When the Chinese National Party (KMT) tapped her to be its Greater Tainan mayoral candidate in the Nov. 29 election, National Tainan University president Huang Hsiu-shuang (黃秀霜) raised some eyebrows, and she recently told the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) that she had never planned to run for mayor, but agreed to do so because she recognized the municipality’s needs and wants to fulfill them to make Greater Tainan a better place.
Huang said that her life plan had been to teach elementary school, get married and raise children, but life is full of unexpected turns. For her, these turns all came about when she sought to meet the needs of others; for example, when taking up the post of professor and later becoming president at the university.
“The decision to run for Greater Tainan mayor is no different,” she said in the interview.
“I could have adopted a passive attitude and waited idly by for the city to be improved, but when the campaign opportunity came my way, I thought to myself: ‘Why not be proactive in making Greater Tainan a better place?’” she added.
Addressing speculations that her mayoral bid came after Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rejected National Tainan University’s bid to build a proposed Tainan arena, she said the school is more than willing to carry out any development project that would benefit the municipality and that Lai’s decision was a shame.
However, that had nothing to do with her running for mayor, Huang added.
Huang, who studied for her doctorate in the UK and spent some time in the US, said Greater Tainan is well-poised to become an international metropolis, given its rich historical past and cultural links. The key to achieving that aim is a convenient transportation network linking air, land and sea travel, she said.
She said the municipal transport network relies mainly on buses and would be greatly improved by the addition of a tram system, as well as made more comprehensive with the incorporation of designated tourist routes.
As for sea transport, Huang said that Anping Harbor (安平港) needs to be upgraded into an international free-trade harbor, which would vitalize the local economy. In addition, the municipality also needs to establish more international flight routes, she said.
Since she was named the KMT’s Greater Tainan mayoral candidate in March, Huang has talked with citizens to hear their opinions on a range of issues.
A self-described “political rookie,” she said she is determined to accomplish goals that will make a difference for Greater Tainan and to achieve them as an incorruptible political novice.
Huang said that in her interactions with locals, she noticed many hidden facts and changes that need to be made: For instance, although it is blessed with beautiful scenery and good-hearted people, Greater Tainan’s centrally-funded budget for development and human resources falls desperately short.
The city government can rely only on itself when addressing these issues and, as a result, efficiency is compromised and development hampered, she said.
Seeing these problems reconfirmed her belief that individuals must take the initiative to make something happen, instead of just waiting for it to happen, the mayoral candidate added.
Despite facing a rival who enjoys high approval ratings in public opinion polls, she said nothing is certain until the outcome of the election is announced, adding that she will fight until the very end and is confident of coming out on top.
Huang criticized Lai over his involvement in a breach-of-trust case. In May last year, Lai swore on his political future that former DPP secretary-general Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) was innocent of giving in to lobbying in a property transaction while serving as chairman of state-owned Taiwan Sugar Corp.
After several legal procedures, Wu was eventually convicted, despite a number of DPP politicians saying there had been an “apparent mistrial.”
Huang said she would leave judgement of whether Lai deserves to stay on the political scene up to voters on Nov. 29.
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