by Jason M. Rodriguez
When Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin was invited to celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago last month, he was honored.
Then he learned he was the only Indiana elected official to attend the celebration and he was asked to speak at the event. Franklin, who has spearheaded the city’s efforts to develop a relationship will representatives from China in the first 10 months of his term, couldn’t be more proud to represent the city.
“We’ve created that bond,” Franklin said. “I feel really good about it because I think it enhances our opportunity to receive the Chinese Consul General here and to show him around Logansport and some of the other things we’ll be able to do.”
Franklin was a guest of Yang Guoqiang, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China to Chicago. Consul General Yang was also the one who asked Franklin to speak at the Sept. 26 event just one day before.
Franklin said he was asked to speak “to represent the relationship between Logansport and the Consul General’s Office.” Many of the opportunities the city has had to work with Chinese government officials and Chinese businessmen came from the two firms the city has contracted with to lead these efforts — William-Lynn-James and Larry Ingraham of Ingraham & Associates.
The city spent $24,000 on both firms earlier this year before approving another $130,000 for a fund used to keep them on retainer and perform more marketing duties.
In June, Ren “Bill” Yuan, a representative of the Zhejian Provincial Government’s Foreign Affairs Department in the People’s Republic of China, toured Logansport. Through that newfound relationship, City Attorney Randy Head and his wife, Lisa Swaim, were able to meet with Chinese officials during their privately funded trip to China this summer.
By July, the city announced its intentions to create a sister city relationship with Haining, China, which is still in the works. In August, two Chinese businessmen visited Logansport as part of a state-wide tour they were taking to see what various areas of Indiana had to offer their home area of the Zhejiang Province.
Franklin said he was equipped with maps at September’s event to show officials the proximity of Logansport to areas such as Indianapolis, Chicago and Detroit.
“Believe me, they know where Logansport’s at,” he said. “I really have a good feeling that the Chinese Consul General knows where Logansport is at and that there’s a friendly face that’s going to meet them when they get here. I don’t know what the value to that is, but it certainly can’t hurt.”