Chinese-American Joe Chow is running for the Mayor of Addison in this year’s May election.
Joe Chow became the first Taiwanese-American mayor in Texas when he won Addison’s mayoral election back in 2005.
Check out what he has to say about his campaign. www.joechowcampaign.com
Joe Chow: Texas’ first Chinese-American Mayor
By MAY ZHOU in Houston (China Daily USA)
As a small business owner, ex-city council member, ex-mayor and a one-time contender for Congress, Joe Chow, a first generation immigrant, has come a long way since he arrived in the US on a student visa more than 30 years ago.
Born in Taiwan, Chow came to the US after completing his two-year mandatory service in 1979. After earning an MBA from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Chow chose to settle in Dallas, where his life has taken roots.
Jobs were not easy to come by, so Chow worked first as a waiter, then manager and general manager at a local Chinese restaurant for five years. In 1986, after saving enough money, Chow opened his own restaurant, May Dragon, which is still in operation today.
Despite the oil bust and recession in the late 1980s, Chow's business prospered and his restaurant has remained popular since its beginning. Ever an avid learner, Chow also studied for and obtained insurance and real estate agent licenses in later years and dabbled in those fields.
Success in business brought financial security. However, Chow felt that something was missing and wanted a more meaningful life. His desire for fulfillment prompted him to turn to local politics.
"I had dealt with a lot of customers, made a lot of friends, and my command of English and understanding of the country improved greatly in the course of more than a decade of running various businesses. I grew confident and decided to seek office," said Chow.
In 2001, when Chow started to seek a seat on the city council of Addison, a suburb north of Dallas with a Caucasian population of more than 80 percent, most people were skeptical.
"When I was raising funds for the campaign, someone told me that he'd give me $500 after I win the race," Chow recalled.
Undaunted, Chow pressed on with his campaign. "Our city is not big, with a population of over 150,000, so I decided to visit every single-family house in the city. Overall, I visited each house an average two to three times before the election, from 6 to 8 pm on weekdays and from noon to evening over the weekends. I wore out three pairs of shoes from all that walking and knocking on doors."
Chow's hard work paid off and he began his term as a member at the Addison city council in 2002. He paid close attention to the city's business, helped the residents whenever he could and observed how the mayor conducted the city government's operations.
In 2005, the mayor's office was vacated due to term limits. Confident with what he had learned in running the city government as a city council member for three years, Chow decided to take a shot at the position.
"All of the city council members and the retiring mayor were supporting my opponent, but I was not discouraged," said Chow.
Employing the same diligent strategy of grassroots campaigning, and wearing out three more pairs of shoes, Chow won the race by a wide margin, thus becoming the first Chinese-American Mayor in the history of Texas.