Romney Gave Me A Chance to Lead as an Independent Asian Woman
By womenworkingwithMitt on September 23, 2012
I am a 40 year old Asian Female who is pro Mitt Romney. Sounds odd, right? A female minority who is supporting a GOP candidate, specifically someone the press has portrayed as anti-women. I am not a registered Republican nor Democrat. I am the Independent vote based upon the issue. I believe the biggest issue today is the struggling economy and our staggering national debt.
From my own experience, I can tell you that Mitt Romney is anything but anti-women. He had the number one rated number of women to men in his leadership positions. Mitt treated me with integrity and respect and most importantly, he gave me a chance based on my credentials, not my ethnic background or gender.
Governor Mitt Romney appointed me as Commissioner, Department of Telecommunications & Energy (DTE, now the public utility commission, PUC) and to the Massachusetts Board of Public Health. During my tenure on the DTE, there were 5 commissioners, 2 of which were women and one woman was the head of the department. At the time I was one of two Asian public utility commissioners in the US and the highest ranking Asian Female in Massachusetts government.
I was born in Korea and immigrated to the United States when I was 4. Most immigrants are either wealthy and can buy their way into a country or they are poor and work their way up to middle class. Either way, parents who immigrate work to give their children a brighter future and mine were no exception. After 36 years of working various jobs, my mother is a cashier at Target and my father is a factory worker. My parents work hard at every job and gave that strong work ethic to my two brothers and me.
We were raised in rural Tennessee as latch key kids and my parents were always working to make ends meet. We were the first non-English speaking kids in our school system. We didn’t have enough money to go to a dentist or doctor and relied on reduced or free services and the kindness of a small town. I remember seeing my parent’s tax returns while applying for college financial aid and my parents never broke positive. The good news is I got financial aid. Between grants, scholarships and part time jobs, I could afford college. The bad news is my parents filed for bankruptcy and they lost the place where they worked and lived. It taught me to work hard and to be responsible for all my actions, including my finances.
The cards are stacked against first generation immigrants with a language and cultural barrier but through public education, hard work and the Grace of God, I was able to create a better life. I am the first woman in my family to attend college. I am an electrical engineer with an MBA and the only person in my family to have an advanced degree. Before I worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I had over a dozen years of experience in energy and telecommunications industries from multiple perspectives having worked for The Southern Company, Deloitte Consulting, GE Energy and Procter & Gamble. My functional expertise is information technology and mergers & acquisitions.
I have experienced many stereotypes--both positive and negative of being an Asian female. I am supposed to be “a good engineer but not good leader”. I also understand the stereotypes of Democrats being “pro women & minorities” and Republicans being “neutral” at best.
Thankfully, this was not my experience with Mitt. I appreciate Mitt giving me the opportunity to lead.
Deval Patrick (Democrat) got elected after Mitt Romney and I learned I was fired by reading a newspaper article. Imagine my surprise when Deval’s office would not return my calls or provide a face to face meeting with the commissioners to explain why we were being let go.
It seemed ironic that a white republican appointing me to office and a black democrat fired me from the same office. At one time the DTE had a requirement to hire at least 1 woman as commissioner. The requirement was removed when Massachusetts had evolved past the need to protect women and the rule was abolished. The female commissioners appointed by Governor Romney in the DTE were replaced by Governor Patrick’s newly formed PUC and 3 white men.
I am not saying leaders should not bring their own constituents or Democrats are against women and/or minorities. The point I want to I want to make as I lived it myself is that we should not give into the media stereotypes of Republicans and Democrats. We must instead judge the individual on who would make a better leader.
What is the candidate’s roadmap of the future? Are they open to hiring the best team around them based on qualifications? Do they have a clear path to create a healthy, robust, job creating economy? Do they have a proven track record of implementing solutions instead of just words?
I understand the plight of women & immigrants in the work force as I have lived it firsthand. I watched my parents struggle to get jobs. My first job I made $2 / hr + tips as a waitress. I worked my way through college. My last year of college, I made under $10,000 and paid for tuition, books & living expenses. I understand where people assume Democrats, not Republicans, would help women & minorities. However, I feel compelled to share my personal experience so that others like me can share in my success. Based on my experience, skillset, and desire to serve Massachusetts, Mitt Romney gave me the opportunity to lead and serve as an independent female minority. I hope women, minorities and independents give him the same consideration.
Soo Kim Loftus
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