First Asian American serving in MO Governor's cabinet shares her story
JEFFERSON CITY —
The Lunar New Year will begin next Friday and it's the first year where there will be an organized celebration at the State Capitol.
The newly-appointed Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Director Anna Hui is helping to organize the event and hopes to share her culture with Missourians.
"Being Asian American has always been part of my identity," Hui said. She is a Chinese American from Illinois. She grew up there and had plans to become a lawyer until she got a call.
"That kind of started me on a track that I didn't really anticipate, to getting me where we are today."
Governor Eric Greitens appointed Hui in March 2017, calling her a "fearless change agent."
"Being offering an opportunity like this is unimaginable," Hui said.
Her senate confirmation in January was historic because she's the first Asian American to serve in the Governor's cabinet in Missouri history.
"To come here and have that opportunity to be the first one there's a lot of pressure," Hui said. "Obviously you want to do well for the sake of doing well in the job you've been hired to do but to know, you have an opportunity to really open the door for a lot of people."
Hui acknowledged many of those who opened doors for her including former U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, who now serves as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Hui was President George W. Bush's Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor and chief of staff to Chao.
"I have just been so blessed with so many great opportunities," Hui said.
Her family is her motivation. She said her parents have always been in her corner, pushing her to do more.
"My husband is a great supporter in that as well. Certainly my daughter is a great inspiration," Hui said. "I think we all work really hard at what we do because of those we care about."
She said her biggest achievement in the last 10 months since she started has been opening up communication.
"Convincing folks that we really are here, we're open for business," Hui said. "We want to talk about how we fit into that economic development role."
Hui saw Missouri's low unemployment rate as a chance to do even better.
"To take a look at what are we doing well and where are the gaps right now," Hui said. "There are countless jobs going unfilled right now, why is that?"
She said her shared vision with the governor is "Working Better Together," and she hopes to see that through during her time in the Show-Me State.
The Lunar New Year celebration will be at the State Capitol on the second floor around 5:15 p.m. next Thursday. Hui said Greitens is expected to hang a Chinese New Year poem in his office and students from Chinese Schools in St. Louis and Columbia will perform a lion dance and songs.