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Inaugural speech

    Inaugural speech of the 18th Chiayi County Magistrate

    Dear Chairman, Supervisors, County Magistrate Helen Chang (Chang, Hwa-Kuan), Legislator Chen, Ming-Wen, Legislator Tsai, Yi-Yu, distinguished guests, colleagues in the county government, media representatives, my beloved fellow Chiayi folks: a good morning to everyone!

     

    Today is the day when the 18th county magistrate of Chiayi County was sworn in. From the moment of my oath, I, Weng Chang-liang, will assume responsibility for the future development of Chiayi County. The county government and I will work closely together for the sake of Chiayi’s transformation and rejuvenation.

     

    I thank my fellow Chiayi countrywomen and countrymen for giving me the opportunity to transform and develop their homeland. Bold transformation and a rejuvenation of Chiayi were the main theme of my election campaign and it is my commitment to you all today. I will give my strongest efforts to not let anyone down.

     

    The past endeavors of my esteemed predecessors Chen, Ming-Wen and Helen Chang and all the hardworking colleagues in our county government have laid a firm foundation for the future of a new Chiayi County, and I will continue to lead the government and people of Chiayi on this path.

     

    As we all know, the current status of Chiayi is closely connected with the overall political and economic development of Taiwan in recent decades. Every county magistrate builds on the work of the people before them and continues their struggle. The quality of a leader rests upon their wisdom to properly face the past and confront the future, leading and following the will of the people, and creating an environment conducive to development, to retain local talent and attract foreign talents to work together for this beautiful land.

     

    Tribute to the outgoing county magistrate

    Chiayi is an agricultural county. When Taiwan was still an agricultural society, Chiayi was the place of envy for all Taiwan. There was fertile land, the Kanan Irrigation System and the Alishan Forests. Even Wang Yung-ching, in his youth, went south from Taipei County to Chiayi.

     

    In the 1960s, Taiwan began to develop its export processing industries. Most of the government resources were invested into the non-agricultural counties, mainly in the north. In the 1970s this led to a brain drain of young people to the cities and gave rise to the three metropolitan areas of Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung. The trend has been going on for nearly 50 years and has led to an aging population in the agricultural counties, where employment and entrepreneurial opportunity have lagged behind. This is a historical tragedy for all of the agricultural counties of Taiwan.

     

    The previous Chiayi county magistrates have attempted to mitigate or turn around this situation by working to diversify and broaden our industrial base and to create jobs for young people. The development of industrial parks as well as securing the funding and founding for a new medical park, a university, and the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum in Chiayi are all successes for the county and I salute the previous county magistrates for their endeavors.

     

    Chances and challenges ahead

    So what are we going to undertake in the future? What kind of development opportunities do we see? This is the era of the Internet, the Internet of Things, and big data. This is the era of extreme climate events. This is a time when many young and middle-aged farmers return home to till their land and lift up their county. This is a time when our people are reinventing leisure and tourism. These days more and more of our elderly need care, and these days we need loads of young folks to come work in Chiayi and work for Chiayi.

     

    Chiayi’s industry must be transformed

    We must revitalize and transform Chiayi’s industry. We definitely must boldly and swiftly walk down that road. It is the only way to retain local talent and attract foreign talent. We must all work together on this for the New Chiayi.

     

    The New Chiayi of the future needs hands and brains in new agriculture, long-term care industry, cultural and creative tourism and leisure, machinery and devices, and healthcare in the widest sense. We welcome talents from across the country and around the globe to come seize and shape the opportunities and conditions for the development of Chiayi.

     

     

    Agricultural New Deal for Transformation and Development

    In recent years, agriculture has undergone major changes due to young people having easier access to land than in the past. Online marketing and shopping as well as a string of food scandals have drawn consumers closer to agriculture. However, our agriculture faces constraints from its small-scale nature, so we face the task of bringing our small farmers together so they can produce and provide more and better food to consumers that focus on food safety at various price points and quality levels. Chiayi’s agriculture, fisheries, livestock, and animal husbandry industries need to create more value and revenue through processing, cold chain logistics, and biotechnology to deepen their base and raise their game. This is why I will establish a New Agricultural Development Committee and a Land Academy to draw on the experience of rural rejuvenation at home and abroad to hold Rural Rejuvenation Forums. We will allocate at least TWD 100 million (USD 3.2 million) to the Chiayi County Agricultural Development Fund to develop our new agriculture and fisheries.

     

    Safe food agriculture and biotechnology will be a powerful combination in Chiayi's industrial landscape of the future. We must build industrial clusters for this and drive a new wave of agricultural transformation in Chiayi through collaborative agricultural production areas.

     

    Silver Communities and Elderly Care

    The post-war baby boom now manifests itself in a rapidly aging population in Chiayi County. Long-term care for the elderly poses a serious challenge to our county as we are still facing a net outflow of people. Enabling our senior residents to stay as healthy and independent as long as possible is an important task for us, as well as providing care to them. Long-term care 2.0 must be able to care for everyone that needs it. We must find and create spaces for providing various types of care, develop a work force of caregivers, and harness the energy of nonprofit organizations! We need more talents such as social workers and healthcare and nursing professionals to upgrade our long-term care industry. This will require developing our education and training base and it will create jobs as well.

     

    Opportunities in LOHAS

    Chiayi County is blessed with majestic mountains and a splendid seaboard. When Taiwan transitioned to a two-day weekend, enterprising Chiayi natives developed these rich ecosystems into resources for tourism and leisure. In the future, however, we must overcome our piecemeal go-it-alone approaches to create more alignment and synergy in our offering and better differentiation in our marketing. We’ve got what it takes to create unique tour packages! We will encourage LOHAS entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate across industries. Developing our mindsets, practices, and strategies, with government support where needed, will usher in a tourism and leisure industry that is sustainable in every sense.

     

    Develop industry to drive prosperity

    The further development of the Dapumei Intelligent Industrial Park, the completion of the Machouhou Industrial Zone, solving the talent shortage for companies, and balancing urban and rural development are key challenges awaiting us. We will step up our collaboration with universities in and around Chiayi County and develop closer connections between industry and research institutes. If company owners offer good labor and welfare conditions and the government creates good infrastructure and good urban planning, I’m sure we can attract talents and their families to move to Chiayi and create prosperity for every town and village across our county.

     

    To renew Chiayi’s industry and transform its structure, our county government must integrate resources from the central government and offer the people of this county a vision and show them a way forward to boldly confront and overcome the barriers between us and a bright future for all of us.

     

    Six major policy initiatives to drive transformation

    In my campaign, I have outlined my policy intentions for a new agriculture, industry twin star, common good for tourism, silver communities, educational reform, and rural upgrading. Those are the strategies I believe we must pursue to transform Chiayi and confidently build the new future that we deserve. For small farmers, the big word “transformation” will mean improving their collective negotiating power and access to logistics capabilities. Our industrial parks and the companies in them will help transform midstream and downstream companies and drive urban and rural development. In tourism, transformation will mean overcoming parochial tendencies and working together and thriving together. Community development will help our long-term care infrastructure get ready for the future. Our education system must become relevant for lifelong learning. Our rural brothers and sisters and aunties and uncles must be given more care, convenience, and quality of life. These are the challenges we are facing and which we can overcome if we work together.

     

    Triple Consensus to Solve People’s Real-Life Problems

    The essence of politics is to leverage power to allocate and integrate resources to solve issues to improve people’s lives. Put simply, politics is about solving people's hardships, and the government is there to create the opportunities and conditions for people to solve those hardships in their lives.

     

    Dear colleagues, wherever you work in our county’s government, we all want to transform Chiayi to solve people’s hardships. So, let’s rally together around three points of consensus: focus on clean government free of corruption, focus on our real work that needs to be done, and focus on unity to achieve transformation and success for Chiayi County and every man, woman, and child in it. Their happy smiles will inspire us to work a little harder and will make our tasks feel a little lighter. I’m confident that the New Chiayi is within our reach.

     

    Bold transformation for rejuvenated Chiayi

    begins from all of us, here, today!

     

    Finally, I would like to thank once more my family members for their care and my teammates for their support. And my biggest thank-you of all goes to my fellow Chiayi folks who support progress for our beautiful land and have entrusted me with four years’ time to lead the county government to build a New Chiayi together!

     

    I wish you all peace, health, and prosperity! Thank you!

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