Having been born & raised in a suburb of Springfield, Massachusetts (about 90 miles West of Boston), I’m surprised that I did not come across hearing about Lisa Wong, but I had only started blogging in January 2007 and she was first elected in November 2007. I learned about Wong when a friend of mine posted on Facebook a Boston Globe article about her leaving Fitchburg, where she was mayor – to be with herÂ husband, who is running for mayor of Holyoke, about 1.5 hour drive away:
“Lisa Wong is a rising political star, the turnaround artist in Fitchburg, the first Asian-American mayor in the Bay State [Massachusetts].Â …Â Indeed, Wong will not seek a fifth term. …Â She had three degrees at age 20. … Wong, 36, was a high school valedictorian who went on to earn three degrees from Boston University, run an economic empowerment group for women, and win the historic mayoral election by the time she was 27.Â The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she grew up in North Andover, one of three children in a quiet family. She came to Fitchburg around 2001 to lead the Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority.”
Fitchburg is 3.6% Asian. I was just looking up the demographics of my hometown (not far from Holyoke), and although I was subconsciously aware that it was predominately white, I didn’t realize it was 95% white (according to the 2000 census). So I have to imagine it was even whiter when I grew up there in the 1980s. Massachusetts overall is 6% Asian.
In any case, I’m glad to have learned about Wong, though I vaguely recall an Asian American running for some elected office in Massachusetts who would have been a first for something, but not sure if was for a mayoral position.