August 1, 2015

Campaign 2016 Begins!

Thanks to all who attended the Asian American Action Fund’s 15th Annual Gala last night! It was SRO, with three rows standing in back, all walls filled, and all seats overflowing. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), the current Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), made a personal appearance to welcome us and welcome Asian Pacific American participation in all levels of the party. Too many office-holders to name here were in attendance, and we thank every one.

Board Member Puja Bhatia emceed an outstanding program, with top level representatives of the Clinton, O’Malley and Sanders campaigns making the case for their candidates. Spririted discussions were heard all around the room before and after the speeches, with everyone acknowledging that the Asian Pacific American community was the margin of victory for many candidates over the last decade, and APAs almost certainly will be a big factor in many federal, state and local races in 2016.

Two highlights of the evening were the announced AAA-Fund endorsements of Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) for the Illinois United States Senate seat, and Maryland State Rep. Kumar Barve, who served for 13 years as Majority Leader of the Maryland House of Delegates and who is now seeking the U.S. House seat in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.

Thanks again to Lida Peterson and the gala planning committee for another great job, and thanks to all who attended or donated to make it a wonderfully successful evening. If you still want to make a donation to help elect more APAs and promote our community issues in the political sector, then please go to our website today.

As the evening was winding down, it was clear to everyone in attendance that Asian Pacific Americans are poised to play a big role in Campaign 2016. With your support and active involvement, the Asian American Action Fund will definitely be in the forefront of making it happen.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth on the costs of war

An excerpt from Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois’ op-ed in Politico. Full disclosure: The AAA Fund endorsed Rep. Duckworth’s run for the U.S. Senate today.:

The U.S. military has been a part of me since long before I signed up myself. I saw war up close early. I was born in Bangkok in 1968 and grew up in Southeast Asia with my Thai mom and my American father, who first came to the region to fight in Vietnam and stayed to work assisting refugees. I remember my mother taking me as a very little kid to the roof of our home in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to look at the bombs exploding in the distance. She didn’t want us to be scared by the booms and the strange flashes of light. It was her way of helping us to understand what was happening.

Southeast Asia was home for much of my childhood, but I moved to Hawaii when I was in high school. My first direct encounter with the military was when I joined ROTC as a graduate student, although my father, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, can trace the military service in our family all the way back to the Revolutionary War. I was interested in becoming a Foreign Service officer; I figured I should know the difference between a battalion and a platoon if I were going to represent my country overseas someday. What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with the camaraderie and sense of purpose that the military instills in you and even with the misery of training. The thing is, when we were exhausted and miserable, my fellow cadets and I were exhausted and miserable together. When the instructor yelled, he wasn’t singling anyone out, but yelling at all of us, together. It took all of us working as a team to succeed.

As for war, families like mine, with fathers and brothers and sisters and mothers in the service, are always the first to bleed. We will serve and serve proudly. We will go wherever the country needs us. I am not a dove. I believe strongly that if the country’s national security interests dictate that we put boots on the ground, then let’s do it and be aware of the true costs, both economic and human. I’m also not a reckless hawk, with scant appreciation for what the men and women in uniform—and their families—sacrifice every single day to keep the rest of us safe.

Our efforts in Iraq cost our economy more than a trillion dollars, and we will be caring for our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans for at least the next 50 years. The next time we go to war, we should truly understand the sacrifices that our service members and the American people will have to make. Which is why, when my colleagues start beating the drums of war, I want to be there, standing on my artificial legs under the great Capitol dome, to remind them what the true costs of war are.


Tomorrow (July 23): Meet the Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley campaigns

Over the last 15 years, the AAA-Fund has been in the forefront of supporting Asian Pacific American (APA) candidates at all levels, welcoming young APAs into the political process, and working with elected officials and Democratic party operatives to make sure that our community’s issues get addressed.

Tomorrow, Thursday, July 23rd at 6pm, we will celebrate 15 years of work. As always, we expect a wonderful mix of campaign veterans, elected officials, PAC and individual donors, Democratic Party staff, and leaders of the local and national APA community. Our goal is both to publicly celebrate our leaders and our achievements, while also creating the informal space that allows attendees to find volunteers, donors, jobs, and contacts for future campaigns.

Highlighting tomorrow’s event will be representatives from the three leading Presidential campaigns: Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) will be representing the Hillary Clinton campaign, and high-ranking operatives from the Sanders, O’Malley and Clinton campaigns will be on hand to answer questions, listen to advice, and hear from the APA community.

Please plan to join us there and let your voice be heard. If you cannot come, please make a donation so that we can continue to provide a forum where Democratic candidates at all levels can interface with our community.

See you tomorrow!

7/23: For APA’s, 2016 Begins

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Asian Pacific Americans could not testify in court, could not practice professions such as law, and were villified and marginalized in many ways. Despite those indignities, we fought back and vindicated rights for ourselves as well as others. Read about Yick Wo versus Hopkins or the Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance as just two examples of how we, as a community, stood up for our rights as full Americans.

Fast forward to today. A new Presidential campaign is starting. APAs have served in many campaigns and have held elective and appointive offices on most local, state, and federal levels. But we are not yet there. Not one of us has sat on the Supreme Court. None has been President or Vice President.

We have come a long way. But we definitely are not there yet.

How about you, Mr. or Ms. Reader? What role have you played in advancing civil rights for APAs and others? Have you been out in the streets, in the Halls of Congress, or taking a leading role on your own campus or your own community?

Each of us can do something, each in our own way and in our own time. And as we start Campaign 2016, this is a moment to ask yourself: What will be my role in the history of my times? Will I have made a difference? Will I have put myself out a little (or a lot) so that my children and their children will have a better life?

For APAs, Presidential Campaign 2016 starts on Thursday, July 23rd. The Democratic presidential campaigns will be at the AAA-Fund’s Gala, discussing their positions on APA issues and telling us how we can get involved. Please plan to join us there and let your voice be heard. If you cannot come, please make a donation so that we can support candidates and causes who are supporting our communities and our issues.

Can we count on you to be there on Thursday? See you then!

Momentum Builds for July 23

Buy tickets now.

Momentum is building for our 15th Annual Celebration, which will be held next Thursday July 23 at DNC Headquarters. Many APA community leaders, elected officials, and campaign operatives will be on hand to hear updates on the 2016 Presidential campaign from representatives of the candidates. Also expected are the usual complement of high-ranking Democratic Party officials and national and local officeholders, as well as young professionals looking for job contacts and candidates looking for APA donors and volunteers.

Glen S. Fukushima and Shekar Narasimhan have joined the Host Committee, which now includes Marybelle Ang, Irene Bueno, KJ Bagchi, Puja Bhatia, Gloria Caoile, CAPAC PAC, Richard Chen, Gautam Dutta, Caroline Fan, Glen S. Fukushima, Tom Goldstein, Melissa Unemori Hampe, Bel Leong-Hong, Ken Inouye, Otto Lee, Mona Mohib, Howard Moon, Shekar Narasimhan, Nossaman PAC, Monisha Santamaria, Paul Tiao, and Yeni Wong.

Additional Host Committee members are still welcome, as are donors who want to make a statement about the importance of supporting APA candidates and causes in the 2016 campaign cycle.


Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
6:00 to 8:00 pm
Democratic National Committee
Wasserman Room
430 South Capitol Street, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003


Host: $2,000
Sponsor: $1,000
Friend: $500
Guest: $125
Non-Profit/Public Sector: $100
Student/Young Professional: $55

PAC Donations:
Platinum: $5,000
Gold: $4,000
Silver: $3,000

Donations will go to AAA-Fund to support its continuing efforts to unite and activate our community.

If you cannot come, please make your voice heard by donating to the political empowerment of the APA community!

For RSVP and Donations please go to or contact Lida Peterson (; 703.622.1381)

Paid for by the Asian American Action Fund1666 K Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20006

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee

Celebrating our 15th Anniversary on July 23


Marybelle Ang * Irene Bueno * KJ Bagchi * Puja Bhatia * Gloria Caoile
CAPAC PAC * Richard Chen * Gautam Dutta * Caroline Fan * Glen S. Fukushima
Tom Goldstein * Melissa Unemori Hampe * Bel Leong-Hong * Ken Inouye
Otto Lee * Mona Mohib * Howard Moon * Shekar Narasimhan * Nossaman PAC *
Monisha Santamaria * Paul Tiao * Yeni Wong

Invites you to
Our 15th annual celebration

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Democratic National Committee
Wasserman Room
430 South Capitol Street, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
6:00 to 8:00 pm

Suggested Donations

Host: $2,000
Sponsor: $1,000
Friend: $500
Guest: $125 ($100 online by 6/22)
Non-Profit/Public Sector: $100 ($75 online by 6/22)
Student/Young Professional: $55 ($40 online by 6/22)

PAC Donations:
Platinum: $5,000 – GOLD: $4,000 – SILVER: $3,000

Donations will go to AAA-Fund to support its continuing efforts to unite and activate our community.

For Rsvp and Donations please go to our donation page or contact: Lida Peterson (; 703.622.1381)

Paid for by the Asian American Action Fund, 1666 K Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20006
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee

Social Media

We’ve spent much of our energies lately on social media. We are always posting to our Facebook & Twitter, platforms where we’ve more engagement than here. Judging by comments given, you also prefer our Facebook & Twitter.

Else, comment!

APAICS: Asian American Electorate to Double by 2040

Editor’s Note: The below is a re-posting of a new release by our friends at APAICS.


May 7, 2015
Washington, D.C. & Los Angeles, CA
Contact: Elena Ong

Asian American Electorate to Double by 2040

The half-century journey of the Immigration & Nationality Act of 1965 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 continues to transform and be a beacon of hope for America’s social and political fabric. As we commemorate these Acts, and celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, it is a time to reflect on the remarkable accomplishments and contributions made by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), and envision the challenges and opportunities of the next 25 years.

A new study released today by the UCLA Study for the Center for Inequality and the Asian

Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) shows that while the Asian American population will grow by 74% between 2015 and 2040, the Asian American electorate will more than double, and grow by 107%.

According to Paul Ong, Director of the UCLA Center on the Study of Inequality, “Our report finds that in 2015, there are 20.5 million Asian Americans, and a quarter of a century from now, 35.7 million. In 2040, nearly 1 in 10 Americans will be Asian American. During the same period, the number of Asian American registered voters will increase from 5.9 million to 12.2 million.”

According to Elena Ong, the report’s co-author, “The Asian American electorate will emerge from 4% today, to 7%, six presidential cycles from now. The Asian American vote is not a monolith. It’s important to look at the underlying demographic characteristics — Asian American registered voters by age, and by where they were born. Today, 62% of the Asian American electorate are naturalized citizens, but over the next quarter of century, there will be a multigenerational transformation. By 2040, 47% will be younger and U.S. born, and 53% will be older and foreign-born.”

This report, which is the first of a series of publications on the future of AAPIs, presents projections of the Asian American population to 2040, with a focus on the electorate. This project is designed to provide detailed projections that serve as a basis for developing a vision to guide the development of legislation, policies and programs that would address the concerns and priorities of this rapidly growing population. This report is the first in a series of publications that explore the key demographic dimensions that can shape the future of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. A copy of the full report will be available on May 7 at: and

Click here to download The Future of Asian America in 2040 infographic.

Click here to download a copy of the full report.

Click here to download a copy of detailed commentaries on the report.


The Immigration Act and Voting Rights Act created what Ong, De La Cruz-Viesca and Nakanishi call the “Next Sleeping Giant” in American politics, and the question remains, will the “Next Sleeping Giant” awaken and change the course, and discourse of America, when the Asian American electorate doubles by the year 2040?

“The study released today shows that Asian Americans will have a growing presence and stronger voice in our national debates for years to come. As the first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, I look forward to continuing to work with organizations like APAICS to grow the pipeline of Asian American leaders who will amplify the voice of our community and continue the fight to overcome the challenges we face.”

– U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (HI)

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are not only the fastest growing racial group in the United States, but are also one of the fastest growing voting populations in our nation. The Future of Asian America in 2040 report confirms this and provides key findings on the increasingly influential AAPI electorate, which is expected to double by 2040. As AAPIs become more engaged in the political process, it is important now more than ever that our government both represents and responds to the needs of our diverse communities.”

– U.S. Representative Judy Chu (CA-27), Chairwoman, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

“Not only are Asian Americans the fastest growing racial group in America, they are now one of the fastest growing electorates in America. Between 2015 and 2040, the number of Asian American registered voters will double, and shift, from an older, more foreign-born naturalized voter base, to a younger, U.S. born voter base. Understanding this dynamic and viable political force will prove to be advantageous for candidates and campaigns in the 2016 elections and beyond. Asian Americans are a very fluid voting base and every election is a new opportunity to court the Asian American vote. Cultivating Asian American voters and gaining their loyalty is pivotal to a political party’s future. Securing the Asian American vote in areas with large concentration, and in swing vote states, will be a political game changer. Political parties should also cultivate candidates who can appeal to, be responsive to, and turn out the Asian American vote.”

– S. Floyd Mori, CEO and President, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies

“These population projections are informative and should be used as a guide when we talk about allocating resources to support and maximize our community’s civic participation.” – Mee Moua, President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice l AAJC

“What I am most interested in is whether Asian Americans will play the role of wedge or glue, among various racial groups. In our liminal position as the so-called model minority, will we function as honorary Whites or people of color? . . . That’s the choice ahead.”

– Jerry Kang, Professor of Law, Professor of Asian American Studies, and the inaugural Vice Chancellor (designate) for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at UCLA

“These trends have notable implications for Asian American political empowerment. . . . [and] significant meaning for the very nature of American politics. . . . It has been only recently that researchers have included Asian Americans in the coalition paradigm. . . . The possibility of [inter-ethnic] coalition politics is highly dependent on the issues at play, the composition of the Asian American population in question, and, ultimately, the articulation of an Asian American political agenda.”

– Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., Dean, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

“We are at the crossroads of a demographic transition – the Asian American electorate will double just as we are turning the corner to a nation that is majority minority. We can choose a path of justice, or a strategy of ‘just us.’ . . . instead we can link across these divides, we can expand all our horizons.”

– Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California and currently directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at USC and co-directs the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration

“In areas where Asian Americans are concentrated or growing, Asians can shape the outcome of close elections, where a small margin of victory is needed, especially in non-presidential election periods, where voter turnout is typically lower amongst the general electorate.”

– Linda Trinh Vo, Associate Professor and former Chair of the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine and President of the Association for Asian American Studies

“Three scenarios could challenge or disrupt an optimistic view of the political future for Asian America during the 25 years leading up to 2040. . . . class [differences] . . . partisan skirmishes and controversies . . . and America’s color line.

– Don Nakanishi, Professor Emeritus and Director Emeritus of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center

“To make growth in population and registration count decisively however, community-based and advocacy organizations should devote resources to the places where the Asian American vote is not only growing, but also mostly likely to be influential (fastest growing population and small margins of victory for the candidates, in places like Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia).”

– Janelle Wong, Director of the Asian American Studies Program, University of Maryland College Park

“These projections are telling of how Asian Americans will play a decisive role in setting the stage of future politics. . . . Ethnicity, along with nativity and many other demographic characteristics (e.g. age, gender, mixed-race, class) will have major implications on whom will represent the Asian American Electorate in 2040.”

– Melany De La Cruz-Viesca, Assistant Director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center & Coordinator of the Center’s Census Information Center


The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) is a national non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office. APAICS programs focus on developing leadership, building public policy knowledge, and filling the political pipeline for Asian Pacific Americans to pursue public office at the local, state, and federal levels.