If Michelle Wu was elected mayor of Boston at the end of Tuesday, Hazel Chu will cheer her on three miles away in Dublin, Ireland.
With Wu as the first woman and first person of color, the first elected mayor of Boston, Long thought of as the most Irish city in the United States. In 2020, Chu became first person of color, but by chinese descent, then a European city's mayor.
In contrast, the two men who never met and were, with their parents' mothers, who have always been their daughters, are striking. They are the children of Chinese parents, Wu's from Taiwan, and Chu's from Hong Kong. They are children of immigrants and daughters of divorce, with that resilience and resources are built by all the life experiences.
Both grew up in modest circumstances and became lawyers before becoming the first Asian women to serve in the city councils of their respective cities, Chu in Dublin and Wu in Boston. Chu and Wu are 41 years old and 36, working mothers with young children.
The same way about their political position, says Chu, a member of the Green Party: I'm standing for inclusiveness, progressive, and a better, cleaner, sustainable society. It sounds like something, right out of Wu platform.
The two councilors heavily focused on development, challenging the status quo. Both the mayors emphasis on taking dramatic action on climate change.
While some of Wus critics suggested she focus on potholes rather than holes in the ozone layer, Chu finds that criticism patronizing. She praises Wu for setting an example.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, a leader on climate action, said Chu from Dublin. The idea of doing this is key to the role of a mayors job, he told me by phone from Dublin, where she continued to basking in Irelands upset victory over All Blacks, the No. 1 rugby team in the world. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, is a leader of climate action.
Hidalgo, whose family emigrated from Spain when she was 2 years old, is the first woman to serve as the mayor of Paris and is running for France's president.
Chu believes that Wus election shows that progressive politics are still thriving in cities, that the diversity of politicians will become more diverse ideas.
In recent years, Wu has focused his efforts on the intersection of addiction and homelessness at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard. When he became a mayor, one of Wus first and lasting efforts will have been to establish a task force on homelessness, a major problem in Dublin and many cities.
A previous task force used to be more of a talking shop.
I was specific, Chu said. I wanted to bring parties together and look at the top five things we needed to do to ease the homeless crisis.
That group is now permanent members of the City Council of Dublin.
That said, Chu says she wouldn't be so presumptuous as to suggest to the new mayor of Boston.
Michelle doesn't need advice from me, she said. Her accomplishments speak for themselves.
In Chus case, the mayor of Boston has much more power than Dublins mayor. The mayor serves only one year and his office is largely symbolic. But that symbolism was powerful in Tangs case.
When my mom came to Ireland 45 years ago, she didn't think she would become Dublin Mayor, Chu said. When Michelle's election in Boston showed a generation of migrants they belong, they can take up the mantle. That is more than just symbolism. That's real.
Wu didn't only become the first woman and color winner to become mayor of Boston, but remained a constant run of the mayor during which she ended a century-long run only a few exceptions, but also retreated to Ireland. That changed his attitude in Dublin, normalizing the difference.
Although Chu, who left the mayor's office in June, wouldn't advise Wu, she wants to offer an open invitation to anyone.
Michelle would be very welcome here in Dublin, said she.
Kevin Cullen is a columnist at the Globe and is a columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com.