I’ve been dragging my feet on blogging stuff but have had incredible human interactions lately. But alas this is an interesting read from AsianWeek on the reactions from the Philadelphia Primary.
Philadelphia ‘s May 15 primary election brought one win and one loss for this city’s burgeoning Asian American electorate, but it was enough to move the city one step closer to its first Asian American councilmember. Contenders for city council at-large Republican David Oh and Democrat Andy Toy battled with candidates from their parties in the May 15 primary. But only Oh garnered enough votes to move into the general election in November.
Oh came in third out of a field of five. By placing in the top three, he will challenge the two leading Republicans, both incumbents, for two Republican council positions.
“In boxing, you have to step into the punch…let’s stop moving backward,” Oh has said of the city’s loss of jobs and decline in population.
“He would reclaim public service, and not for the sake of political power,” said Lee Huang, 34, an economic consultant.
Community and economic development expert Toy just missed placing in order to move on in his council race for one of five Democratic seats. Toy placed eighth among 19 candidates.
“Andy was not running as the Asian candidate, he was running as a candidate with an agenda for the whole city,” said Edward Kung, 73, who sits on the advisory committee of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation. Toy is currently the chair of the board and has sat on the board for 15 years.
In the late 90’s, the mayor had chosen a site in Chinatown to build a ballpark without consulting with the community. The community eventually forced the plans out of Chinatown, one of the experiences that influenced Toy to run for office.
Asian Americans have started running for political office in the nation’s fifth most populated city at a time when the city’s racial demographics are changing. Philadelphia’s largest immigrant population are mainly from India, China, Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia.
“Asian Americans are a growing part of the electorate in Philadelphia,” said Glenn Magpantay, staff attorney of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. “It also shows that they are really beginning this work.”
During the 2006 general election, AALDEF found that 29 percent of Asian American voters had limited proficiency in English. The city is not required to translate the ballot and election materials or provide interpreters in any other language except Spanish. AALDEF has asked the city to provide materials and interpreters in Chinese, Vietnamese, and Khmer.
Congratulations to David Oh and his family on the arrival of their new baby daughter, Hannah.