I don’t know how I missed this past Fall 2009 election in Cambridge, Massachusetts — maybe because I was so focused on Sam Yoon’s Boston mayoral bid? — but Leland Cheung, 31 and current dual degree student at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, was elected to Cambridge’s nine-panel city council, as reported recently by The Boston Globe:
“And when he takes a seat inside City Council chambers next month, he will have secured a spot as the first student and the first Asian-American elected to serve on the panel… “I’m not totally surprised there hasn’t been an Asian-American in office,’’ said Cheung, whose father is Chinese and mother is French-Canadian. “But it gives me great hope that people did elect one.’’…“What ’s amazing about this is that he beat out an incumbent,’’ said Dutta, referring to Cheung’s ousting of Larry Ward, who is African-American. “That’s not easy to do. It’s a big deal. Everybody gave him the thumbs up.’’ … In Cambridge, Asian-Americans make up roughly 12 percent of the city’s population of more than 100,000… Using social networking websites and old-fashioned campaigning, he successfully rallied students, the Asian community, and anyone who would listen around his campaign themes of job creation and bridging the gap between students and residents.”
Having attended business school, I have no idea how Cheung had the time to raise money and campaign for Cambridge’s city council or how he will be able to juggle academics with his duties on the city council. But having beat out an incumbent, I’m sure Cheung is quite capable of balancing all of his responsibilities.
Cheung’s father in the 1960’s attended Boston University, and prior to Cheung entering MIT & Harvard, Cheung worked and lived in Cambridge for several years. Given how big of a college town the greater Boston area is along with the ambitions of Harvard and MIT students, it’s almost shocking to hear that a current student has not run and been elected to Cambridge’s city council. And to have an Asian American accomplish this feat is truly amazing.
(Image Source: “Elect Leland Cheung” Facebook Fan Page)