After winning his re-election bid, Hsinchu County Magistrate Yang Wen-ke was sworn into office today (Feb. 15) and named the first recruits for his staff at the Hsinchu County government, with Wei Wen-yuan heading the Public Information Department, and Chen Chung-chen named Chief of the Fire Bureau. Yang emphasized that over the next four years of his tenure, he will continue building on the foundation laid in his first term, continuing to shape Hsinchu County into “The Tech Capital, Happy Hsinchu County," also establishing a cross-county collaboration platform with Hsinchu City and Miaoli County to help the area develop and prosper.
Stepping into office today as the 19th Hsinchu County Magistrate, Yang is set to begin his second term as magistrate, and at the helm of the swearing-in ceremony was Environmental Protection Administration Minister Chang Tzi-chin, who administered the oath and handover. In his speech, Yang talked about ideologies he has held throughout his term as magistrate, including “What the people want, I sow in my heart.” In his first term, Yang promoted his “five arrows” project, 10 transportation construction projects, inclusive parks, the green coastal scenery tourism project etc., all major construction projects related to Hsinchu County’s prosperity and development over the next 30 years, all done for the benefit of county residents.
Yang stressed how he values administrative reforms and measures that streamline administrative processes and boosts convenience for residents, having requested to improve complex forms and the back and forth of official documents to reduce unnecessary paperwork in an effort to prevent any “sludge” from wasting resources and clogging administrative efficiency.
Over the past four years, Yang led the county government team in drawing in business investors, cutting costs and increasing profits, receiving the triple-crown praise of being “the king of investment attraction, the king of profit making, and the king of debt settlement.” For instance, the development and investment of the AI Smart Park and the Fengshan Industrial Park created NT$123 billion worth of production value, as well as 5,200 jobs, at the same time assisted the Hsinchu Science Park Administration in completing Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the park’s urban planning expansion plan in Baoshan, as well as land acquisition procedures. The county government built the Far Eastern Department Store’s Zhubei Branch, Shown Square and the Broadway Cinemas through the build-operate-transfer model, all of which have been opened for operation, as well as the high-efficiency incineration plant, to be built in the build-operate-own model, will be completed and operating in 2024.
The county government has repaid NT$13.575 billion of debt within four years, said Yang, which significantly reduced the debt to NT$7.967 billion. While there was major progress in debt settlement, the county’s infrastructure, social welfare and total budget have all seen record highs. For example, the annual budget increased from the NT$23.622 billion four years ago to NT$34.824 next year; the social welfare budget is scheduled to increase from NT$1.885 billion four years ago to the NT$4.922 billion next year, advancing social welfare for the county’s residents, young and old alike.
Hsinchu County has the highest birth rate in the nation and is also ranked at the top among areas with the highest percentage of younger people in the population. Because of this, the government has raised the budget for education from NT$10.166 billion four years ago to next year’s NT$16.285 billion. In the last four years, the county government has worked often with 13 townships, towns and cities to use the NT$59.2 billion budget on local development.
Over the next four years, Yang said he plans to conduct discussions and collaborations through the “cross-area collaboration platform” to work on any issues requiring cross-area governance, and continue to build Hsinchu up to become “The Tech Capital, Happy Hsinchu County” based on the foundations of the county’s current infrastructure.
Regarding specific governance, Yang pointed out three main aspects. The first would be to assist the development of the technology industry, integrating the Taichi park and phase three of the science park into the grounds for the future Hsinchu Science Park expansion project, and urge the central government to approve the two projects as soon as possible. Additionally, there will be another 1,000 hectares added to the industry grounds, connecting the tech industry belt of Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County and Miaoli, ensuring that Hsinchu County secures its advantageous position as the tech capital.
Secondly, the goal is to enhance transportation works that span different areas. Phase 3 of the project extending the connecting underpass below the High Speed Railway to the Hsinchu Science Park is slated for completion next June, and the government has secured the central government’s approval of a NT$1.264 budget to construct the northbound and southbound ramps. The new construction project for an alternative route for Provincial Highway 1 (from Xinfeng to Hsinchu) has already received an approved construction budget of NT$2.843 billion in total and is set to break ground on the first stretch of construction. As for the road bridge that spans the Toucian River, Hsinchu City has been responsible for its delay, and Yang will be communicating with newly-elected Hsinchu Mayor Ann Kao to accelerate the bridge’s completion.
The third would be to pass on and carry forward Hakka culture, with plans to hold a “World Hakka Expo” and “World Hakka Forum” in the future, molding Hsinchu into the Hakka cultural center of the world. There will be regular competitions and events for Hakka opera, literature and creativity, including international performances and exhibitions that will create a diverse homeland while keeping Hakka culture alive and thriving.
Yang also announced the first wave of personnel changes in his county government staff today, with Wei Wen-yuan taking place as head of the Public Information Department, replacing former head Chuang Chi-ming, who is stepping off due to career plans. Wei holds a master’s degree in marketing from the University of Birmingham and once served as the deputy spokesperson for the Taipei City Government, and asn an anchor and the head of the international news team at the SET News Channel. He has 15 years of work experience and was awarded the Breaking News Reporting Award by the Foundation for Excellent Journalism Award in 2013.
Sun Fu-yo is taking up the same position in Taichung City, his position is taken up by former deputy chief of the Hsinchu County Fire Bureau, Chen Chung-chen. Chen is a graduate of the Central Police University, later receiving his master’s degree in civil engineering from National Central University. He began a 30-plus year career as a firefighter in Hsinchu County, beginning in 1991. He served as the bureau’s secretary and deputy chief and has had ample experience in the field.