Capitol Gain: Three New Asian Pacific Americans Join Congress

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Three new Asian Pacific Islander Americans (AAPI) were sworn into the 114th Congress in Washington today: Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R, American Samoa), Ted Lieu (D, CA-33), and Mark Takai (D, HI-01).

The freshman class brings with it some AAPI “firsts.”

Amata is the first female Congressional delegate from the American Samoa, and the only Pacific Islander Republican in Congress. Lieu is the first AAPI to represent California's 33rd Congressional District in Los Angeles. He succeeds the retired Democratic political stalwart, Henry Waxman.

“It is a great honor to be elected by the people of the 33rd Congressional District. Succeeding Henry Waxman will not be an easy task, but I will do all that I can to honor his legacy,” said Congressman Lieu in a media statement.

Also sworn in today were Asian-American incumbents from Northern California, Ami Bera (D, CA-7) and Mike Honda (D, CA-17), survivors of tough challenges in their respective races.

There are now 14 AAPI members in the new 114th Congress, a net increase of one member over the previous Congress. All members are in the House except for Mazie Hirono (D-HI), the lone Asian American in the Senate.