Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator and Changhua County commissioner candidate Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) is calling on the pan-green bloc to unite and pool its resources in the county so its governance can extend north and break the traditional political power border delineated by the Jhuoshuei River (濁水溪).
With former Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) opting to run as an independent in the Changhua race after her TSU membership was suspended, Wei expressed concern about division in the camp.
The DPP has said it will continue its efforts to negotiate with Huang to consolidate resources before election day on Nov. 29.
In an interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), Wei said that if necessary, he would ask former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) to stump for him and unite the pro-local voter base.
Detailing his plan for financial policy, Wei said that the county government’s mammoth NT$20 billion (US$656 million) debt will pose a difficult challenge for whoever is elected Changhua commissioner.
The county government must cut spending to prevent passing the debt on to future administrations, Wei said.
The DPP legislator said that if elected, his administration “would not give out gifts, nor hold any firework events, as well as reduce the number of Taiwanese gezai opera (歌仔戲) staged and use the government’s budget on tangible construction projects.”
Wei also promised to simplify the process through which students’ test scores determine which school they attend. However, he added that since under his governance, the county government would be open to public input, his administration would hold multiple meetings with schools and parents to reach consensus before making changes.
“I place a lot of emphasis on democratic procedures and believe that policies are formed through communication. I would not force my opinion on the public,” Wei said.
Coming from a poor family supported by his father’s traditional grocery store, Wei said he entered politics at age 27 when he ran for representative of Pushin Township (埔心) in Changhua County.
Wei said his initial foray into politics was unsuccessful, but he tried again and was elected to the Changhua County Council at 31. He returned for a second term and represented the county as a legislator for three terms.
Wei said that his humble roots enable him to empathize with disadvantaged groups and that if elected, he will introduce more social welfare policies, such as free dentures for elderly people and policies specifically geared toward women and children.
Wei said that Changhua must become more youth-friendly and offer greater job opportunities if it is to retain its declining population, adding that its proximity to Greater Taichung has caused the county to lose about 8,000 residents per year.
Under the right stewardship, Changhua can become an industrial satellite of Greater Taichung that provides the municipality with agricultural products, which would in turn benefit the county, Wei said.
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