11/21/2017

Hirono Recovering After Second Planned Surgery

By Sophie Cocke

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono’s surgery to remove part of her rib Tuesday was successful, and she is in recovery, according to staff from her office. The operation was the second of two surgeries planned since Hirono was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer earlier this year.

Last month Hirono, 69, had one of her kidneys removed. The operations were expected to remove all traces of cancer.

It’s not clear when Hirono will be back at work, but she bounced back quickly from her first surgery, and during a speech on the Senate floor on Monday, she said that she looked forward to getting back to the fight against the Republican health care proposal.

“I’m going to be back as quickly as I can to keep up the fight against this mean, ugly bill,” she said. “The stakes are too high to stay silent.”

Hirono, who has held her Senate seat since 2012, has been firm about her plans to run for re-election next year, and her Hawaii colleagues in the House have made clear in recent days that she has their support. Both U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have issued early endorsements of Hirono’s re-election campaign.

Despite speculation in political circles in recent years that Gabbard might try to challenge Hirono for her Senate seat in a Democratic primary, Gabbard told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser earlier this month that she had promised Hirono both in 2013 and January of this year that she had no intention of doing so.

Last week, Gabbard endorsed Hirono, saying she was “encouraged by her fighting spirit.”

“I was happy to hear Mazie say that she is going to be running for re-election in 2018. It’s an honor to work with Sen. Hirono in Congress,” Gabbard wrote on her Facebook page. “As I’ve said before, Mazie is doing a great job in Washington and I fully endorse her re-election.

“I know she will keep working hard as a champion for women, education reform, affordable health care, immigration reform and so much more as she continues to represent Hawaii in the U.S. Senate.”

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hana­busa also endorsed Hirono yesterday morning, sending out an email to supporters asking them to support Hirono’s re-election through a $25 campaign contribution.

Hirono “never forgets where she comes from or who she’s fighting for,” Hanabusa wrote. “She’s spent her entire career fighting for the little guy and to make sure that Hawaii families have a fair shot at getting ahead. In Congress, we’ve teamed up to fight for legislation that will create opportunity for our keiki, keep our promises to our veterans and protect our aina. But battles don’t stay won and our work isn’t finished — not by a long shot. And we need Mazie with us.”

Hirono recovering after second planned surgery

Hirono Leads Effort for More Accurate Data on Asian American & Pacific Islanders

Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and 10 Senate Democrats urged the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to update its standards for the collection of racial and ethnic data to better reflect the nation’s growing Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population. Such standards have not been updated since 1997. Today is the first day of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

“A lack of disaggregated data on the AAPI community has led to the ‘model minority’ myth that—based on the current federal data—virtually all AAPIs are self-sufficient, well-educated, and upwardly mobile. However, in reality these metrics differ widely among different AAPI subcategories,” the Senators wrote. “Better data collection will more accurately reflect the AAPI community’s realities and needs such as educational challenges, language access, poverty, and disability. Without access to better data, these disparities would remain concealed behind the model minority myth leaving our communities invisible to policymakers and our needs unmet.”

In addition, the letter requests OMB require all federal departments and agencies follow disaggregated classifications noted in a recently-released U.S. Census Bureau report titled 2015 National Content Test: Race and Ethnicity Analysis Report.

The letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Ben Cardin (D- Md.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D- Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center support the letter.

“Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders – communities that are incredibly diverse and trace their heritage to more than 50 different countries and speak more than 100 different languages – are acutely aware of the importance and need for strong federal data collection standards,” said Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum. “These standards impact many aspects of health access, coverage and quality and produce data that the federal government and our communities rely upon.”

“The Asian American and Pacific Islander community represents more than 100 countries and 56 languages, but that rich heritage is essentially invisible without disaggregated data,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice. “Such data is critical to our ability to get the proper level of services and representation. Our community delivered a strong message to OMB that we demand to be counted.”

“It is imperative for federal agencies to collect detailed data on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders so the government is able to determine the best ways to allocate resources that account for our community’s economic, health and educational disparities, as well was our cultural and linguistic diversity,” said Christopher Kang, national director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans.“We are encouraged to have strong support from Members of Congress, hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals on the need to change federal data collection standards so that our communities are not misrepresented or left behind.”

###

Senator Mazie Hirono

The full letter is printed below.

Office of the U.S. Chief Statistician:

We write to express our strong support for updating the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, to improve the reporting categories, questions, and data collection for the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

Our country’s population has changed significantly since OMB’s standards were last updated in 1997 and the methods and language used to record race and ethnicity should be updated to reflect those changes. In particular, the AAPI community is comprised of diverse racial groups representing dozens of ethnicities, cultures, and migration stories from around the world. A lack of disaggregated data on the AAPI community has led to the “model minority” myth that—based on the current federal data—virtually all AAPIs are self-sufficient, well-educated, and upwardly mobile. However, in reality these metrics differ widely among different AAPI subcategories.

Better data collection will more accurately reflect the AAPI community’s realities and needs such as educational challenges, language access, poverty, and disability. Without access to better data, these disparities would remain concealed behind the model minority myth leaving our communities invisible to policymakers and our needs unmet.

Therefore, we urge the OMB to require all federal departments and agencies, when collecting, analyzing, using, reporting, and disseminating data on race or ethnicity, to follow the disaggregated classifications as noted in the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 National Content Test Race and Ethnicity Analysis Report (the Report). In addition, we encourage the OMB to consider updating such classifications regularly to reflect the ever evolving AAPI population. Further, the disaggregated classifications in the Report are minimum measurements used in the collection of data, therefore OMB should indicate to federal departments and agencies their ability to go beyond such standards when engaging in data collection of their own.

Currently, because of the lack of disaggregated data for the populations they serve, many community organizations undertake time consuming and expensive data collections of their own.

These groups typically lack the expertise in statistical services. Therefore, they must put greater relative resources into data collection efforts than government agencies that are already engaging in data collection. The expense and time put towards these custom data collection efforts are a less effective use of resources than the services they could be providing. OMB should consider the quality of data and the efficiency of government led data collection efforts when updating the Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity.

As members of Congress that recognize the value of federal statistics and the work done by the agencies that collect them, we stand ready to work with OMB and the relevant statistical agencies to update these standards. Ultimately, this minimal change in data collection will lead to better outcomes and better targeting of resources, which in the long-run is good not only for the federal government but also for the states, localities, businesses, and non-governmental organizations that rely on such statistics.

With better data, policymakers and community organizations will be able to initiate targeted support to those within the AAPI community who need it most. We appreciate your consideration and stand ready to continue working with OMB to improve AAPI achievement.

AAAF Mourns the loss of Congressman Mark Takai

AAAF logo

The Asian American Action Fund (AAAF) mourns the loss of Congressman Mark Takai, who served our country nobly as a military officer and as a public servant.

Melissa Unemori Hampe, AAAF Deputy Director Emeritus, stated, “Mark will always be remembered for how much he gave—both to the people of Hawaii and to the greater AAPI community throughout this country. The Asian American Action Fund’s appreciation for his work is boundless and we keep his family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Starting at the age of 27, Rep. Takai served as a member of the Hawaii State House of Representatives for over two decades. His public service also includes over 17 years as Lt. Colonel in the Hawaii National Guard and active duty deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Later, in his two years as a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, he introduced a multitude of bills on the federal level including the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act and the Filipino Veterans of World War II, Congressional Gold Medal Act.

Rep. Takai’s work also focused on education as he helped create more targeted educational improvements for AAPI students and introduced the Native Hawaiian Education Reauthorization Act. It is for this unrelenting dedication and commitment to the AAPI community that the Asian American Action Fund awarded Mark the Outstanding Achievement Award last month. The AAAF Board is forever grateful for his service to our country. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mark’s wife, Sami, and their two children, Matthew and Kaila.


DC Mar 25: An evening with Rep. Mark Takai

AAAF logo

Asian American Action Fund
cordially invites you to
an evening with Rep. Mark Takai
with delicious food and delightful wine pairings

AAA-Fund kicks off 2015 with an intimate dinner with Rep. Mark Takai on Wednesday, March 25th at 6:30p in downtown DC.
Rep. Mark Takai is a 2014 AAA-Fund Endorsee & Honorary Board member & represents Hawaii’s 1st Congressional district. Mark previously represented Hawaii’s 33rd House District in the State legislature 1994-2014 & currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Hawaii Army National Guard.

2200 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 6:30p-8:30p

RSVP, tickets, info HERE
Queries, email RSVP to Sarah Jeong
Download our event flyer or hit “Attending” on our Facebook Event to spread the word.

Suggested Donations
Individuals: Friend $500 Sponsor $1000 PAC: Silver $2500 Gold $5000

Donations will go to the AAA-Fund to support its continuing efforts to elect Asian American Democrats and politically activate the Asian American community. The AAA-Fund is a progressive political organization dedicated to empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the United States.

The AAA-Fund accepts contributions only from individuals using their own personal funds of up to $5000 per calendar year and contributions will be used for federal elections. Under federal law, the AAA-Fund cannot accept contributions from Federal government contractors (note that employeees of federal contractors are free to contribute personal funds), foreign nationals who are not permanent residents; or those making donations using the general treasury funds of corporations, labor organizations, or national banks. Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the full name, mailing address, occuption and employer of any individual whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year. Paid for by the Asian American Action Fund (www.aaa-fund.org) and authorized by Representative Mark Takai.

Tweets from https://twitter.com/AAAFund/lists/candidates
Tweets from https://twitter.com/AAAFund/lists/orgs

Facebook

Our Facebook Page @AAAFund

Official statements.