Former department of health director-general Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲), the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate for Chiayi mayor in the Nov. 29 elections, said he is confident of gaining voters’ trust to win the election.
The 63-year-old is facing only Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Chen Yi-chen (陳以真), after independent candidate Hsiao Shu-li (蕭淑麗) dropped out of the race.
In a recent interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), Twu alleged that the oligarchic power structure of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who also serves as KMT chairman, and National Security Council Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) uses KMT assets and government resources to work with business conglomerates run by wealthy families to control local political factions and influence election outcomes.
Therefore, Twu said, he is facing an unequal fight and is asking voters to “choose the best person, not the wealthiest,” while presenting his platform to turn Chiayi into a city of “food safety, happiness for the elderly and referendum votes for citizens.”
“Chiayi is in the same situation as Taipei. It is a battle of the privileged versus the common folk. I am of the common people, the same as Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), the independent Taipei mayoral candidate,” he said. “We are running against candidates with ‘princeling’ status, who are backed by wealthy family conglomerates and hand-picked by the Ma-King oligarchy. How could they understand ordinary citizen’s daily living hardships?”
“Chen was a National Youth Commission minister, but did she go visit the students involved in the Sunflower movement? She was afraid of encouraging the student movement and also did not support the causes espoused by the youth movement,” Twu said, adding that he, on the other hand, visited the students in the Sunflower movement and delivered a talk on citizen democracy at the time.
Running on the campaign slogan of “Bold leadership, Chuluo, heading up for Taiwan” (氣魄 諸羅 台灣頭, in which Chuluo is the original Taiwanese name for Chiayi), Twu said he wants to remind Chiayi residents of their traditional spirit of not becoming subjugated to autocratic regimes, and return the glory and pride of old Chuluo.
“I grew up and went to school in Chiayi. When I was DPP legislator, I set up offices here and stayed in service here for five years. We formed the Taiwan Society Chiayi (嘉義社) two years ago, so I was not parachuted into the city. By comparison, my KMT opponent did not grow up nor go to school here. She only registered her residency here in January this year,” he said.
“A mayor should be elected for competence, bold leadership and creativity,” he said, while criticizing Chen’s tactics of using sweet talk and acting cutesy to solicit votes as phony pretensions.
Chiayi is losing population due to few employment opportunities, he said.
“When I entered the race last time, I advocated to consolidate Chiayi City and Chiayi County together with Yunlin County into one special agricultural municipality. Before that can take place, regional functions and resources must be integrated,” Twu said.
“Chiayi should develop special zones for the green energy industry and turn the old tobacco plant into a business development park for young entrepreneurs,” he added.
“We can make this a healthy and happy city for senior citizens. It can become like Florida in the US, where outsiders want to move to, which will spur on economic and population growth,” he said.
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