Maryland's new first lady thankful

Updated: 2014-11-26 12:07

By Hua Shengdun in Washington(China Daily USA)

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 Maryland's new first lady thankful

Yumi Hogan (center), the first Asian-American first lady of Maryland, speaks with Corinna Shen (left), owner of Modern International Enterprises, and Chiling Tong (right), founder and CEO of the International Leadership Foundation, at a reception for the Chinese community at the Seven Seas Restaurant in Rockville, Maryland, on Monday afternoon. Cai Chunying / China Daily

Yumi Hogan, the first Asian first lady of Maryland, thanked members of the Chinese community for their support in the recent election of her husband, Larry, who was elected the state's governor.

"No matter what happens, we Asians should always help each other," said Hogan, speaking at a reception for the Chinese community at the Seven Seas Restaurant on Monday in Rockville.

A Korean American and adjunct instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Yumi Hogan said it was reported that Asian voters may have provided 60,000 votes for her husband, a Republican.

Hogan told China Daily that it's her "pleasure and pressure to present as the state's first lady," especially when compared with Elaine Chao, the first Chinese-American cabinet official, as she has been in some Korean newspapers. Chao served as US labor secretary and is married to US Sen Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is expected to be the next Senate Majority Leader.

"I will try my best to do something for Asian communities, children's education and cultural promotion," said Hogan, who teaches studio drawing at MICA.

Hogan said she also would introduce Korean kimchi into the governor's mansion in the lunar Chinese New Year, which became a legal holiday in Maryland in 2006, as her husband is fond of Asian food.

Corinna Shen, owner of Modern International Enterprises, said that one day she went to a Korean restaurant with Yumi Hogan, where she explicitly explained every dish they ate.

"At that time, I realized that she could be the greatest ambassador of culture," Shen said. "In the coming four years, we're going to be 'Asian Strong' with Yumi bringing more beauty and Asian elements into mainstream politics."

"It's tremendous that we have a first lady who is a supporter of arts and Asian cultures, which I hope will ensure that she could do more in her term as first lady," said Rose Li, founder and president of Rose Li Associates.

"By promoting arts and culture, especially for Asian-American communities, it [shows] the importance of them getting into politics," said Chiling Tong, founder and CEO of the International Leadership Foundation and former US deputy assistant secretary of commerce.

"The responsibility of first lady is not only host of the governor's mansion, but also an adviser to the governor by hosting and managing all the social activities," Tong said.

She said it was also a milestone for Maryland, with an Asian-American population of 6.1 percent, because "it roused the civic awareness for the young generations of Asian Americans to get involved in politics as well as public policy.

"It also means a lot for Asia-US relations, because the first lady plays a soft but crucial role between the two regions," Tong said.

Sheng Yang contributed to this story.