250 Asian American and Pacific Islander elected officials, leaders announce Biden endorsement

“Mobilizing AAPIs will be decisive in delivering Democratic victories across the country,” DNC Chair Tom Perez told NBC Asian America.
Image: US-POLITICS-VOTE-BIDEN
Joe Biden speaks at a "Build Back Better" Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020 at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del.Olivier Douliery / AFP - Getty Images file

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By Kimmy Yam

More than 250 prominent Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have endorsed Joe Biden.

The diverse group includes members of the Democratic National Committee and elected officials, as well as a few leaders in the arts. David Chiu, who was the first Chinese American to serve as president on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and is the current chair of the California Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, and actor Lou Diamond Philips are among the noteworthy names.

“We need to elect a President who will bring leadership back to Washington, who can help re-center our nation’s moral compass, heal our nation’s soul, and bring us back to the path towards justice, equality, and integrity,” the group said in a statement Friday.

DNC Chair Tom Perez told NBC Asian America that he feels the endorsements are reflective of the critical role the AAPI population will play in the November election.

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the electorate, and mobilizing AAPIs will be decisive in delivering Democratic victories across the country,” Perez said.

Others on the list include Tom K. Wong, director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center; Tuyet Duong, former senior advisor of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; and Sri Preston Kulkarni, who's running to represent Texas' 22nd Congressional District.

Christine Chen, executive director of civic engagement nonprofit APIAVote, said that while the AAPI community isn’t a monolith, with a diversity of stances among different subgroups, the endorsements track with the demographic’s general shift toward the left in recent years.

“Asian Americans are leaning more progressive and show higher approval of how the Democratic Party overall handles issues on jobs/economy, health care, education and race,” she said. “These endorsements definitely follow that trend and shows the effort of AAPI leaders that want to support what they think is best for their communities.”

Chen added that the inclusion of local community leaders on the endorsement list could prove influential in mobilizing the AAPI electorate, particularly if the endorsees are considered trusted messengers in the community.

The Asian American electorate has grown significantly in the past 20 years, ballooning by 139 percent, according to a 2020 Pew Research report. It is currently made up of more than 11 million eligible voters. In comparison, the white electorate has grown by 7 percent in the same period. Moreover, the Asian American electorate is composed of a majority of naturalized immigrants, who account for two-thirds of the group. Perez mentioned that the DNC has made “historic investments” in outreach to the demographic.

“In 2020, battleground states from Nevada and Arizona to Virginia and Georgia are ground zero for AAPI organizing, and that’s why we’ve made historic investments and built up critical infrastructure to engage and mobilize AAPI voters ahead of November."

Chen acknowledged that during this election cycle, she’s witnessed a notable uptick in targeted outreach efforts to mobilize the community during the primaries. Citing the participation of both Biden and Eddie Calvo, governor of Guam and a Trump surrogate, in the recent APIAVote’s digital presidential town hall streamed by NBC Asian America, Chen said candidates have been participating in specialized digital campaigns. However, more can be done to involve Asian Americans, she said, adding that ultimately she hopes to see consistent outreach to the AAPI community beyond the 2020 cycle.

“While we are excited to see this outreach, we need to see earlier outreach efforts and we are looking to see in the upcoming three months if they will conduct outreach activities in-language and produce translated materials,” she said. “We also want to see a more robust field campaigns that understand and utilize the power of the local community and specifically engages with AAPI voters that traditionally have never been contacted in-language.”

Read the full list of endorsements below:

DNC AAPI Members

● Bel Leong-Hong, National AAPI Caucus Chair

● Keith Umemoto, Member & AAPI Caucus Secretary/Treasurer

● Otto Lee, Member & AAPI Caucus Vice Chair

● Chris Lu, At-Large Member

● Christina Sablan, Northern Marianas Islands National Committeewoman

● Michael A. White, Northern Marianas Islands National Committeeman

● A.J. Durrani, Texas National Committeeman

● Sierra Yamanaka, Arizona National Committeewoman

● Jadine Nielsen, Hawaii National Committeewoman

AAPI Caucus Leadership

● Sylvia Lee, Arizona Democratic Party AAPI Caucus Chair

● Devang Shah, Maryland Democratic Party AAPI Caucus Chair

● Ying Gee, Michigan Democratic Party AAPI Caucus Chair

● Gracie Galloway, North Carolina Democratic Party AAPI Caucus Chair

● Dan Santos, Clark County (NV) Democratic Party AAPI Caucus Chair

● Praveen Meyyan, Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia Chair

● Cora Quisumbing-King, New Hampshire Democratic Party AAPI Caucus Co-Chair

● Sumathi Madhure, New Hampshire Democratic Party AAPI Caucus Co-Chair

● Joshua Ang Price, Arkansas Democratic Party AAPI Caucus Chair

● Melissa Ramoso, California Democratic Party AAPI Caucus Chair

● Sam Shim, Ohio Democratic Party AAPI Caucus Chair

● Francine Ly, Asian American Democrats of Texas Vice President

● Kishan Putta, DC Democratic Party AAPI Caucus Chair

● Angelito Tenorio, Democratic AAPI Caucus of Wisconsin (Ad Hoc) Co-Chair

● Paula Phillips, Democratic AAPI Caucus of Wisconsin (Ad Hoc) Co-Chair

State Elected Officials

● Betty Yee, California State Controller

● Senate President Ron Kouchi, Hawaii Senate

● Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee, Guam Legislature

● Sen. Richard Pan, California State Senate

● Sen. Sheik Rahman, Georgia State Senate

● Sen. Clarence Nishihara, Hawaii Senate

● Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, Hawaii Senate

● Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran, Hawaii Senate

● Sen. Laura Thielen, Hawaii Senate

● Sen. Lorraine Inouye, Hawaii Senate

● Sen. Michelle Kidani, Hawaii Senate

● Sen. Roz Baker, Hawaii Senate

● Sen. Susan C. Lee, Maryland State Senate

● Sen. Clarence Lam, Maryland State Senate

● House Speaker Scott Saiki, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Gene Wu, Texas House of Representatives

● Del. Kriselda Valderrama, Maryland General Assembly

● Del. David Moon, Maryland General Assembly

● Del. Harry Bhandari, Maryland General Assembly

● Del. Kumar Barve, Maryland General Assembly & Chair of House Environment and Transportation Committee

● Del. Lily Qi, Maryland General Assembly

● Del. Mark Chang, Maryland General Assembly

● Del. Wanika Beatrice Fisher, Maryland General Assembly

● Rep. Chris Chyung, Indiana House of Representatives

● Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Dee Morikawa, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Della Bellati, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Gregg Takayama, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Jimmy Tokioka, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. John Mizuno, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Kobayashi Bert, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Kyle Yamashita, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Nadine Nakamura, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Romy Cachola, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Sam Kong, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Scot Matayoshi, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Sharon Har, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Stacelynn Eli, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Sylvia Luke, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Takashi Ohno, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Troy Hashimoto, Hawaii House of Representatives

● Rep. Bee Nguyen, Georgia General Assembly

● Rep. Sam Park, Georgia General Assembly

● Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, California State Assembly

● Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, California State Assembly

● Assemblymember Ash Kalra, California State Assembly

● Assemblymember David Chiu, California State Assembly & Chair of the California Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus

● Assemblymember Ed Chau, California State Assembly

● Assemblymember Evan Low, California State Assembly

● Assemblymember Kansen Chu, California State Assembly

● Assemblymember Phil Ting, California State Assembly

● Assemblymember Rob Bonta, California State Assembly

● Assemblymember Todd Gloria, California State Assembly

Local Elected Officials

● Arlene Chin, Tempe City Councilmember

● Mike Fong, Los Angeles Community College District Trustee

● Ann Kobayashi, Honolulu City Councilmember

● Brandon Elefante, Honolulu City Councilmember

● Joey Manahan, Honolulu City Councilmember

● Justin Kollar, Kauai Prosecuting Attorney

● Kymberly Pine, Honolulu City Councilmember

● Luke Evslin, Kauai County Councilmember

● Riki Hokama, Maui County Councilmember

● Ross Kagawa, Kauai County Councilmember

● Tasha Kama, Maui County Councilmember

● Valerie Pointdexter, Hawaii County Councilmember

● Jin Lee, Maine Township High School District 207 School Board Member

● Sean Hassan, Austin Community College Board of Trustee

● Babur Lateef, Prince William County (VA) School Board Chairman-At-Large

● Harris Mahedavi, Loudoun County School Board Member

● Ingrid Morroy, Arlington County (VA) Commissioner of Revenue

● Peter Gur, Prince Edward County (VA) Public School Board Member

● Sam Cho, Port of Seattle Commissioner

● Bret Narayan, City of St. Louis, MO Alderman

● Aftab Pureval, Hamilton County (OH) Clerk of Courts

● Peter Urscheler, Phoenixville, PA Mayor

● Arati Singh, Austin Independent School District Board Member

● Ben Ku, Gwinnett County (GA) Commissioner

Former Elected Leaders

● Ben Cayetano, Former Governor of Hawaii

● George Ariyoshi, Former Governor of Hawaii

● John Waiheʻe, Former Governor of Hawaii

● Neil Abercrombie, Former Governor of Hawaii

● Shan Tsutsui, Former Lt. Governor of Hawaii

● Doug Chin, Former Lt. Governor of Hawaii

● Calvin Say, Speaker Emeritus of Hawaii House of Representatives

● Gordon Quan, Former City of Houston Mayor Pro Tem

● Velma Veloria, Former Washington State Representative

Appointed Officials (Past and Present)

● Ginger Lew, Former White House Advisor

● Karen Narasaki, Former Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

● Francey Lim Youngberg, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Engagement, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

● Yvonne Lee, Former Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

● Jeanette Takamura, PhD, Former Assistant Secretary for Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

● Carol Wong, Former Commissioner, Pennsylvania Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs

● Jason Tengco, Former Deputy Director for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

● Esther Lee, Former Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Commonwealth of Virginia

● Tuyet Duong, Former Senior Advisor, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

● Mike Ancheta Nisperos Jr., Chair of Vallejo Civil Service Commission

National Community Leaders

● Shekar Narasimhan, Chair of the AAPI Victory Fund

● Glen Fukushima, Co-Founder of CAPA21

● Paul Tiao, Co-Founder of Asian American Action Fund

● Fritz Friedman, Co-Founder of Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment

● Maeley Tom, Founding President of the California Joint APIA Legislative Caucus Institute

● Buck Gee, Advisory Board Member at Asia Society - Northern California

● Katie Kalvoda, Founder and President of Asian Americans Rising

● Irene B. Bueno, Board Member at Asian American Action Fund

● Irene Natividad, Co-Chair for Endorsement at Asian American Action Fund

State & Local Political Leaders

● Naomi Okumura Story, PhD, Former Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party AAPI Caucus

● Gerald G. Gubatan, Past President of the Pilipino American Los Angeles Democrats

● Hannah Cho, California Democratic Party Southern California Vice Chair

● Mary Grace Barrios, Past President of the Pilipino American Los Angeles Democrats

● Paul Seo, Los Angeles County Democratic Party Central Committee Member

● Mohammad Junaid Akther, President of the American Muslim Democratic Caucus of Florida

● Brickwood Galuteria, Former Chair of the Hawaii Democratic Party

● Constantino "Coco" Alinsug, Massachusetts Democratic Party State Committee Member

● Dhaval Shah, Chair of the Howard County Democratic Party AAPI Caucus

● Hoan Dang, Former Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party AAPI Leadership Council

● Jonathon Rowland, Chair of the Baltimore City (MD) Democratic Party AAPI Caucus

● Shyam Karki, Chair of the Baltimore County (MD) Democratic Party AAPI Caucus

● Shanika Amarakoon, Portsmouth (NH) Democrats Secretary

● Walter King, Strafford County and Dover (NH) Democratic Committees Executive Committee Member

● Ritesh Shah, Chair of the Monmouth County (NJ) Democrats South Asian Caucus

● Bertran D Palacios, Democratic Party of the Northern Mariana Islands Central Executive Committee Member

● Hebert Soll, Democratic Party of the Northern Mariana Islands Central Executive Committee Member

● Nola Hix, Chair of the Democratic Party of the Northern Mariana Islands

● Shawna Indalecio, Democratic Party of the Northern Mariana Islands Central Executive Committee Member

● Sophia Perez, Democratic Party of the Northern Mariana Islands National Delegate

● Qaisar Imam, Asian American Democrats of Texas Member

● Dewita Soeharjono, Chair Emeritus of Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia

● Suchada Langley, Virginia's 11th Congressional District Democratic Committee Vice Chair

Policy Leaders & Advocates

● Maria Lourdes Tiglao, Truman National Security Project DC Chapter Director

● Tom K. Wong, Professor and Director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center

● Pushkar Sharma, Policy Strategist at the New Leaders Council

● Raymond Kuo, Executive Director at the Midwest International Policy Institute

● My Tam Nguyen, Chief of Staff at the National Innovation Service

● Won Palisoul, Truman National Security Project Defense Council

● Julia Kim Chun, Chief of Staff to Sen. Barbara Favola

● Nelson Garcia, President of the Washington Intergovernmental Professional Group

● Vannary Kong, Global Connectivity and Trade Sherpa at Youth G7

Community Leaders

● Kostubh "KJ" Bagchi, Co-Founder of Desis for Progress

● Nicholas Lepham, Director of PIVOT - The Progressive Vietnamese American Organization

● Lani Wong, Community Advocate on behalf of Georgia AAPIs

● John Park, Former President of the Korean Community Empowerment Council

● Rebecca Nelson, Leadership Council at the Ohio Progressive Asian Women's Leadership

● Teodora Gaite Schipper, Past President of the Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh Inc

● Neha Dewan, National Director for South Asians for Biden

● Brad Baldia,Co-Chair of Pennsylvania AAPIs for Biden

● Anna Perng, Co-Chair of Pennsylvania AAPIs for Biden

● Ling Luo, Founding Chair of Asian American Democratic Club

● Jay Bhandari, President of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin

● Winnie Tang, President of the Florida Asian Women Alliance

● Fe Nieves-Khouw, Past President of Philippine Nurses Association of America - Maryland Chapter

● Lisa Kuan, Co-Founder of Tri-State Asian American Action Fund

● Mingfei Yi, Chair of National Asian American PAC

● Victoria Li, Chair of Central Texas Asian American PAC

● Loren Nadres, Board Member at Asian American Action Fund

● Gautam Dutta, Board Member at Asian American Action Fund

● Mona Mohib, Board Member at Asian American Action Fund

● Willard K. Tom, Board Member at Asian American Action Fund

● Aryani Ong, Board Member at Asian American Action Fund

● Chan Park, Board Member at Asian American Action Fund

● Richard Chen, Board Member at Asian American Action Fund

● Albert Shen, Board Member at Asian American Action Fund

● JR Smith, Board Member at Asian American Action Fund

● Caroline Fan, Board Member at Asian American Action Fund

Candidates for Office

● Sri Kulkarni, Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives

● Leezah Sun, Candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives

● Suzanne Hug, Candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives

● Marvin Lim, Candidate for Georgia General Assembly

● Michelle Au, Candidate for Georgia State Senate

● Janet Yang Rohr, Candidate for Illinois House of Representatives

● Emily Weber, Candidate for Missouri House of Representatives

Business Leaders

● Charlie Woo, CEO, Megatoys

● Martin Wong, Owner, Giraffe-x Creative Imaging

● Dottie Tiejun Li, Founder & CEO, TransPacific Communications

● Bali Kumar, CEO, Lean & Green Michigan

● Arindam Kar, Partner, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

● Han Ko, CEO, USAKO Corp.

● Rick Shang, CEO, Vulpes Corp.

● Shayn Prapaisilp, COO, STJ Group Holdings LLC

● Jun Choi, CEO, Menlo Realty Ventures

● Antoinette Wilson, CEO, Triumph Communications

● Gloria Lung Wakayama, Partner, Harris & Wakayama PLLC

● Deborah Chen, Owner, Shabu House HTX

● Rogene Calvert, Principal, Outreach Strategists

Arts & Media

● Lou Diamond Phillips, Actor and Director

● Mark Dacasos, Actor

● Tia Carrere, Actress and Singer

● Kurt Bardella, Senior Advisor at Lincoln Project

● Stephen Gong, Executive Director at Center for Asian American Media

Activist & Advocates

● Jennifer Chau, Arizona

● Brooke Marissa Lee Harris, Arizona

● Lori Taniguchi, Arizona

● Pinny Sheoran, Arizona

● Jon Lea Fimbres, Arizona

● Laetitia Hua, Arizona

● Marvin Dean McCollum, Arizona

● Janice K Eng, Arizona

● Catherine Ripley, Arizona

● Priyanka Sundareshan, Arizona

● Reksmey Mouk, California

● Carmen Chang, California

● Joselito Laudencia, California

● Loreto Quevedo Dimaandal, California

● Erin Pangilinan, California

● Erika L. Moritsugu, District of Columbia

● Aaron Sayama, District of Columbia

● Caroline Chang, District of Columbia

● Hansen Mak, District of Columbia

● Patricio N. Abinales, Hawaii

● Katrina Chan, Maryland

● Shin Inouye, Maryland

● Samantha Cheng, Maryland

● Tonia Bui, Maryland

● Mark Wong, Maryland

● Saman Qadeer Ahmad, Maryland

● Shruti Bhatnagar, Maryland

● Anis Ahmed, Maryland

● Deeba Jafri, Maryland

● Garima Bhatt Handley, Maryland

● Ron Sakai, Missouri

● Hyun Lee, North Carolina

● Jannie K. Lau, North Carolina

● Alberto Manalo, New Hampshire

● John F Furey, Northern Marianas Islands

● Frances A. Castro, Northern Marianas Islands

● Maria Tenorio Camacho, Northern Marianas Islands

● Rita A. Sablan, Northern Marianas Islands

● Ditas Valenzuela, Northern Marianas Islands

● Peni Sua, Nevada

● Cynthia Ameli, Nevada

● Rev. Phil Tom, New York

● Youping Xiao, Pennsylvania

● Josephine Tarin, Texas

● Benjamin Chou, Texas

● Jennifer Oh, Virginia

● Francis Stevens, Virginia

● Ibrahim Moiz, Virginia

● Johna Ohtagaki, Virginia

● Mason Ji, Washington

● Sandy Dang, Washington