Restaurateur and activist Francesca Hong has won the 76th Assembly District, which covers Madison’s Isthmus and East Side, and will become the first Asian American to serve in the Wisconsin State Legislature.
“We are meeting this moment by showing up and showing out in record numbers. Communities historically left out of the process are engaged by grassroots organizations and are redefining what democracy looks like,” Hong tells Madison365. “Voices are still filling the streets and amplifying the conversations to protect opportunities for justice when it comes to reinvesting in community safety and defunding state-sanctioned violence. We are all grieving the state of this world and simultaneously holding opportunities for change because there is hope in our collective action and voices.
“We must strive to help working-class individuals and families to improve conditions in mental health, housing, public education, climate justice and wealth building. We must invest in our main streets, taking the lead from independent small business owners, to work towards more equitable economic infrastructure,” she added. “But above all, we must prioritize racial equity and work to invest in communities that have been defunded and decimated by irresponsible and apathetic GOP leadership.”
Hong, a second-generation Wisconsinite, mother, community organizer, and service industry worker, easily defeated Republican candidate and real estate intern Patrick Hull, 88 percent to 12 percent, to win the Assembly seat that was previously held by former state Rep. Chris Taylor who is now serving as a Dane County Circuit Court judge.
“The work is expansive, but with constant collaboration and involvement with this community, I am confident we will get shit done together. The time for incrementalism is over. I believe in change, but more importantly, I believe in transformation,” Hong says. “We will move forward with bold and decisive demands that will deconstruct inequitable systems so we can build them back to work for everyone. We must transform our collective fear and uncertainty into collective power and action.
“I look forward to collaborating with leaders from all across the state and more importantly, leaders in communities who have deserved far better for so long,” Hong adds. “Progress for Wisconsin, all of Wisconsin, is possible and I am humbled for the opportunity to get to work for all of you.”