned for his involvement in the Kaohsiung Incident in 1979, a pro-democracy protest that escalated into a mass movement. After his release he served two consecutive terms in the Taiwan Provincial Assembly.
Chiu Yi-ying became the youngest representative in the National Assembly at the age of 25, and went on to serve as a legislator and Hakka Affairs deputy chairwoman.
Now married to Greater Kao-hsiung Deputy Mayor Lee Yung-te (李永得), Chiu Yi-ying is running in the Jan. 14 legislative elections in Greater Kaohsiung.
“The intangible assets left [to me] by my elders are a very positive force,” Chiu Yi-ying said, adding “however the most important thing is the hard work and effort of the individual.”
KMT Legislator Hsieh, seeking re-election, also represents the third generation of a Taiwanese political family.