A recent meeting of conservatives in south Forsyth highlighted a growing segment of voters.
The Forsyth County Republican Party recently held a meeting with members of a conservative Chinese-American movement aimed at furthering Republican and conservative goals.
“Since 2016, there’s a group of Chinese, Republican conservatives that basically started a movement to not only get Asian-Americans in their circle to be politically aware but also in hopes of making them politically active,” said Johns Creek City Councilman Jay Lin.
Lin, who came to Georgia from Taiwan in 1999 and owns home and remodeling business Pacific Ventures with his wife, Mimi, said the number of Chinese supporters in metro Atlanta has increased significantly since the group started.
“Over the last two years that were actually seeing a tremendous movement in the field,” Lin said. “Just based on the voters’ participation, there's a huge optic on the number of voters that actually haven't voted before but in 2016 and the most recent 2018 election, they have become active and primarily there's a core group of roughly about 700 Chinese-American Republicans essentially in the metro area out of north Fulton to Cobb County and Gwinnett County.”
Lin said reasons for supporting the party differ from person to person but noted that “Asian families are fiscally conservative and also socially conservative, and it’s a natural fit for the culture.” He said there were some exceptions with those who put social justice above traditions.
He joked that he was “about the only Asian” at events supporting U.S. Rep. Jody Hice’s first campaign in 2014 for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District but said that is no longer the case.
The meeting, which was attended by more than 100 guests, including members of Forsyth County’s legislative delegation to the Georgia General Assembly, gave attendees who were not part of the movement an opportunity to hear a different view of what it means to be a Republican and an American.
Forsyth County Republican Party Chairman Patrick Bell called the event “one of the most exciting things I’ve been involved with ever in Republican politics.”
“They had five or six people, I guess, get up and tell the crowd why they supported the Republican Party and one of the gentlemen stood up. He was about 60 years old, and he said, ‘I don't think Americans understand,’” Bell said. “He said, ‘I lived under socialism and communism. I lived in a country where you cannot own land. I lived in a country where you cannot practice a religion unless it's government-approved. I lived in a country where you can't start a business unless the government tells you you can.’”
Lin said he believes that as the population of metro Atlanta becomes more diverse, he expects the votes of Asian-Americans to become more important.
“This is just the beginning and, hopefully, we can continue to energize the group and continue to promote conservative values among Asian-Americans and hopefully we will be able to get more people around to get on board,” he said.