John Chiang, Ex-Calif. treasurer, starts PAC to support Asian-American, Pacific Islander Democrats

John Chiang, who made an unsuccessful bid to be California’s first Asian-American governor, is starting ElectAAPI.org to support AAPI candidates.
California State Treasurer John Chiang - Aug. 13, 2017
California State Treasurer John Chiang, who is running for governor, speaks at a meet-and-greet in Westwood Park in Los Angeles, California, August 13, 2017.Traci G. Lee / NBC News

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By Charles Lam

John Chiang, the former treasurer of California, is starting a political action committee to help Asian-American and Pacific Islander Democrats get elected, he announced Thursday.

The committee, ElectAAPI.org, aims to “take a stand against the discriminatory, right-wing agenda being propagated by the Trump administration,” according to his announcement.

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“Polls show that the values of AAPI voters align with the priorities of the Democratic Party, such as expanding access to health care, investing in higher education, expanding economic opportunity to communities of color, and fixing our broken immigration system,” Chiang, a Democrat who ran for governor of California in 2018, said in a statement. “We cannot take the AAPI community for granted."

The committee plans to make direct financial contributions to candidates as well as mobilize voters and volunteers, its website says.

According to Census Bureau data published in 2016, Asians have been the fastest growing racial group in the U.S. since 2000. 2017 estimates put the population at about 21 million, or about 6.5 percent of the total U.S. population. National exit polls in 2016 found that 65 percent of Asian Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, compared to 27 percent for Donald Trump.

The Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population has also grown in recent years, numbering an estimated 1.4 million, according to 2017 estimates.

“We want to build a more inclusive America," Chiang told The Los Angeles Times. "For too long, Asian Americans have not had the political infrastructure like so many other communities to be as successful in the political arena.”

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