Ed. Note: AAA-Fund congratulates Republican Stephen Austria on becoming the first Asian American (and Filipino American) member of Congress to be elected from Ohio. (Rep. Bobby Scott, the first member of Congress to share Filipino ancestry, sits on AAA-Fund’s Honorary Board.)
CHICAGO, Illinois – Ohio state senior Sen. Stephen C. Austria was elected to the US Congress in last Tuesday’s election, becoming only two of the Filipino-Americans to win in the elections across the United States.
The only other member of the US Congress to claim Filipino parentage is African-American congressman Robert “Bobby” C. Scott (Democrat, Virginia), whose mother is a daughter of Filipino Valentin Cortez Hamlin.
Austria, a Republican, collected 168,666 votes or 58.70 percent against Democrat’s Sharen Neuhardt’s 118,680 votes or 41.30 percent for the open seat of the 7th District of Ohio.
His campaign manager, Brad Mascho, referred this reporter to a press statement issued by new congressman as saying, “I am honored to be chosen by the voters of the 7th District and from Fairfield County in particular. I’m ready to go to Washington, roll up my sleeves and get to work.”
Austria, 50, said, “The No. 1 issue we’ve got to get to work on is the economy. We’ve got to create new jobs and bring new businesses into the area. We’ve got to keep government spending under control, and I’m going to have a challenge in D.C. to do that.”
Ed Navarra, the region 3 chairman of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA), broke the news of Austria’s election to a NaFFAA mass e-mails that asked Filipino-Americans to extend to him his congratulations and best wishes. Austria was invited by a NaFFAA official Ernie Gange to become a guest at the recent NaFFAA national empowerment convention Seattle, Washington but “decided to stay with his campaign the last minute.”
Austria is the son of the late Dr. Clement G. Austria, a native of Tiaong, Quezon in the Philippines, and Jean Brockman, a nurse, of Cincinatti, Ohio.
In a previous e-mail to this reporter, the senator-turned-congressman’s wife, Eileen, said when he was still very young, Steve went to the Philippines three times in 1960 and 1961 and also spent six weeks in the Philippines shortly after graduating from high school. “Steve’s folks wanted him to stay for good in the Philippines but his mother prevailed upon him to come back to the United States.”
Eileen said Dr. Austria “graduated from University of Santo Tomas Medical School and fought with guerillas under US Army General Douglas McArthur … they would stop school to help Americans – then return to school.”
Eileen said Dr. Austria came to Cincinatti to attend a medical school. “Jean was a nurse and he was a doctor and that is how they met.”
Steve is the eldest of nine children, who all graduated from Catholic universities and colleges. Steve holds a degree in political science from Marquette University. After working as as financial planner with the American Express for 16 years, Steve ran and won as state representative in Ohio in 1998, moving up to the Ohio Senate in 2000 and was re-elected in 2004.
Only one other Filipino-American woman candidate out of seven who ran in the presidential elections on Nov. 4 prevailed while two other Filipino-American men who also ran for election also lost.
The remainder of the piece can be found here.