State Treasurer Janet Cowell wowed the crowd at Saturday’s Triangle Dragon Boat Festival by giving a 45-second speech in Mandarin Chinese.
Cowell, who spent time as a financial analyst in Hong Kong, thanked the organizers for putting together the inaugural festival at Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre. After her speech, which drew applause, people rushed up to take pictures with her and to praise her linguistic skills.
Cowell, a Raleigh Democrat, said she still maintains fluency in Mandarin and occasionally gives speeches in that language.
Cowell’s speech also drew a quip from the next speaker, State Rep. Duane Hall.
“I am honored and privileged to be here today,” said Hall, a Raleigh Democrat who received his bachelor’s degree from N.C. State University. “But I can’t believe that you did that to me. I can’t believe you let a North Carolina N.C. State redneck follow Janet Cowell so that is terrible.”