Wed, Oct 15, 2014 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: DPP’s Chen Kuang-fu relying on the personal touch

By Liu Yu-ching and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Following multiple failed attempts to win the Penghu county commissioner seat, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has tapped Chen Kuang-fu (陳光復) to run for the post in the Nov. 29 elections, counting not only on his deep connections in the area, but also his increased chances in light of public dissatisfaction with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government.

Unlike the delayed confirmation of the candidacy of his KMT rival Su Kun-hsiung (蘇崑雄), the DPP decided early on to nominate Chen to represent the party in Penghu in next month’s election.

Tsai Chien-hsing (蔡建興) backed out of the DPP’s primary and said he fully supported Chen, further strengthening the party’s morale in the county after Yang Yao (楊曜) was elected a Penghu legislator for the DPP in 2012.

Chen lost his first two bids for Penghu county commissioner to the KMT’s Lai Feng-wei (賴峰偉) and Wang Chien-fa (王乾發), as well as a legislative election to the KMT’s Lin Ping-kun (林炳坤), but instead of leaving his hometown, Chen stayed in Penghu to build his connections.

The founder of Penghu’s first distillery who lead the push for direct flights between Penghu and Pingtung County’s Siaoliouciou (小琉球) and whose wife runs a free English-language cram school program, Chen has slowly built up his social network in the region.

With the perceived lack of accomplishment of the ruling KMT central government, many DPP supporters in the county say that Chen has a great chance of turning the political tables in next month’s election.

Chen’s campaign policies focus on the slogan: “Leading Penghu, for your and my happiness” and 12 basic policy tenets.

Chen is calling for the development of winter tourism in the county; the restoration of marine resources; the revitalization of disused land; implementation of care for the elderly; reinvigorating free trade and the economy; creating more jobs; ensuring priority plane ticket slots for Penghu residents; increased medical facilities across the county; promotion of the cultural creative industry; protection of the rights of farmers, fishermen and laborers; the conservation of the county’s cultural heritage; and providing stability for teachers and civil servants.

Chen said in a recent interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) that his policies would help the county lead the region into an economic boom.

Despite the political advantages of his KMT rival being the head of Magong City (馬公), Chen said he would use his time wisely and visit both Penghu and the other islands that are under the county’s jurisdiction.

By putting efforts into campaigning and personally visiting voters, it will not only cement the party’s advantage in the region, but also allow Chen to build on that advantage and move slowly toward victory, he said.

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