Pumping up happiness index of 740,000 citizens to the highest Namyangju, a city more than you can imagine

임병권 기자l승인2022.09.26l수정2022.09.26 16:15

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“In order to maximize the happiness index of 740,000 citizens over the four years of the eighth office of the city, we will work with city officials to quickly solve pending issues and will move in a rational and practical direction. If it is for the future development of Namyangju, we will work with anyone, anywhere. I will open for talks to listen opinions of citizens and I will do my best.” said Namyangju City Mayor Joo Gwang-deok at an interview with <PowerKorea> 100 days before his inauguration on October 10. We met Joo and heard about his future plans.’

▲ Namyangju City Mayor Joo Gwang-deok

It has been three  months since you took office. How are you doing?

I canceled inauguration ceremony due to torrential rain and I encouraged emergency work staff, checked the disaster response situation, and inspected the flood affected sites. The inaugural address was delivered to the citizens on YouTube. Since then, I have been focusing on overall tasks for municipal administration and departmental work reports to check major issues, check various pending tasks, establish a rational personnel system, and communicate with staff from time to time. I frequently meet with citizens from all walks of life, such as related organizations, social groups, local Internet communities, sports clubs, businessmen, journalists, farmers, and youth, to share the vision and direction of the 8th term of office and I also talk a lot about matters that need improvement. I attended the opening ceremony of the Gyeonggi Sports Festival held in Yongin, encouraged the athletes of the city, and thought of the direction of agriculture of the city. 

 

Do you have your own political philosophy?

My political philosophy is to listen to the citizens and to administer from the heart. Before taking the office, I have been working hard to put this into practice. Even during my time as a member of the National Assembly, I had the experience of communicating fairly frequently with other candidates, members of other political parties, and their supporters, always comfortably greeting them. A mayor is an administrator, not a politician. I think that we need to transcend political parties and party strategies, and above all, think about what is the most rational, efficient, and practical way to increase the happiness index of citizens by breaking away from political logic. 

What is the plan for building a high-tech hub city, and what kind of benefits do you think it will bring?

By attracting the world’s leading semiconductor conglomerates and AI AI-based Cloud Valley, I will create a high-tech industrial complex in Wangsuk New Town, Namyangju that will surpass Pangyo. This will lead to securing stable tax revenue, improving the weak economic structure, creating many good jobs, building urban infrastructure such as various self-sufficiency and convenience facilities to realize the era of citizen happiness. In order to attract large semiconductor companies or large-scale data centers, it must have three major location factors, stable high-voltage power supply, convenient commuting and housing for professionals as well as securing water. Namyangju is highly competitive in northern Gyeonggi Province with all three favorable conditions. In particular, Wangsuk District 1 and Jinjeop District 2 are in very good conditions as GTX-B and Line 9 meet. 

 

If you could briefly introduce the business that you consider as the core?

I will strive to expand the wide-area transportation system, and plan to solve internal transportation connections one by one, such as building a road network that runs through Namyangju from north to south. Early start and opening of GTX-B line, connection of new GTX-D, E, and F lines to Namyangju, extension of subway lines 8, 9, 6, early opening of the Seoul Metropolitan Area 2nd Ring Expressway, local road 98, local road 387, are to be planned ahead with the construction of connecting roads between regions. In addition, we will draw a detailed picture by concentrating our administrative power on attracting a future-type complex medical town. A mega hospital, various complex facilities such as a medical, health, and bio R&D complex will bring synergistic effects in connection with this, a residence that can provide high-quality examinations and treatments, and even tourism, and other commercial facilities will be built all together. 

 

What does ‘a city more than you can imagine’ mean?

Looking at the process of more than doubling city’s population from 300,000 to 740,000, it was an unbalanced growth with only apartments and new population inflows due to the government’s housing supply policy. This has created a situation in which good jobs, companies, transportation systems, cultural and artistic infrastructure, and various convenience facilities are insufficient to improve the quality and satisfaction of citizens’ lives. In addition, problems with child rearing and education, and various restrictions due to regulations that could not keep up with the times, put the city in a difficult situation, and I felt ashamed and worried as a politician and a citizen. Therefore, there are a lot of thoughts and discussions on how to make innovative changes. 

‘A city more than you can imagine’ means a traffic hub city, a high quality city and an education and eco city. In order to operate the ‘Human-book Library’ from next year, we are currently focusing on building a system such as recruiting participants and linking with each library. I will overcome the low fertility era by providing up to 2 million won per year to vulnerable families with 5 or more children, 1 million won each twice before the start of the new semester (February and August). 

Do you intend to continue the 1 night 2 days talks with citizens?

In fact, it is a physically very hard but I try my best to keep going. I visit eup, myeon, and dong areas once a month to openly share local issues, suggestions, and stories they want to share and spend 1 night and 2 days with the village representatives at the village hall. It is my belief that a talk should be done quickly when citizens want it, be proactive, and be sincere. I will do my best to keep it that way.

 

What do you want to say to the 740,000 citizens?

In order to maximize the happiness index of 740,000 citizens, I will work closely with city officials to quickly solve pending issues. I will do anything for the improvement of citizens’ lives and the development of the city, regardless of what it is. I will become a competent communicator. I will become a citizen’s friend who will always be by the side of them, sharing both pain and pleasure. I will always remember and monitor the government so that it does not stop with slogans that are pleasant to listen to only. 


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