Mon, Sep 15, 2014 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: DPP’s Miaoli candidate Wu touts legislative record

By Chang Hsun-teng and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

“Political affiliations do not matter in Miaoli County and should not matter, as the residents should place more emphasis on what is right and what is wrong,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) said about her prospects in the Miaoli county commissioner election.

The county is considered a pan-blue powerhouse because the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has a larger voting base in the county than the DPP.

In a recent interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), Wu said that many of the more senior KMT legislators in the county are on the “watch lists” of civic groups over their legislative performance — deemed poor by the groups — while she has been rated No. 1 or No. 2 several times by the civic groups for her performance as a legislator.

Wu added that although she has had limited interaction with Miaoli County in the past, she is certain that her vision for Miaoli’s development and her feelings for the county would be felt by residents.

Citing the Dapu Incident as an example, Wu said that if she were elected as commissioner, she would implement deliberative democratic systems when dealing with construction projects, so residents could participate in decision-making process.

The Dapu Incident refers to the Miaoli County Government’s seizure of farmland to expand the Jhunan science park by blocking off roads and sending excavators into farms that were awaiting harvest.

On July 18 last year, four houses in Dapu Borough (大埔) in Jhunan District (竹南) were demolished against the will of their owners to make way for the project. The incident is considered to have led to the death of the owner of the Chang Pharmacy, Chang Sen-wen (張森文).

It remains unclear whether Chang committed suicide.

“The power of the government is bestowed by the people and the government has the obligation to communicate its decisions to the people,” Wu said.

Public construction was not simply something that a county commissioner felt must be done, without consulting the residents, and the county government could not use its powers to tear down houses and destroy fields.

“The county government would endeavor to persuade the people to agree with it on proposed projects and it would not move forward without any regard for public will” if she were elected, Wu added.

Regarding reports that, on average, county residents are each NT$701,446 in debt, Wu said that the Control Yuan had reported incidents in which county governments often “worked the accounts” and reported false income numbers to when asking for more funding and a higher ceiling for raising debt.

These measures have caused local finances to deteriorate to near-bankruptcy, Wu said, adding that while other county governments were starting to rein in their actual expenditure, Miaoli County was still claiming it made more than it did.

“County finances are a priority issue that must be solved,” Wu said, adding that development of tourism-based activities to increase the tax base, as well as decreasing taxation to encourage investment in small and medium-sized enterprises were all options.

Wu also said social welfare policies and education policies needed to be cut back and replaced by publicly funded daycare or senior citizen homes to solve the county’s problem of caring for the two groups.

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