Dr. Stewart Chen in Oakland Chinatown
Saturday, September 1, 2012, a large crowd gathered at the Chatime & Music Cafe in Oakland this afternoon to show their support for Dr. Stewart Chen, who is running for a seat in the Alameda City Council. Friends and supporters from Oakland and nearby communities, including Piedmont, Alameda, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, and San Jose, came to join in the festivities and spoke about how they know Dr. Chen and why they think he will be a good Council member for the City of Alameda. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and her husband, Dr. Floyd Huen, along with other local dignitaries, including City of Alameda School Board Clerk Mike McMahon, Lions Club District 4C3 Governor Don Kiang, and OCA-East Bay Chapter Vice-President Michael Lok, were also on-hand to show their support.
Other guests who spoke on stage include Thomas Ng, who has known Dr. Chen for over 30 years and spoke of Dr. Chen's integrity as his most important qualification as a public official. Jeff Cambra, another candidate for Alameda City Council came to show his support for Dr. Chen. He and Dr. Chen worked together to organize an event that celebrated the Asian Pacific Heritage in Alameda and he urged everyone to support Dr. Chen.
Mr. Hermy Almonte, current member of the San Leandro School Board and a candidate for the San Leandro City Council, showed his support for Dr. Chen by coming to the event and contributing to his campaign. He also encouraged everyone to do the same. Ed Yu, President of Chinese American Citizens Alliance (CACA) said that he compared Dr. Chen to all the other candidates for Alameda City Council and Dr. Chen "came out ahead" because of his background, including the struggles that he had to overcome to reach his goals. Mr. Carl Chan, the Chair of the Asian Health Services Board and one of the prominent figures in Oakland Chinatown, affirmed this by saying that he has known Dr. Chen for a long time and believes that Dr. Chen is well-qualified to be a member of Alameda's City Council.
Dr. Halton Suen, a dentist in Oakland Chinatown, has known Dr. Chen for over 15 years. He attested to Dr. Chen's qualifications and personal traits, going over a list of Dr. Chen's current responsibilities and past work, such as being the President of the Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC) and Chair of the Oakland Chinatown Lions Sight Savers Committee. Dr. Suen regards Dr. Chen as an "honest, responsible person with integrity" and he wholeheartedly recommends Dr. Chen for Alameda City Council. Dr. Harry Lin, another dentist in Oakland Chinatown, has also known Dr. Chen personally and professionally for a long time. He served with Dr. Chen on the Madison Square Condominium Association and knows him to be honest and hard-working - someone who is deserving of the people's vote.
Other supporters, like Francis Lan, past President of Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, and Mary Geong, attested to Dr. Chen's active participation in community events and the large amount of time he has given to make the community better. Mr. Hung, owner of a restaurant in Oakland Chinatown, gave an impassioned speech about Dr. Chen. He said that he sees Dr. Chen as someone who is very practical; a good doctor, with a good heart, who will serve the people very, very well. He also pointed out that every candidate, whom he supported, has won and asked everyone to ask two friends to support Dr. Chen and those friends, in turn, would ask two other friends and so on to help Dr. Chen with his campaign.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan talked about the importance of diversity in leadership positions in top cities but emphasized that just because someone is Asian is not enough for her to support them. However, she is willing to endorse Dr. Chen because Dr. Chen has shown himself to be very civic-minded - "a good person who has already shown his service to the community" - and she's certain that if he is elected, he will also be there for the citizens of Alameda. Dr. Floyd Huen, the husband of Mayor Quan, expressed how proud he is that another doctor is involved in politics. He was impressed by Dr. Chen's ability to turn the OACC around during its darkest times and is confident that Dr. Chen will be able to help the City of Alameda.
Chung Ly, a young professional engineer, had the privilege of introducing Dr. Chen. He first knew Dr. Chen when he became one of his patients but has since regarded Dr. Chen as a very good friend and someone he looks up to as a role model. He credits Dr. Chen for inspiring him to speak up for himself. "Dr. Chen gave me a voice... I realized that if we don't speak for ourselves, no one will... A closed mouth doesn't get fed."
When Dr. Chen came up to the podium, he started by thanking the owners of Chatime for hosting the event, the dignitaries for coming to the event and showing their support, and everyone present for taking the time to join him and show their support. He acknowledged his strong ties to Oakland Chinatown where his practice is located. Working there has given him the opportunity to know the community. He explained that his decision to run for Alameda City Council was because he believes that he can make a difference and he would like to do it while keeping in touch with the residents of the community. During his twelve years of public service, he has made positive contributions to the efforts of the committees in which he served. He hopes that Alameda will be able to collaborate with Oakland and its other neighboring communities to help each other grow. He would also like to encourage diversity in leadership roles. He believes that minority groups, including Asian Americans, are just as qualified to be in a leadership position and hopes that his efforts and those of his predecessors would inspire future generations to continue this trend and make a positive difference.
David Glatt, Dr. Chen's stepfather, commented that what makes Dr. Chen unique among politicians is his ability to see the other person's views then reason and come to a conclusion that takes into consideration the other person's ideas and points of view - a trait that would prove valuable for someone who intends to serve a diverse population.