Wy­oming elects its first Chi­nese state law­maker

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By PAUL WELITZJKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

The op­po­si­tion to US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump that energized Democrats around the na­tion in Tues­day’s elec­tion may have also played a part in Mike Yin be­com­ing the first Chi­nese-Amer­i­can state leg­is­la­tor in Wy­oming.

Con­sid­ered by pun­dits to be a re­li­able red or Repub­li­can state, the 32 year-old Yin won the seat for Wy­oming’s House District 16, which cov­ers the town of Jack­son. He de­feated Bar­bara Allen of the GOP, a for­mer county com­mis­sioner.

“Jack­son at­tracts a lot of young peo­ple, and it’s the young peo­ple that put me in of­fice,” Yin said in an in­ter­view.

Jim King, a pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal science at the Univer­sity of Wy­oming, said Yin was the Demo­cratic can­di­date in a Demo­cratic district. “Te­ton County, which is Yin’s home, is the most Demo­cratic county in Wy­oming and is one of two where the Demo­cratic nom­i­nees for US Se­nate, US rep­re­sen­ta­tive, and gov­er­nor re­ceived more votes than the Repub­li­can nom­i­nees.

“Al­though Wy­oming as a whole is a Repub­li­can state, there are ar­eas of Demo­cratic sup­port,” he wrote in an email.

Yin said his par­ents are im­mi­grants who met in At­lanta where he was born and raised. His fa­ther, Al­fred, is a na­tive of Yun­nan prov­ince while his mother, Wooiyi, is also Chi­nese and was raised in Malaysia be­fore com­ing to the US.

Yin grad­u­ated from Carnegie Mel­lon Univer­sity in Pitts­burgh with a de­gree in com­puter science. “I came to Wy­oming for its nat­u­ral beauty. The com­mu­nity is what will keep me here for­ever,” he said.

Yin, a soft­ware de­vel­oper, said a de­sire to serve the com­mu­nity that was in­spired by his par­ents is mainly re­spon­si­ble for him seek­ing elec­tive of­fice.

“My mother and fa­ther were sup­ported by the com­mu­nity in At­lanta and they gave back to the com­mu­nity. Now it’s my turn to serve the com­mu­nity,” he said.

Yin said his eth­nic­ity wasn’t an is­sue. “You do feel the need for more di­ver­sity in Wy­oming but I never felt that any­one was turned off by me be­ing Chi­nese,” he said.

Mike Yin

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