Political newcomer Lily Wu becomes 1st Asian American mayor of Wichita, Kansas


Lily Wu, a political newcomer, won the mayoral election in Wichita, Kansas, becoming the city's first Asian American mayor.

Wu’s victory: Wu ousted current Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple, earning 58% of the vote, according to the final unofficial results. Wu, who had never run for public office in the past, is a registered Libertarian who received campaign contributions from prominent Republicans and conservative groups. She reportedly raised a record amount of money ($400,000) for the race, with help from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s wife, their political action committee and conservative political action group Americans for Prosperity.

Although the council currently holds a liberal majority, the latest elections may shift the council towards a more conservative makeup. Voter turnout was higher this year compared to the previous municipal elections in 2019. Wu and the newly elected city council members will be sworn in next January.

Wu’s promises: In her victory speech, Wu promised to focus on restoring public safety and economic development.

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“I'll work to make Wichita the best city to start and grow a business, and serve as a vocal and visible ambassador for our city, encouraging new investment and opportunities for businesses,” Wu said, according to KMUW.

Wu, who expressed her opposition to tax increases, also highlighted the impact of inflation and rising property taxes and utility costs on citizens, stressing the need for responsible fiscal management by the government.

“Because Wichitans are facing inflation over the last few years and the rising cost of property taxes, as well as utility costs, so we as a government need to be more responsible with the money that is being sorted to us for taxpayers,” she said.

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About Wu: Wu, who was born in Guatemala to two working class parents, immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 8. She graduated with a master’s degree in journalism before beginning her career as a local reporter for KAKE News in 2010. She also became an anchor and a multimedia journalist at KWCH 12 News. Wu, an Emmy-nominated reporter, was named the 2022 Rising Star TV by the Kansas Association of Broadcasters.

She currently serves as a director of the Miss Wichita Asian Festival cultural scholarship competition.

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