April 16, 2014

Colleen Hanabusa (2/2)

Colleen Hanabusa

Naturally, President Obama endorsed his own Hawaii state campaign head Brian Schatz for US Senate over the proven lead Colleen Hanabusa. I wrote 2 months ago about how Hanabusa provides not just any leadership or the party’s most well connected leadership but the most principled, focused & ideal leadership. Ignoring sustained junk politics like her age (which is a plus, but mean politics never sees that), we can all see the President will back his campaign staff while other Democrats back Hanabusa as it’s an all-Democratic field which leads to disillusionment over the political process that leads to political fragmentation & polarization that makes Congress what it is today.

Also, Obama’s been so unwilling to help any US Senate candidate except 1 other (then again, it’s desired). Unfortunate but understandable.

Today’s Honolulu Star Advertiser poll asks, “Should President Obama have endorsed his candidate in Hawaii’s Democratic race for U.S. Senate?” where you can vote your say. You know my say.

Update: Poll results agree, Obama should’ve stayed out of it.

Christopher P. Lu Confirmed Deputy Secretary of Labor

Editor’s Note: The below is a reposting of “Statement by US Secretary of Labor Perez on the confirmation of Christopher P. Lu as deputy secretary of labor“. President Obama earlier this year nominated Chris Lu, who was formerly Obama’s Legislative Director, and has now become his Chief of Staff, to Deputy Secretary, Department of Labor. We followup that announcement with the below news. Both AAGEN & CAPACD emailed similar congratulatory statements (but no website postings).

Department of Labor seal logo

U.S. Department of Labor
For Immediate Release
April 1, 2014
Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Jesse Lawder
Washington, D.C.
Phone: 202-693-4659
Release Number: 14-556-NAT
Email: lawder.jesse@dol.gov

Statement by US Secretary of Labor Perez on the confirmation of Christopher P. Lu as deputy secretary of labor

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued the following statement commending the Senate’s confirmation of Christopher P. Lu as deputy secretary of labor:

“I commend the Senate on its confirmation of Chris Lu to be the new deputy secretary of labor. Chris is an enormously capable manager and a devoted public servant, whose commitment to President Obama’s opportunity agenda is second to none. He will continue to be a tenacious advocate for American workers, and I look forward to working with him on all of our priorities – from job training to wage protection to worker safety to benefits security. Welcome aboard, Deputy Secretary Lu.”


Sen. Hirono: To Chair Judiciary Subcommittee

Editor’s Note: The below is a re-posting of ” from our friends at Mazie Hirono‘s office.

Mazie Hirono, a voice for Hawaii in the US Senate

March 27, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Thursday announced that Senator Mazie K. Hirono will become chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action.

The subcommittee was created at the beginning of the 113th Congress to provide oversight and review of agency rulemaking and agency action. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who currently chairs the subcommittee, is stepping down to take over a gavel on another committee. Hirono, who joined the Judiciary Committee at the beginning of the 113th Congress and has been a leader on a range of issues including immigration and sentencing reform, will assume the gavel April 1.

“I look forward to chairing the Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Actions and thank Chairman Leahy for this opportunity to help make sure that the voices of everyday citizens are heard,” Hirono said. “I plan to work so that the unique needs of Hawaii are represented as we review agency actions and Executive Branch initiatives. I will also look for ways to improve oversight of government waste and abuse and strengthen consumer protections for all Americans.”

“The Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action plays an important role in the Judiciary Committee’s larger mission to provide rigorous oversight and ensure a timely and fair approach to administrative rulemaking that impacts millions of Americans,” Leahy said. “I am confident Senator Hirono will provide meaningful leadership on these important issues. I congratulate her on her new role, and I thank Senator Blumenthal for his continued service to this committee.”

“Senator Hirono has a record of ensuring that federal agencies follow and enforce the law, and I know this subcommittee will continue to flourish under her leadership,” said Blumenthal, who presided over his final subcommittee hearing as chairman this week. “It was an honor to serve as the first chairman of the subcommittee. I appreciate Chairman Leahy’s confidence and the opportunity he gave me to lead this subcommittee.”

A complete description of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action’s jurisdiction can be read online. Additional information about all the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittees is also available online.

Leland Yee Disappoints

Editor’s Note: Richard’s opinions are his alone, no one else’s.

Leland Yee arrested

Leland Yee‘s arrest is a severe disappointment to Toisanese, Chinese-Americans, his electorates, the state of California & the AAPI community all. FBI busted, raided & arrested him with 26 members of Ghee Kung Tong, a Chinatown gang for a huge array of charges, all serious & when summed, astounding.

The AAA-Fund has never had a relationship with him in any way & reminds us all how important vetting our endorsed candidates carefully & thoroughly is not just for us as an organization but for our own morality & consciousness. Voting for a candidate is a lot more than who had the most negative ads, who spent the most, whose polls got the most media buzz, who had the most lobbyists donate money to gartner favor, and other demoralizing inane parts of the politics industry. It’s about representing the public for the public good. I tell my friends to do work for the love of the purpose & politicians should likewise take heed.


Editor’s Note: The below is a re-posting of “BIPARTISAN PHILIPPINES CHARITABLE GIVING ASSISTANCE ACT ON THE WAY TO PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR SIGNATURE from our friends at Mazie Hirono‘s office.

Mazie Hirono, a voice for Hawaii in the US Senate

March 24, 2014

David Miyashiro (Hirono), (202) 224-9813
Chandler Smith (Heller), (202) 224-6244
Kristen Orthman (Reid), (202) 224-2939
Juan Pachon (Menendez), (202) 224-4130
Allison Bormel (Swalwell), (202) 225-5065
Austin Vevurka (Thompson), (202) 225-3311

This evening, the House of Representatives passed legislation sponsored by Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Dean Heller (R-NV), Harry Reid (D-NV), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) that provides expedited tax relief for Americans making charitable donations in support of Typhoon Haiyan recovery efforts in the Philippines. The bill was sponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives by Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA). The bipartisan Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act is intended to spur donations to charitable organizations by allowing taxpayers who donate to the relief efforts now to receive tax benefits on their 2013 tax returns.

“I am pleased that this bill is on its way for the President’s signature. Given the great deal of help still needed, the Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act will help spur another round of new contributions when charitable giving has tapered off and help American families get more back from their tax returns this year,” said Senator Hirono.

“Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, leaving many in need of a home and a steady supply of food, clean water and medical supplies. This bill will allow for relief work to continue in the aftermath of this terrible storm,” said Senator Dean Heller, the bill’s Republican sponsor. “I am grateful for the hard work that Senator Hirono has put into this legislation, and for the advocacy of Representatives Joe Heck, Eric Swalwell, Mike Thompson and others in the House of Representatives.”

“I am so pleased this important bill is on the way to the President’s desk for his signature,” said Senator Reid. “We must do everything we can to help the Philippines after the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan. The stories I have heard from the thousands of Filipino-American families in Nevada are heartbreaking and this soon-to-be law will help spur donations and giving to continue in the relief efforts.”

“I am very glad that we are taking this significant step forward to help incentivize and facilitate charitable donations as the Philippines continues its long path to recovery from Typhoon Haiyan,” said Senator Menendez. “I sincerely hope this commonsense, bipartisan legislation helps spur a new wave of contributions from taxpayers looking to make a difference in the relief efforts.”

“Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, affecting 16 million people. Recovery has only just begun and resources are badly needed for humanitarian assistance and rebuilding efforts,” said Rep. Swalwell. “I am privileged to represent a vibrant and dynamic Filipino population in the East Bay, many of whom have expressed their concerns about friends and family displaced by the storm. I take pride that the first bill I passed in the House of Representatives will speed recovery in an area that desperately needs support.”

“I am proud that this bill has passed the House. Now we need to get it onto the President’s desk so that people are encouraged to donate to the relief efforts,” said Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5). “A lot of people in our communities have family and friends who were impacted by the typhoon. Passing this bill will help make sure aid keeps coming during these early stages of a long-term rebuilding effort.”

The Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act is supported by groups such as the Consuelo Foundation and Filipino Community Center.

“It has been truly heartbreaking to witness the death and destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Many families are still struggling to rebuild their lives, facing displacement and hunger. Everybody can make a difference, even if it’s donating just a little bit. Mahalo to Senator Hirono and her colleagues for encouraging Americans to contribute,” said Edmund Aczon, Chairman of the Filipino Community Center Board of Directors

While there was an immediate outpouring of donations and other assistance following the immense destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan this November, the length of the rebuilding process means contributions are still needed now and in the months ahead. The tax code provides a delayed incentive for making charitable contributions. Taxpayers can claim a tax deduction for contributions they make to charities, but they receive the tax incentive many months later after they file their tax returns the following year. The Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act eliminates this delay. The bill would allow taxpayers who donate to the relief efforts in the Philippines after the President’s signature and before April 15, 2014 to take the charitable deduction when they file their 2013 tax returns. Taxpayers who donate in this timeframe but have already filed their taxes can amend their tax returns to receive these benefits this year.

Hirono, Heller, Menendez and Reid have also worked to support Typhoon Haiyan recovery efforts by calling on the Obama Administration to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Filipino nationals currently residing in the United States. Designed as an emergency measure for nations facing extreme hardships, TPS would allow Filipino nationals without permanent resident status to continue to stay in the US and provide working authorization temporarily until TPS status ends. Hirono also recently penned an op-ed in The Hill to drum up support for TPS and the Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act.

June 18: AAA-Fund Annual Reception

Editor’s Note: Facebook Like & Tweet with us as the event nears. Also see our 2013, 2012, 2011 & 2010 (alternate) and 2009 reception posts.

AAAF logo

Bel Leong-Hong * Irene Bueno * Melissa Hampe * Gautam Dutta * Tom Goldstein
“Host Committee in Formation”

PAC Donor

Invites you to
Our 14th annual celebration honoring
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
“When We Vote, We Win”
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Democratic National Committee
Wasserman Room
430 S Capitol St SE, Washington, D.C. 20003
(Metro to Capitol South; see Google Maps)

Suggested Donations

Host: $2,000
Sponsor: $1,000
Friend: $500
Guest: $125 ($100 online by 4/30)
Non-Profit/Public Sector: $100 ($75 online by 4/30)
Student/Young Professional: $55 ($40 online by 4/30)

PAC Donations:
Diamond: $5,000 – GOLD: $3,500 – SILVER: $2,500

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

To RSVP, buy online or contact Lida Peterson (lida@cimpa.org; 703.622.1381)

Paid for by the Asian American Action Fund, 3036 O St NW #Basement, Washington, DC 20007-3114.
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee


AAA-Fund Endorses Swati Dandekar to Make History in Iowa

Editor’s Note: Stay atop Election 2014 here at our blog, at our Facebook & at our Twitter.

AAAF logo

For Immediate Release March 14, 2014

Contact: Gautam Dutta

AAA-Fund Endorses Swati Dandekar to Make History in Iowa

Dandekar would be First Iowa Woman to Win Federal Office and First South Asian Woman Ever in Congress

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, the Asian American Action (AAA) Fund announced their endorsement of Democrat Swati Dandekar for U.S. House of Representatives in Iowa’s First Congressional District. Dandekar is running in an open race to fill the seat of congressman and current Senate candidate Bruce Braley.

“It’s high time Iowa finally elected a woman to Congress. We are honored to support such a dedicated public servant,” said Gautam Dutta, Executive Director of the AAA-Fund. “Swati Dandekar has a proven record of success advocating for Iowans. Her experience fighting for greater educational access and science research to spur economic competitiveness make her an ideal candidate for Iowa. Her unique life story as a first-generation immigrant from the heartland would break new barriers if she were to become the first South Asian female elected to Congress.”

Dandekar holds a bachelor’s in biology and chemistry from Nagpur University and a graduate degree in dietetics from Bombay University in India. She lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband and two sons.


The AAA-Fund is a Democratic political action committee whose goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on every level of local, state and federal government in America. To achieve this goal, we address the chronic under-representation of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) as campaign volunteers, campaign contributors, and candidates for political office. The AAA-Fund has endorsed candidates across the country.

2014 Elections

Editor’s Note: Richard’s writing below means he’s tracking it but not that the AAA-Fund gives an endorsement.

Election 2014 is well underway! Ones I’m looking at include:

Elected already

  • Suchada “Sue” Langley – elected Chair of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, the largest committee in Virginia. Dr. Langley is a retired USDA economist and Thai American.
  • Clarence Tong – elected Chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee. Clarence works in the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (CI) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). He is Chinese-American & was the Communications Director and Policy Director for Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA), who lost to and is running again in 2016 against Senator Toomey.

I’ll update this post regularly (3 edits already) for my own purposes, but all comments welcome below.

Good to do for any/all would be to tag politicians’ Wikipedia pages for Category:Members of the United States Congress of Asian descent or to edit this Wikipedia article.

Dr. Danielle Martin schools Sen. Richard Burr

My homeland of Taiwan has a single payer healthcare system which is famed for its affordability and Western levels of care and service. Canada also, though conservatives want to market their for-profit healthcare systems as superior to all the rest of the world. You’ve already heard the stats about how behind the US is for overall health and GOP hardheads spew the stereotypes which are ridiculous to everyone else, but here’s something to make you smile.

Dr. Danielle Martin schools Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) on national healthcare. Dozens of articles repeat the delicious exchange. For audio, see “Canadian doctor schools U.S. Senator on public health care“.

I could go on & on abut how conservatives are paid off by healthcare and pharmaceutical lobbyists but worse than legalized corruption is how Americans are too lazy to lobby their representatives (thus lobbyists work) & won’t want to change the system until they’ve a $10,000 doctor’s bill. And even then, they’re too lazy to do much other than fight a menial fight with the insurer. Don’t be that person.

Phung Jefferson for Judge

Editor’s Note: As our mission here is to support AAPIs in any & every way, we feature Phung Jefferson, a private attorney running for Clark County District Court Judge for Department 2. Filing for candidacy begins an often long road of many steps for all in US politics and we want you to publicize & support all AAPIs in this work. Note her June 10 primary election and Nov 4 general election dates so read, volunteer & publicize! Below is her biography which we share with you.

Phung Jefferson

My name is Phung Jefferson and I am running for Nevada Clark County District Court Judge in a nonpartisan race. I have a strong commitment to upholding the principles of equality and justice. There is no greater honor than being allowed the opportunity to serve our local community.

I was born in Nha Trang, S. Vietnam in 1970. My Vietnamese mother, American father and brothers arrived in the United States in 1976. I became a U.S. citizen at the age of 9 in 1979. I earned my Bachelor of Science from UNLV and Juris Doctor at Western State College of Law, in Fullerton, California. I opened my own private law practice in 2003 and argued an appeal for the Nevada Supreme Court shortly thereafter. This appeal resulted in a Court opinion which became controlling legal authority in Nevada [Hudson v. Jones, 138 P.3d 429 (Nev. 2006)].

Throughout my career, I have represented clients in jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations, and hearings. I have served as legal council in many different areas, including criminal proceedings, family law matters, civil defense cases, and personal injury claims. I work hard to ensure that all clients I represent are provided with a deep understanding of the intricacies of their case, feel their interests have been presented accurately, and are able to fully communicate their needs.

In my spare time, I try to do my part to help to enrich our local community by providing free seminars regarding important topics such as domestic violence and how to plan for a career in law.

My heritage and my life experience have given me a unique perspective and a great deal of understanding. I am grateful to my family for providing me with a strong work ethic and a firm dedication to upholding that which is right. Please feel free to visit my webpage at www.phungjefferson.com.

Editor’s Note: We’ve also featured another AAPI in running for Clark County Judge, Judge Cheryl Moss.