Asian leaders’ pitch: Run for of­fice

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By AMY HE in Philadel­phia amyhe@chi­nadai­

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.

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