Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Win Elections Across the Country

  Victories Critical in Progressive Movement Against Trump Nationalist Anti-Immigrant Agenda

WASHINGTON – AAPI Progressive Action is proud of the electoral gains made by progressive Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) candidates across the country on November 7, 2017. It is clear from the election results that AAPIs are making waves against Donald Trump’s reactionary, repressive, and regressive policies by electing officials who will stand up for the community.

Highlighted statewide electoral wins:

  • Manka Dhingra’s victory in Washington’s 45th District over a conservative Asian American reaffirms that AAPIs—who make up 15 percent of that district—support progressive values. Her victory gives the Democrats control of both the executive and legislative branches.  
  • Kathy Tran won the 42nd District of the Virginia House of Delegates by nearly a two-to-one margin. Her victory, along with other Democratic wins, has the potential to flip the House of Delegates to the Democrats. She is the first Vietnamese American and Asian American woman elected to statewide office in Virginia. 
  • Kelly Convirs-Fowler, a Filipino American, defeated a four-term conservative Filipino American incumbent in the 41st District of the Virginia House of Delegates. She joins Tran and Korean American Mark Keam in the House.
  • Vin Gopal defeated an 11-year incumbent in the 11th District of the New Jersey State Senate. He is the first South Asian American elected to that statehouse.
  • Ravi Bhalla won the mayoral election in Hoboken, New Jersey despite a vicious racist flyer distributed against him. Ravi is the second Sikh American mayor in U.S. history.

Progressive AAPIs were also victorious in local elections. Jacob “Jake” Fitisemanu, Jr., one of AAPI Progressive Action’s National Advisory Council members, was elected to the City Council of West Valley, Utah, part of a six-win total for progressives in Salt Lake County municipal elections. Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel won seats on the school board in Edison, New Jersey, after racist flyers were passed out calling for their deportation, despite both being American citizens.

AAPI Progressive Action celebrates these victories and recognizes that these elections were won through collaboration and partnership with other progressive communities. These coalitions led to the victories of Democrats in the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia. The election of Justin Fairfax as Lieutenant Governor, the second African American to hold statewide office, and of Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman, the first two Latinas in the Virginia House of Delegates repudiated the efforts of white supremacists in the state.

AAPI Progressive Action is proud to work alongside progressive activists and leaders to empower people, fight against racism, and protect all human and civil rights.

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Leading Asian Americans Launch AAPI Progressive Action for a Strong and Diverse America

WASHINGTON – Launching today, AAPI Progressive Action will work to empower Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to build a strong and diverse America. Through collaboration with communities and leaders, AAPI Progressive Action will take immediate steps to formulate and promote domestic policies of importance to AAPI communities, engage in direct advocacy with lawmakers, and work to elect progressive voices across the country. The organization is founded by leading progressive voices in the AAPI community, including former commissioners of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

“We have seen a rise in hate crimes against Muslims and South Asians, along with legislative and executive actions that are openly hostile to AAPI communities, particularly immigrants and the poor,” said Dr. Tung Nguyen, former Chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs.  “Having been subjected to exclusion, internment, and forced invisibility, our people will fight to ensure that such injustices will never happen again to us or to any other American.”

AAPI Progressive Action is unique among AAPI advocacy groups because of the combination of diversity of ethnic groups involved, a data-driven approach, and the explicit goal of impacting policies and elections. By engaging in direct advocacy, AAPI Progressive Action is uniquely situated to engage with Congressional lawmakers who can affect change with their votes. For lawmakers who vote against progressive polices, AAPI Progressive Action will challenge their votes and work to find others who understand the community’s priorities.

“Even though AAPIs are the fastest-growing racial groups in the country, we lack the political power to influence the issues affecting our community,” said Chris Lu, former White House Cabinet Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Labor. “AAPI Progressive Action will give us a long overdue seat at the table.”

In addition, AAPI Progressive Action will conduct and disseminate culturally and linguistically tailored analyses of policies that affect AAPIs through mainstream and ethnic media, social media, and social networks. The organization will promote a progressive agenda that includes protection of civil and immigrant rights, access to quality education and health care, opportunities for economic growth that are mutually beneficial for business and labor communities, and protecting the environment. 

Building on the unprecedented AAPI turnout in the 2016 elections, AAPI Progressive Action will partner with national and local AAPI leaders and allied organizations to address the lack of accurate AAPI voter data files, minimal inclusion of AAPIs in polling data, and to engage and empower AAPIs through the electoral process.  

AAPI Progressive Action will focus its immediate efforts on areas that have a significant AAPI electorate and look for important Congressional and state government wins in the upcoming elections. “Our community can no longer be marginalized because we will be the margin of victory for progressive candidates,” said Dr. Nguyen.

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