April 21, 2014

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


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.

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
202-236-2048

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.

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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.

Feb 20: National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout

Editor’s Note: Below is a reposting of “National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout: February 20“. We’ve also Re-tweeted a lot about this event! Re-tweet with us.

Please join the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), as well as government, civic and business leaders from across the country on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 3 PM ET for our National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout!

Building on key topics highlighted in President Obama’s State of the Union address, we’ll discuss national priorities for AAPI communities and launch a drive to engage the AAPI community. We’ll also announce new efforts we’re working on with our partners around critical issues facing the AAPI community.

White House and Administration officials will talk about what we’ve learned and done nationally, and our next steps. Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, will announce this year’s AAPI Heritage Month theme. And, most importantly, we’ll have an opportunity to hear from people like you.

You can submit questions anytime on Twitter using #WHIAAPI, email them to WhiteHouseAAPI@ed.gov, or submit them on Google+ before or during the Hangout, but the inaugural National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout depends on your thoughtful participation, so please sign-up and join the conversation.

NATIONAL AAPI COMMUNITY GOOGLE+ HANGOUT

Hosted by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

DATE:      Thursday, February 20, 2014
TIME:      3 p.m. ET (12 noon PT)
LINK:      http://bit.ly/AAPIGoogleHangout

Kiran Ahuja is Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.


Editor’s Note: Below is more about this special & important event from our friends at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.” Note that Education Secretary Arne Duncan and WH AAPI Initiative director Kiran Ahuja will deliver remarks and talk with students at the East Coast Asian American Student Union’s (ECAASU) 2014 Conference in Washington on Friday discussing several of the points below while encouraging students to pursue mission-oriented work.

White House Initiative
on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY, FEB. 20, 2014
CONTACT: Rebecca Lee at 202-245-6353 or rebecca.lee@ed.gov

WHITE HOUSE INITIATIVE ON ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS TO EXPAND ON PROGRESS MADE

Federal Officials Announce New Efforts to Expand Opportunities for AAPIs on Community Google+ Hangout

WASHINGTON – Building on themes outlined in President Obama‘s State of the Union address to Congress last month, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Executive Director Kiran Ahuja today announced new plans to expand opportunities at the national level and increase community engagement at the local level.

Joined by federal officials and community members across the country on a Google+ Hangout held today, Ahuja outlined key elements of a regional strategy designed to build upon the Initiative’s success over the past four years improving access to services and protections for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country.

Officials on the Hangout also highlighted activities the Initiative is taking, including a comprehensive report on what federal agencies have accomplished to increase access for AAPIs, the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), a call for proposals to leverage the skills and talents of people across the country with the Initiative, and the official theme of this year’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May.

Ahuja said the Initiative is providing the building blocks toward accessible education, affordable health care, and secure retirements for all. And that they are building on what they’ve learned and done nationally and offering new ideas to meet the demands of the nation’s fastest growing demographic.

“A better America is possible, one with policies that strengthen us and a government that serves all of us, including the AAPI community” said Ahuja. “We’re reinforcing relationships, forging coalitions, bolstering institutions and the capacity of community based organizations in order to ensure the federal government better serves us all.”

Regional Working Groups

On the Hangout, Ahuja said regional interagency working groups of officials representing more than 20 federal agencies and sub-agencies have been formed and trained to work with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

Regional working groups in New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles have already hit the ground running. In the last few months, they heard directly from community members about their challenges and have started to demystify the work of the federal government and its programs and services and create new partnerships with community leaders.

Federal Agency Feedback

On the Hangout, officials released a comprehensive plan and report of what each federal agency will do and has done to improve and expand access of AAPIs to resources this year. The policies represent the federal government’s commitment to increasing access to services for the AAPI community, with an emphasis on four priority areas: data disaggregation, language access, workforce diversity and capacity building.

To solicit feedback on the plans, the Initiative launched an interactive module where the public can “like” specific aspects of each plan and make comments about particular activities.. The feedback module will be open until March 31, 2014 and can be found on aapi.ideascale.com.

Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions

To meet President Obama’s goal of having America produce the highest proportion of college graduates in the world once again by the year 2020, actor Maulik Pancholy said on the Hangout that there should be a focus on underserved students in the nation’s fastest growing demographic, many of whom also have the lowest rates of college attainment.

Pancholy announced the Initiative’s #AANAPISIstory campaign on the Hangout, which seeks to raise awareness about Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), the educational institutions that provide culturally relevant services and have high AAPI populations, to help meet President’s Obama’s 2020 goal.

Using #AANAPISIstory on social media platforms, the Initiative will collect stories in the form of photos, videos and writing about what AANAPISIs mean to members of the AAPI community. To share a story and learn more about AANAPISIs, please visit bit.ly/AANAPISI.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

During the Hangout, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center director Konrad Ng announced its theme for this year’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May: “I Am Beyond.”

“This year’s theme captures how AAPIs have met challenges and excelled beyond them in shaping the nation,” said Ng. ” ‘I am Beyond’ recognizes the depth, breadth and richness of America’s Asian Pacific heritage.”

Ng said the Center is inviting organizations, individuals and communities across the country to join the commemoration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and share their interpretation of the theme over social media using #IAMBEYOND. Visit www.apa.si.edu soon for more information. Expressions can include, but are not limited to, visual art, literary work, or multimedia. The theme aims to enrich the appreciation of the Asian American and Pacific Islander contributions to the American story.

About the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

On October 14, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Executive Order reestablishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (Initiative). The Initiative, chaired by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and led by Executive Director Kiran Ahuja, is housed within the U.S. Department of Education. The Initiative works to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by facilitating increased access to and participation in federal programs where they remain underserved.

The Initiative seeks to highlight both the tremendous unmet needs in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities as well as the dynamic community assets that can be leveraged to meet many of those needs. The Initiative focuses on crosscutting priority areas that may reach across all issue areas and agencies, including, for example, advancing research, data collection, analysis and dissemination for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and ensuring access, especially linguistic access and cultural competence, for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and encouraging Asian American and Pacific Islander involvement in public service and civic engagement opportunities.

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**NOTE: To learn more about the Initiative, visit www.whitehouse.gov/aapi. A recording of the Google+ Hangout can be accessed at bit.ly/AAPIGoogleHangout.**

Obama Nominates Christopher P. Lu for Department of Labor Deputy Secretary

Editor’s Note: The below is a highlight of “President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts“. Chris is a former White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders co-chair, an organization we often publicize and support.

WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Christopher P. Lu, Nominee for Deputy Secretary, Department of Labor

Christopher P. Lu is a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, and in 2013, he was also a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy. From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Lu served in the White House as Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary. Previously, in 2008, he served as Executive Director of the Obama-Biden Transition Project. From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Lu served as Legislative Director and then as Acting Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Barack Obama. From 1997 to 2005, Mr. Lu was Deputy Chief Counsel of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Minority Staff). He began his career as a law clerk to Judge Robert E. Cowen on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and as an attorney at Sidley Austin. Mr. Lu was Co-Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from 2011 to 2013. He received an A.B. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

The Historical Connection Between U S Immigration Policy and Civil Rights in America

Editor’s Note: We welcome Charles Cheng-Kung Wang, an immigration attorney at law in Cincinnati, Ohio, back as guest blogger with the below piece. His last piece “Why Asian Americans Confuse Affirmation Action with the Very Real Plight of being Capped Out from Universities of Their Choice“, aggressively touched on this topic critical to all of us and our community and families.

The Whole Truth about US Immigration Detention

2013 has been dubbed the year of hope for passing immigration reform. There is less than two months of the year left to do this, and given the dysfunctional state of the U.S. Congress, it is unlikely that anything substantive will pass.

This said, I would like to explore the historical connection between U S Immigration Policy and Civil Rights in America. One reason is that an appreciation of this connection will also help explain why immigration reform is so hard to achieve today.

I will make the bold assertion that, historically, immigration policy is racially based, and even at this moment there are those who oppose immigration reform also for the reason of race. Let us look at the key milestones in U.S. Immigration legislation.

All immigration lawyers will agree that the single most important piece of immigration legislation in modern times is the Immigration & Naturalization Act (Hart-Celler Act) of 1965. The key progress achieved in 1965 is the writing over of the then notorious Immigration Act of 1924. Notorious because the 1924 Act is totally race based – it contained two racially obnoxious parts calculated to ban the entry of “undesirable” immigrants: the National Origins Act, and Asian Exclusion Act. The Asian Exclusion Act is blatantly obvious on its face – it barred immigration from the Asia-Pacific Triangle. The National Origins Act is more subtle – it sought to preserve the racial mix of the USA to that which existed in the year 1890. Up to 1920, about 90% of immigrants were from Europe. The Immigration Act of 1924 is also remembered as the Eugenics Act, eugenics being the pseudo-science of genetic engineering based on perceived traits of superiority started the 1860s but discredited along with the defeat of Nazism at the end of World War II in 1945.

The hand-waving of the National Origins Act was necessitated partly by the advocacy and efforts of African American activitists and supporters. In 1890, at the height of Jim Crow laws in the South which arose after the end of Reconstruction in 1877, the discriminatory situation was a rallying cry for segregationists seeking to preserve white supremacy in America. In 1883, the U S. Supreme Court in various Civil Rights cases declared unconstitutional the Civil Rights Acts passed by Congress during Reconstruction Era reasoning that the 14th Amendment did not authorize legislation against individual conduct, but only against official state action. Are you surprised, then, that given the racial attitudes gripping America during that period, that in 1882 Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act which barred immigration from China? This brings me to the crux of my discussion – the impact of civil rights on immigration.

The year 1965 is also significant because Congress passed and President Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act. A year earlier, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also became federal law. These 2 Acts are the culmination of the civil rights movement to eliminate segregation historically against freed slaves and their children, that is, to end Jim Crow. The pinnacle of the legalization of discrimination is the approval of the “separate but equal” doctrine by the U. S. Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 which upheld segregation of public transportation by reason of color. Lesser known is the case of Giles v. Harris decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1903 forbidding the federal courts from hearing complaints against state officials of voter suppression against African Americans.

With Brown v. Board of Education, the Court in 1954 signaled a cardinal reversal of national policy towards institutional segregation. In response to the modern civil rights movement, Congress got into the act in 1964-1965 with the modern Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. Is it a mere coincidence that in 1965, Congress also passed the Immigration & Naturalization Act which removed the color bar and equalized immigration from the “Eastern and Western Hemispheres” of the world? Is there a connection with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965? I think there is a direct connection – the Congress could not in good faith continue the racially discriminatory immigration policy in the face of the progress made in civil rights at home.

I view slavery as involuntary immigration where people from Africa were forced against their wills to leave their homes and were transported in chains to these shores. Those enslaved are nonetheless immigrants just like the people who crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to find political and religious freedom and economic opportunity for themselves and their children (economics and race are hand in hand in making immigration policy). After the baptism by fire and steel of the American Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln, and the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution, can immigration be restricted to only from across the Atlantic? In fact this is exactly what happened – immigration policy continued to be race and color based until 1965, the year Jim Crow was officially struck dead by the U. S. Congress, but after a hundred years from the end of the Civil War.

After the comprehensive overhaul of immigration law in 1965, immigration from Europe dropped to around 15%. After 1965, subsequent amendments in immigration in 1980, 1986, 1990, and 2001 (Patriot Act passed a month after 9/11) all show a tendency towards restricting immigration. What kind of immigration amendment will come in 2013-2014?

Earlier this year, the U. S. Supreme Court in the landmark case of Shelby County v. Holder, signaled that the Voter Rights Act may have outlived its purpose, striking down the core Section 4(b) because Congress had renewed it using stale 1975 data, suggesting that states and local government previously subject to strict federal oversight of voting procedures are no longer engaged in voter suppression. Has American totally freed herself from racial animus and perceptions of color supremacy that gave rise to slavery, Jim Crow, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and the Asian Exclusion Act?

Will this emerging rationale epitomized by Shelby County have an impact on immigration reform in light of the historical relationship between civil rights and immigration policy? I close with the current census projection based on current trends that by 2043, the population demographics in the United States will shift to no racial majority but only a plurality of races. How can American have a relevant & useful immigration policy given such rapid shifts with a useless Congress?

– Charleston C. K. Wang

AAA Fund Endorses Shari Song for King County Council

November 2, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Asian American Action Fund Proudly Endorses Shari Song for King County City Council
Rising Star and Business Leader Seeks to Continue History of Community and Public Service

The Asian American Action Fund, a national Democratic Asian American political action committee, is pleased to endorse Seattle realtor Shari Song for King County City Council. Song is a first time candidate but a longtime community leader with business experience. She has served on the boards of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce and the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS), chaired the Diversity Commission of the City of Federal Way, and most recently was a Member of the Seattle Police Korean Community Advisory Council. Song was awarded the King County Recognition Award for Community Service, and serves as a Director for the Mission Church Learning Center in Federal Way.

Executive Director Gautam Dutta stated, “Shari Song will prioritize improved transportation, promote job creation policies, and focus on public safety. She has a strong track record of leadership in the Asian Pacific American community in King County.”

AAA Fund Endorsements Chair Caroline Fan enthused, “Shari is exactly the kind of candidate who we seek – she is deeply engaged in her community and will work hard for her constituents. She’s built an amazing and broad coalition of support from working families to environmentalists. ”
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Asian American GOTV w/ McAuliffe, Northam, Herring

Editor’s Note: The below is from our friends at their Virginia campaigns. We encourage our readers to participate in these GOTV efforts as they advance our core purpose, to advance Asian American participation in US politics at all levels.

Asian American GOTV Rally with Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam, and Mark Herring on Friday, 11/1, 6:30pm – 7:30pm. We’ll be at Delegate Mark Keam’s Office, 1952 Gallows Road, Vienna, VA, 22182.

We’re also having a special luncheon with Belkis Leong-Hong, Chairwoman of the DNC’s AAPI Caucus on Sunday, 11/3, 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM over at Dragonfly Bistro at 13840 Braddock Road, Suite F, Centreville, VA 20121. Dunn Loring is closest Metro.

Can you make it to one of these events? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll contact you! We’re so happy to have the community on our side. Note if you drive or need ride.
Saturday, Nov. 2, 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 3, 1 p.m., 4 p.m.
Monday, Nov, 4, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov 5, 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.

We just released our third campaign video (shown above). Feel free to share with folks you know who can vote for us in District 67.

We’ve created an Event in our Facebook Group.

OTHER EVENTS:

FRIDAY: We’re having an Asian American GOTV Rally with Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam, and Mark Herring on Friday, 11/1, 6:30pm – 7:30pm. Delegate Mark Keam’s Office, 1952 Gallows Road, Vienna, VA, 22182.

HUNG NGUYEN EVENT: We’re also having a special luncheon with Belkis Leong-Hong, Chairwoman of the DNC’s AAPI Caucus on Sunday, 11/3, 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM over at Dragonfly Bistro at 13840 Braddock Road, Suite F, Centreville, VA 20121.

Dictionary: Shutdown

After watching this video of a Republican belitting a Parks official for turning people away …

… what could I possibly say that hasn’t already been written about this past week? Too many angles, all covered, lies included, so as inspired by this biting comment on that video, I bring back another dictionary (last time, it was about healthcare):

what extremist conservatives do what extremist Christians do
ignores any reason, debate, reconciliation to advance the goal ignores any reason, debate, reconciliation to advance the goal
take everything personally add personal attacks
burn the earth to get what you need burn the earth because God’s all that counts
use hate, meanness, anger to get what you need never denounce haters who wave the flag of Jesus
ignore criticism, stick to your guns ignore criticism, stick to your Bible
rest of the world doesn’t matter, only one’s own agenda rest of the world doesn’t matter, only those one can convert
absolutely non-negotiable and proud of it
greed & selfishness self-justified by one’s chosen party greed & selfishness self-justified by one’s chosen Christian sect

Get it?

Anyone wonder what’s so wrong about the system? An uninvolved electorate that’s so fragmented that it can only parrot one’s self-selected media intake? You elect idiots, you get parody of it could suffice anymore and even that will be still closer to the truth.

DC Tues Oct 8: Free Happy Hour with VA’s Mark Keam & Hung Nguyen

The Asian American Action Fund invites you to a happy hour honoring 2 great Asian American candidates running for the Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013: Incumbent Mark Keam (35th District) and challenger Hung Nguyen (67th District). Contributions accepted by the AAA Fund at this event will be used by the AAA Fund to support outstanding leaders who care about the diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

Tuesday, October 8
6 – 8 p.m.
Local 16, 1602 U Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

Enjoy complimentary pizza and happy hour specials until 8 p.m.

The Asian American Action Fund ( aaa-fund.com) is dedicated to increasing the voice of the Asian
American communities in government by helping to elect candidates who have a demonstrated
commitment to these constituencies.
Suggested Contribution to AAA Fund: $25 at the event or online at http://bit.ly/KeamNguyen13 or sign up for volunteer shifts (with the campaigns) at the event.

Please contact KJ Bagchi KJBagchi@gmail.com or Tom Goldstein TGoldstein@PaxtonGroup.com with any questions.

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.