Asian leaders’ pitch: Run for office
Asian-American leaders at the Democratic National Convention stressed not only the Asian Pacific vote in the upcoming general election, but the importance of holding office.
“In a democracy, if you don’t speak up, we either pass you by or do things to you that you don’t like. So you have to speak up, get involved, and make sure your voices are heard,” Ted Lieu, a US congressman representing California, told China Daily on the sidelines of the convention in Philadelphia.
“We now have the most AsianAmerican members of Congress of any time in US history, and we’ll continue to grow. It’s a great time for our community,” said Lieu, who was elected to Congress last year after having served in the California state Senate from 2011 to 2014.
“A Pew Research report said that in the coming decade, 80 percent of (US population) growth will be from immigrants,” Lieu said.
“By the end of this century, immigrants from Asia Pacific will outpace immigrants from any other country, so demographics are shifting,” and now is the best time for Asians to start participating in government, he added.
Judy Chu, the first Chinese American elected to Congress, called the Asian community the “sleeping giant” of America.
“The AAPI community will only grow in regard to political representation” in the future, said Chu, who’s also chair of CAPAC.
“If we continue on this track, training the young people, inspiring them to get involved, showing them that it can be done, and if they’re able to mobilize the immigrant community so that they are able to overcome those language and cultural barriers and participate in American society, we can be a force to be reckoned with,” she said.
On Wednesday evening, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) took to the stage at Wells Fargo Arena to address
Ted Lieu, US congressman from California
It was the first time a group of elected Asian Pacific American officials was invited to speak on a national convention stage.
The group of nine CAPAC members took turns telling the crowd that they were the firsts of their ethnic groups to be elected into office; they included Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, first Asian American elected to the US Senate; Representative Ami Bera of California, the only South Asian member of Congress; Representative Grace Meng of New York, first Asian American elected to Congress from the East Coast, Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia, the first Filipino to be elected to Congress, and Representative Mark Takano of California, first openly gay person of color in Congress.
Meng, who represents New York’s 6th Congressional District in Queens, spoke about the Asian vote doubling over the last decade to become a swing vote in key electoral map states like Virginia, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
“I call upon my fellow AAPIs to organize, to campaign and to vote, so that we will be the margin of victory in 2016 and beyond,” she said.
“As our community continues to grow — and as we begin to see more AAPI candidates like Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois and Stephanie Murphy from Florida begin to run for higher office — it is critical that we elect a person who will make history for America and build a brighter future for generations to come,” Meng said. “And that person is Hillary Clinton!”
In a democracy, if you don’t speak up, we either pass you by or do things to you that you don’t like.”
Ted Lieu, a US congressman representing California, spoke on Thursday, the last night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Judy Chu, the first Chinese American elected to Congress, said that Asian Americans are the “sleeping giants” of US politics.