November 24, 2014

Press coverage of AAA Fund & endorsees

Thanks to Asian Fortune and Jennie Ilustre for the extensive shout out on the rise of Asian American candidates. Also, congrats to everyone who ran for their leadership and courage.  -Caroline

Gautam Dutta, executive director of Asian American Action Fund, a political action committee based in the nation’s capital, is optimistic about Honda’s chances in November. “Having beaten his opponent by a 2-1 margin last June, Congressman Honda is in a strong position to win in November,” he said. Triple-A Fund has endorsed Honda and the other Democratic candidates for Congress. It enjoys a good batting average in its endorsements. “In the 2012 elections,eight of our 13 candidates won, a success rate of nearly two-thirds,” Dutta pointed out.

Other Triple-A Fund-endorsed candidates are: US Rep. Ami Bera (CA), running for reelection;U.S. Representative Judy Chu (CA-27), running for reelection; US Rep. Tammy Duckworth (IL-8)), running for re-election; US Rep. Mark Takano ((CA-41), running for re-election; Mark Takai of Hawaii, candidate for Congress; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2); and Dr. Manan Trivedi, an Iraq War vet who’s running for an open congressional seat from Pennsylvania.

US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa lost in the tight primary for the US Senate to Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, who was appointed to fill the seat of the late US Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. Pundits say Schatz is a shoo-in in November.

At press time, Dutta said AAA-Fund has not decided on endorsement regarding Leland Cheung, who is running for election for Lieutenant Governor in Massachusetts. Other state races feature Stephanie Chang, candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives; and Pramila Jayapal, candidate for Washington State Senate.


In every election cycle, Asian American leaders note the importance of becoming candidates and also voter turn-out, citing the critical issues at stake. But due to recent news on immigration, for example, the stakes are higher, indeed.

Triple A-Fund Executive Director Dutta said this year is crucial, both for issues of concern to the community and to mainstream America. In telephone and email interviews from San Jose, California, he said, “Important issues that affect our families are at stake. The newly-elected Congress will be in a position to decide a number of critical issues, including immigration reform, education and economic opportunity.”

Midterm elections are notorious for low voter turn-out. “I urge everybody to turn up on Election Day,” said Dutta of Asian American Action Fund. He said voters can show up on Election Day, or mail their ballots through early voting.

 

After the 2014 Elections: Event Report

Editor’s Note: We report on our event “” (Facebook Events) which we publicized extensively on our Facebook, Twitter & here.

Asian American Action Fund, Post-Election 2014 event

While the main thought on everyone’s mind in D.C. after the November 2014 election was how Democrats will cope with such massive losses, exit polls gathered by different organizations raised a different issue: the AAPI vote was slowly heading towards the Republican party. The AAA-Fund’s Young Professionals Initiative focused on exploring the reality of this conclusion. With over 70 people in attendance and a great panel, which included consultants and policy experts, the evening’s discussion spoke to issues of AAPI electability, voter turnout, and the engagement of the community in the elections. Panelists include: Joon Kim (New Partners) (@joonkim0123), Carrie Pugh (NEA) (@Carriepugh), Alissa Ko (Ready for Hillary) (@aliko03), and Raghu Devaguptapu (Adelstein Liston) (@DevaRags).

Event organizers also reminded the audience of the AAA-Fund’s work, as well as its young professional organizing efforts.

Plans were announced to host a Young Professionals Initiative planning meeting in December to further the AAA-Fund’s YP efforts and start planning events for the new year.

A huge thanks to all AAA-Fund Board members who made the event possible, the panelists, and Local 16 for providing a great space!

AAA-Fund Announces Endorsements: Ige, Trivedi, Cho, Jayapal

Editor’s Note: Time is low until the election so use Twitter for David Ige as Governor of Hawai’i, Roy Cho in New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District, Dr. Manan Trivedi in Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District. Pramila Jayapal. Go vote Tuesday.

AAAF logo

For Immediate Release
Oct. 24, 2014
Contact: Gautam Dutta (415-236-2048)

Washington, DC: As the 2014 general election draws near, Asian American Action Fund is proud to endorse a number of rising stars: David Ige (Hawai’i Governor), Dr. Manan Trivedi (Congress), Roy Cho (Congress), Pramila Jayapal (Washington State Senator).

“We urge you to support these outstanding leaders however you can – by voting, donating, and volunteering,” said AAA-Fund Executive Director Gautam Dutta. “Your involvement can make all the difference in this year of close elections,” Dutta added.

David Ige seeks to become the next Governor of Hawai’i. An experienced lawmaker and an electrical engineer by training, David currently serves as a State Senator. Service to his country runs in the family. After the outbreak of World War II, his father Tokio Ige joined the famed 442nd Regiment, and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Last August, David scored an historic upset over the incumbent in the Democratic primary. David, who holds an undergraduate degree and an MBA from the University of Hawai’i, has focused his efforts on diversifying Hawai’i’s economy.

Roy Cho seeks to represent New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District. Roy is the son of Korean immigrants and a product of New Jersey public schools. His dedication to public service includes work in the New Jersey Governor’s office, for a U.S. Senator on Capitol Hill, and for an executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He is also a founding board member of the education nonprofit New Jersey Needs You, which focuses on helping first generation college students from low-income areas land internships, graduate from college, and gain employment afterwards.

Dr. Manan Trivedi seeks to become the first Asian American to be elected from Pennsylvania (6th Congressional District). He is the son of Indian immigrants and became a naval officer to serve as a Battalion Surgeon from 2001 to 2003. Manan was among the first United States ground forces to enter Iraq. For his service, he earned the Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy Commendation Medal, and his unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. While in the Navy he served as Health Policy Advisor to the Navy Surgeon General. He currently works as a health policy consultant and a part-time primary care physician.

Pramila Jayapal seeks to become the first South Asian to serve in the Washington State Senate. She is a first time candidate running to represent Washington’s 37th Legislative District. Pramila was born in India and immigrated to the United States, by herself, when she was 16 years old. In the wake of September 11, 2001, she founded One America, which fights hate crimes and civil liberties against minority communities including South Asian populations. Pramila was also an early board member of Chaya, a nonprofit organization to help South Asian survivors of violence. She also serves on the Mayor of Seattle’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee to help raise the minimum wage in the city.

The AAA-Fund is a national Democratic political organization whose goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in local, state and federal government, by encouraging AAPIs to volunteer on campaigns, raise money for candidates, and run for political office.

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GOTV in DC for Mike Honda 10/22-11/3

Editor’s Note: Rep. Mike Honda is a long-time AAA Fund endorsee and a AAA Fund Honorary Board Member.

Mike Honda for Congress

We and CAPAC Leadership PAC have both endorsed Mike Honda for Congress. Congressman Honda currently represents the 17th District of California in the U.S House of Representatives. He is the Chair Emeritus of CAPAC, and is a senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Congressman Honda has served in the House since 2001, and has given a voice to not only to the AAPI community, but for all the underrepresented minorities in our country. He needs your help to continue protecting and fighting for greater equality in minority health, education, and access. Rep. Honda also served as the DNC Vice Chair for 9 years, as the only AAPI there in leadership, urging resources and outreach to the AAPI community around the country.

The race in Silicon Valley has tightened and the most recent CBS poll shows Rep. Honda leading by only two points. The election will come down to turn-out and we need your help! The Mike Honda for Congress campaign has set up six phone banks in DC to reach key voters, and to help the Get Out To Vote campaign in the days leading up to the election.

Consider volunteering for one of the times listed below.

A few hours will really make a difference!

RSVP online or contact Kelly Honda at honda.kelly@gmail.com or 559-593-0723 for more information.

Wednesday, October 22 7:30- 9:30 pm
Tuesday, October 28: 7:30- 9:30 pm
Wednesday, October 29 7:30- 9:30 pm
Saturday, November 1: 4:00- 6:00 pm
Sunday, November 2: 4:00- 6:00 pm
Monday, November 3: 7:30 – 9:30 pm

Location:
Democratic National Committee
430 South Capitol St SE Floor 2
Washington, DC

After the 2014 Elections: Present and Future Impacts on our Community


With
*Carrie Pugh, Associate Director, National Education Association
*Joon I. Kim, Vice President, New Partners *Alissa Ko, Deputy Director, Ready for Hillary *Raghu Devaguptapu, Principal, Adelstein Liston

Wednesday, November 12th 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m
Local 16
1602 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

The Asian American Action Fund invites you to join us for an evening of drinks and conversation with speakers who will discuss the election, its impact on the AAPI community, and what it means looking forward to 2016.
Attendance is complimentary and happy hour drink specials are available all evening.

Please RSVP here and contact Puja at pbhatia5@gmail.com for questions and join its Facebook Event.

Mark Takai for Congress

Mark Takai for Hawaii in the US Congress

Editor’s Note: Rep. Mark Takai (HI House District 33 (Aiea)) is a current and former AAA-Fund endorsed candidate now running for election to represent HI-1 (Honolulu, Kaimuki, Aiea, Mililani, Pearl City, Waipahu, Waimalu). He is already the Democratic Nominee for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional district. We encourage HI-1 voters to look seriously at his past & candidacy at Facebook.

HI CD1 endorsee Mark Takai is only 4% down against former Rep. Djou with 12% undecided (Civil Beat). We the AAA-Fund are supporting his campaign through online donations to enable him to successfully represent HI-1.

Mark Takai for Congress

Statement by the President and Attorney General Eric Holder

Editor’s Note: The below is a re-posting of “Statement by the President and Attorney General Eric Holder“. Our mission means we pay especially close attention to civil rights issues including the DOJ’s work in the such.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 25, 2014
4:30 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody.  Please have a seat.  Bobby Kennedy once said, “On this generation of Americans falls the full burden of proving to the world that we really mean it when we say all men are created free and equal before the law.”

As one of the longest-serving Attorney Generals in American history, Eric Holder has borne that burden.  And over the summer, he came to me and he said he thought six years was a pretty good run — I imagine his family agrees.  Like me, Eric married up.  He and his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone, a nationally-renowned OBGYN, have been great friends to Michelle and me for years.  And I know Brooke and Maya and Buddy are excited to get their dad back for a while.

So this is bittersweet.  But with his typical dedication, Eric has agreed to stay on as Attorney General until I nominate his successor and that successor is confirmed by the Senate.  Which means he’ll have a chance to add to a proud career of public service — one that began nearly 40 years ago as a young prosecutor in the Department that he now runs. 

He was there for 12 years, taking on political corruption until President Reagan named him to the bench as a judge.  Later, President Clinton called him back.  So all told, Eric has served at the Justice Department under six Presidents of both parties — including a several-day stint as acting Attorney General at the start of George W. Bush’s first term.  And through it all, he’s shown a deep and abiding fidelity to one of our most cherished ideals as a people, and that is equal justice under the law. 

As younger men, Eric and I both studied law.  And I chose him to serve as Attorney General because he believes, as I do, that justice is not just an abstract theory.  It’s a living and breathing principle.  It’s about how our laws interact with our daily lives.  It’s about whether we can make an honest living, whether we can provide for our families; whether we feel safe in our own communities and welcomed in our own country; whether the words that the Founders set to paper 238 years ago apply to every single one of us and not just some.

That’s why I made him America’s lawyer, the people’s lawyer.  That comes with a big portfolio — from counterterrorism to civil rights, public corruption to white-collar crime.  And alongside the incredible men and women of the Justice Department -– men and women that I promise you he is proud of and will deeply miss -– Eric has done a superb job.

He’s worked side by side with our intelligence community and the Department of Homeland Security to keep us safe from terrorist attacks and to counter violent extremism.  On his watch, federal courts have successfully prosecuted hundreds of terror cases, proving that the world’s finest justice system is fully capable of delivering justice for the world’s most-wanted terrorists.

He’s rooted out corruption and fought violent crime.  Under his watch, a few years ago, the FBI successfully carried out the largest mafia takedown in American history.  He’s worked closely with state and local law enforcement officers to make sure that they’ve got the resources to get the job done.  And he’s managed funds under the Recovery Act to make sure that when budgets took a hit, thousands of cops were able to stay on the beat nationwide.

He’s helped safeguard our markets from manipulation, and consumers from financial fraud.  Since 2009, the Justice Department has brought more than 60 cases against financial institutions, and won some of the largest settlements in history for practices related to the financial crisis, recovering $85 billion –- much of it returned to ordinary Americans who were badly hurt.

He’s worked passionately to make sure our criminal justice system remains the best in the world.  He knows that too many outdated policies, no matter how well-intentioned, perpetuate a destructive cycle in too many communities.  So Eric addressed unfair sentencing disparities, reworked mandatory minimums, and promoted alternatives to incarceration.  And thanks to his efforts, since I took office, the overall crime rate and the overall incarceration rate have gone down by about 10 percent.  That’s the first time that they’ve declined together, at the same tim, in more than 40 years. 

Eric’s proudest achievement, though, might be reinvigorating and restoring the core mission to what he calls “the conscience of the building” — and that’s the Civil Rights Division.  He has been relentless against attacks on the Voting Rights Act –- because no citizen, including our servicemembers, should have to jump through hoops to exercise their most fundamental right.  He’s challenged discriminatory state immigration laws that not only risked harassment of citizens and legal immigrants, but actually made it harder for law enforcement to do its job. 

Under his watch, the Department has brought a record number of prosecutions for human trafficking, and for hate crimes — because no one in America should be afraid to walk down the street because of the color of their skin, the love in their heart, the faith they practice, or the disabilities that they live with. 

He’s dramatically advanced the cause of justice for Native Americans, working closely with their communities.  And several years ago, he recommended that our government stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act — a decision that was vindicated by the Supreme Court, and opened the door to federal recognition of same-sex marriage, and federal benefits for same-sex couples.  It’s a pretty good track record.   

Eric’s father was an immigrant who served in the Army in World War II only to be refused service at lunch counters in the nation he defended.  But he and his wife raised their son to believe that this country’s promise was real, and that son grew up to become Attorney General of the United States.  And that’s something.  And that’s why Eric has worked so hard — not just in my administration, but for decades — to open up the promise of this country to more striving, dreaming kids like him.  To make sure those words — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — are made real for all of us.

Soon, Eric, Sharon, and their kids will be a bit freer to pursue a little more happiness of their own.  And thanks to Eric’s efforts, so will more Americans — regardless of race or religion, gender or creed, sexual orientation or disability, who will receive fair and equal treatment under the law.

So I just want to say thank you, Eric.  Thank you to the men and women of the Justice Department who work day in and out for the American people.  And we could not be more grateful for everything that you’ve done not just for me and the administration, but for our country.  (Applause.)  

ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER:  I come to this moment with very mixed emotions:  proud of what the men and women of the Department of Justice have accomplished over the last six years, and at the same time, very sad that I will not be a formal part — a formal part — of the great things that this Department and this President will accomplish over the next two.

I want to thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity that you gave me to serve and for giving me the greatest honor of my professional life.  We have been great colleagues, but the bonds between us are much deeper than that.  In good times and in bad, in things personal and in things professional, you have been there for me.  I’m proud to call you my friend.

I’m also grateful for the support you have given me and the Department as we have made real the visions that you and I have always shared.  I often think of those early talks between us, about our belief that we might help to craft a more perfect union.  Work remains to be done, but our list of accomplishments is real.

Over the last six years, our administration — your administration — has made historic gains in realizing the principles of the founding documents and fought to protect the most sacred of American rights, the right to vote.

We have begun to realize the promise of equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters and their families.  We have begun to significantly reform our criminal justice system and reconnect those who bravely serve in law enforcement with the communities that they protect.

We have kept faith with our belief in the power of the greatest judicial system the world has ever known to fairly and effectively adjudicate any cases that are brought before it, including those that involve the security of the nation that we both love so dearly.

We have taken steps to protect the environment and make more fair the rules by which our commercial enterprises operate.  And we have held accountable those who would harm the American people — either through violent means or the misuse of economic or political power. 

I have loved the Department of Justice ever since as a young boy I watched Robert Kennedy prove during the Civil Rights Movement how the Department can and must always be a force for that which is right.  I hope that I have done honor to the faith that you have placed in me, Mr. President, and to the legacy of all those who have served before me.

I would also like to thank the Vice President, who I have known for so many years, and in whom I have found great wisdom, unwavering support, and a shared vision of what America can and should be.

I want to recognize my good friend Valerie Jarrett, whom I’ve been fortunate to work with from the beginning of what started as an improbable, idealistic effort by a young senator from Illinois, who we were both right to believe would achieve greatness.

I’ve had the opportunity to serve in your distinguished Cabinet and worked with a White House Chief of Staff — a White House staff ably led by Denis McDonough that has done much to make real the promise of our democracy.  And each of the men and women who I have come to know will be lifelong friends.

Whatever my accomplishments, they could not have been achieved without the love, support and guidance of two people who are not here with me today.  My parents, Eric and Miriam Holder, nurtured me and my accomplished brother, William, and made us believe in the value of individual effort and the greatness of this nation.

My time in public service, which now comes to an end, would not have been possible without the sacrifices too often unfair made by the best three kids a father could ask for.  Thank you, Maya.  Thank you, Brooke.  And thank you, Buddy.

And finally, I want to thank the woman who sacrificed the most and allowed me to follow my dreams.  She is the foundation of all that our family is, and the basis of all that I have become.  My wife, Sharon, is the unsung hero.  And she is my life partner.  Thank you for all that you have done.  I love you.

In the months ahead, I will leave the Department of Justice, but I will never — I will never — leave the work.  I will continue to serve and try to find ways to make our nation even more true to its founding ideals. 

I want to thank the dedicated public servants who form the backbone of the United States Department of Justice for their tireless work over the past six years, for the efforts they will continue, and for the progress that they made and that will outlast us all.

And I want to thank you all for joining me on a journey that now moves in another direction, but that will always be guided by the pursuit of justice and aimed at the North Star.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
4:41 P.M. EDT

AAAF Seeks Campaign Fellows for Reps. Honda, Bera

APPLY NOW FOR MIKE HONDA CAMPAIGN FELLOWSHIPS! DEADLINE SEPT 22

Looking to work on a campaign and want to get paid for it? The Asian American Action Fund seeks two Mike Honda Campaign Fellows to work on targeted campaigns for AAA-Fund endorsed candidates. Fellows should be willing to relocate. Stipend of $2,000 per month plus supporter housing. Send resume and a cover letter to asianamericanactionfund@gmail.com. Please specify which position you ‘d like to be considered for.

Field Organizers

AAA-Fund is looking for a fellows to help implement voter contact plans for targeted races in several states, build relationships with activists and community groups on the ground, and work to turn out the vote for the campaign.

Qualifications.
– Candidates must be willing to work long and/or odd hours through the campaign.
– Candidates must be able to speak and work with diverse communities and leaders.
– Candidates must have strong interpersonal skills and be a team player.
– Candidates with past experience on an electoral or issue advocacy a plus.
– Bilingual candidates preferred, but not required. (Mandarin, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Cantonese, and/or Spanish)
– Candidates must have reliable transportation and their own laptops.

Responsibilities
– Implementing an aggressive voter contact program
– Recruiting, managing, and training volunteers
– Planning events and house parties throughout the district
– Building relationships with political stakeholders, activists, and neighborhood leaders
– Collecting and managing data from the field efforts
– Report to the field director

Legal Protection Fellow

AAA-Fund is looking for a qualified fellow to manage the voter protection efforts for a highly targeted Democratic Congressional campaign in California. Most important qualities:

1) Being able to recruit/train/deploy/lead a team of election protection volunteers
2) Manage relationships outside of the campaign, particularly at the County Registrars office
3) An entrepreneurial and strategic thinker who can anticipate where voter challenges are likely to crop up.

Fellows will be working full-time on a Congressional campaign; therefore, he or she should also be comfortable long hours, be a skilled multi-tasker, team player, dedicated to the cause, and be flexible and willing to help the campaign wherever help is needed!

A J.D. is strongly preferred, but not required. The candidate should be prepared to work with lawyers/law students as well as County election officials.

–Caroline

Design Our Logo

AAAF logo

As we approach our 15th anniversary and begin to expand our visibility in the community through social media, the AAA-Fund is excited to roll out a new logo.

Not only can your logo be used by us for many years ahead but we’ll give you attribution and credits during each use, providing you with lots of visibility.

Details:

  • prize is $50 Target gift card mailed to the 1st place winner
  • submit to: comment below with your contact in the comment name and email fields & we’ll contact you with the submission procedure
  • deadline: when we like what we see
  • format: any scalar image format at least 450px wide or tall, whichever is lesser
  • if selected winner, must send us the vector-based file (any format but svg & indesign are best) to claim prize
  • should reflect our values (progressive) & mission (increase AAPI involvement in US politics)
  • should fit all usual logo guidelines – designers know the rules else see here
  • bonus: 3 versions: masthead, glyph, vertical – see Dropbox’s 3; $50 bonus for a thorough such
  • bonus: give guidelines – similar to Microsoft’s or Tumblr’s; $50 bonus for a thorough such

Asian American Action Fund endorses Mark Takai (HI-1) for US Congress

Mark Takai for US Congress, Hawaii 1st Congressional District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 28, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Gautam Dutta (415) 236-2048

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, the Asian American Action (AAA) Fund announced their endorsement of Mark Takai to represent Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Takai has served for almost 20 years in the Hawaii State Legislature where he is currently the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans, Military, and International Affairs, and Culture and the Arts. In the past, he has been the House Vice Speaker and Chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education.

His legislative accomplishments include introducing legislation to establish Hawaii’s Dream Act and being the main architect behind legislation that recognizes the efforts of several Americans of Japanese ancestry, such as Fred Korematsu, who challenged the validity and constitutionality of wartime actions. During his time in the state legislature, he has also served as a member of the Hawaii National Guard for 15 years.

“Given the way he commits himself to the progressive causes he champions and his dedication to working hard for the people he represents, Mark will be a true asset to the Hawaii Congressional Delegation and the Asian Pacific American community‎,” said Deputy Executive Director Melissa Unemori Hampe.

“It is an honor to have the support of the Asian American Action Fund,” Takai said. “Team Takai and I will be working very hard through November’s General Election and, if elected, I’m looking forward to working with the Asian Pacific American community.”

AAAF logo