Businessman Yukong Zhao (pronounced You-Kong Zow) brings a different background to a key Central Florida congressional race.
Born and raised in communist China, Zhao’s thick accent made him difficult to understand at times and he admitted it could be an issue when it comes to reaching out to voters in the Republican primary as the GOP looks for a challenger to U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.
“That could be a barrier, but it is also my strength, right?” Zhao told Florida Daily. “I have a bilingual, bi-cultural background. In the U.S. Congress…we don’t have enough international experience. I am fluent in the two most important languages. I know China, the biggest rival of America. Someone should go to Congress and know the language, the culture and the tricks they play.”
Because of that Chinese upbringing, Zhao said one of his main goals in Congress would be sure the U.S. doesn’t end up like that nation.
“So many politicians like Bernie Sanders and AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)…promote socialism in America,” Zhao said. “I and my family totally suffered from socialism. I know how bad it is. So I am running for Congress to defend America’s founding principles”
After arriving in the U.S., Zhao found success as a planner. “In realizing my American dream, I already started the journey to help others,” he said. Zhao’s career in the private sector including working at Siemens as its director of global planning.
With his familiarity with China, Florida Daily asked what the US policy should be towards the communist nation.
“I fully support President Trump to renegotiate the trade deal to make it reciprocal, to make it fair, that’s number one,” he said. “Number two, we need to require China to live up to international standards on trade, on intellectual property, and on human rights. That is something that needs to be done.”
While he called China “a rival” and “competition,” Zhao said the U.S. needs that nation’s cooperation on issues including trade and COVID-19. Having said that, Zhao does not want the federal government to be anything like the Chinese regime, insisting the current Democratic leadership of the U.S. House is pushing a “radical progressive agenda.”
Zhao said he feels like Americans have been betrayed by politicians that never want to solve people’s problems. This includes the way high school children are taught.
“We need to teach our children from high school communication skills, money management skills, social skills and crime prevention,” Zhao told Florida Daily. “These are the essential elements for success, not the government giving free tuition or handouts.”
Zhao said he backed President Donald Trump and, if elected, will work with the White House.
“President Trump, he gets the job done,” Zhao said. “America, our U.S, Congress, needs somebody like him, somebody like me.”
He claimed he is better prepared to serve in Congress than his rivals because of his experiences fighting against things like racial preferences in college admission policies.
Zhao also threw a few jabs at Murphy.
“She broke her promise,” he insisted. “On her website, she said she wanted to put the people’s interests above the partisan politics. But, in reality, she voted on the party line and, especially, she voted to impeach President Trump.”
To get a shot against Murphy, Zhao has to distinguish himself from the crowded Republican field. He hopes his story makes all the difference.
“Why are so many people from developing countries waiting in line trying to emigrate into the U.S.? Because we offer the greatest opportunity. I came to this country with less than $200 in my pocket. I was able to achieve my American dream,” he said.
Zhao is facing off against Steven Bacon, Chelle DiAngelus, Richard Goble and Leo Valentin in the Republican primary in August.
Reach Mike Synan at firstname.lastname@example.org.