Not every mayor-elect of an American city receives a post-election congratulation from Taiwan’s foreign ministry.
Shortly after news broke late Tuesday that Michelle Wu had won the race for mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, Taiwan’s foreign ministry tweeted “heartfelt congratulations to @wutrain on winning the #Boston mayoral race. We prouder for the first lady.” Can’t be more Asian American to hold the city’s top post. More power to her as she keeps breaking those glass ceilings!”
In a historic race where the four top candidates were women of color, Wu, the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants to the United States, became the city’s first woman and person of color to be elected mayor of Boston.
Considered a progressive Democrat and the protagonist of U.S. senator and 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, Wu won 62.2% of the vote in Boston. Her opponent, centrist Democrat Anissa Esaibi George, won 35.8% of the vote.
“In 2021, we still see the odds coming down which may be a bit surprising,” Wu told reporters on Wednesday morning. She said that when she ran for city council in 2013, only one other woman served on the 13-member panel.
“And now, just four election cycles later, to come into office with a city council that is reflective and representative of our communities, to build on the progress of this current administration, and to work in partnership with communities.” It’s incredibly meaningful to have,” she said.
an early start
Warren, one of Wu’s professors at Harvard Law School, congratulated Wu shortly after the victory.
Warren tweeted, “From teaching her in law school, working together on my first Senate run, supporting her campaigns, I’ve admired her positive energy, her good heart, and her ability to make a big difference to Boston.” Have seen.”
Early in her time at Harvard Law, Wu moved her mother, who suffered from schizophrenia, and her younger sisters from Chicago, Illinois, to Boston, so that she could take care of them while they went to school. Wu, whose first language is Mandarin Chinese and who interpreted it for his parents, has said that trying to run a tea shop in Chicago while caring for his family persuaded him to go into public service.
Wu graduated from law school in 2012 and worked on Warren’s campaign for the US Senate. She ran for Boston City Council in 2013, becoming the first Asian American woman on the council. She was re-elected three times and was the city council president from January 2016 to January 2018. In September 2020, she announced that she would run for mayor the following year.
Dennis Baer, a political scientist who teaches at George Washington University, told VOA on Wednesday that Wu is “extraordinarily influential” in starting his career and building a broad base of support.
But, she said, “I think it’s going to be really challenging for her to control the levers of power”, a city that has so far only elected white people as mayors.
Wu assumed office on 16 November. He said on Wednesday that his plan for the short transition is to ensure that “there will be a continued ability to ensure that residents are getting all essential city services.” It also called for civility and “a growing sense of what is possible in city government”.
Kerry Greenidge, Mellon assistant professor in the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism and the Diaspora at Boston-area Tufts University, said Wu’s election is known for its institutions of higher learning, as well as a bastion of Democrat-dominated politics. , which means she would be taking control of a city that “has often struggled to live up to its highest ideals about itself.”
“The fact that the city does not have a mayor of color or a woman indicates that the city has not lived up to its reality” as a minority-majority city, where the population is of multiple races, Greenidge said in an email. I told VOA.
According to U.S. Census data from 2020, Boston’s white, non-Latino population is 44.5% of the population; who identify as black or African American alone, 25.2%; Those identifying as Asian alone, 9.7%; and those identifying as Hispanic or Latino, 19.8%. The percentage of those who identify as other race and mixed race is low.
challenges and assets
The goals Wu talked about in his campaign include reintroducing rent controls to reduce the cost of living in Boston, which has been against state law since 1994; making Boston free of public transportation, which his critics say is too expensive; And solving the problems of homelessness and addiction as Boston’s winter begins.
According to Baer, a co-author of a study on women and high office, their gender can be either an asset or a liability. The study found that women tend to be problem-solvers, “which makes them really excellent executives,” Baer said. But it said controlling a well-established power base is challenging.
“It’s going to take a very strong lead,” she said.
And Greenidge said she believes women of color are judged more harshly for their political actions than white men, especially at the local level.
“Michelle Wu has to face that reality,” she said. But he believes Boston’s breadth of ethnicity will help. The city, she said, “has a strong and well-organized Asian American, African American and immigrant community, and the engagement of those communities will be key to mitigating any obstacles or difficulties Wu may face.”