Washington, D.C. (February 14, 2011) – The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies hosted a February 10 reception to welcome Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to the 112th Congress. The event, held in the Rayburn House Office Building also served to congratulate Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) on her new role as CAPAC Chair. She replaces Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) who stepped down just last week after leading CAPAC as Chair for seven years and an unprecedented four congresses.
Rep. Chu praised Honda’s record of leadership and joked about his fun-loving personality.
“Believe it or not, some people actually think Asians are reserved, quiet and conservative. Well, after experiencing Mike Honda, no one has that stereotype anymore,” said Chu.
At the end of her remarks, Chu presented Honda with a framed picture from the Immigration Pre-Rally in March 2010 in Franklin Park, Washington, D.C., a photo that she believed captured Rep. Honda’s commitment to being an outspoken advocate for social justice.
Former Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, founder of both APAICS and CAPAC, said that he was pleased to have this opportunity to recognize Honda’s “years of dedicated service and his leadership in CAPAC and Congress,” and acknowledged the dramatic growth in CAPAC’s size and influence since its founding.
Honda highlighted a string of accomplishments that occurred during his multiple terms, including the establishment of the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions, compensation for Filipino World War II veterans that fought for the United States. He also noted the designation by the Department of Housing and Urban Development of the first housing counseling intermediary that serves the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, and the inclusion of provisions in the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act that guarantee access to the ballot for language minorities, and the re-establishment of the White House Initiative on AAPIs under President Obama.
“I am so proud of the growth that AAPI communities have experienced, and am so proud to have been a part of the legacy of this great caucus,” said Honda.
Honda acknowledged the many members of Congress who made history during his tenure, including Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate and the highest ranking AAPI politician in American history; former Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao of New Orleans, LA, the first Vietnamese American Member of Congress; Rep. Judy Chu of Los Angeles, CA, the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress; Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, the first Member to represent the Northern Mariana Islands; and Rep. Hansen Clarke of Detroit, MI, the first Bangladeshi American to serve in Congress.
APAICS Acting Executive Director Ruby G. Moy introduced APAICS Board Secretary Fred Underwood to welcome more than 350 guests including the two newest CAPAC members, Rep. Hansen Clarke (MI) and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (HI).
Returning CAPAC members included, Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo (GU), Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA), Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (MP), Rep. Jerry McNerney (CA), Rep. Barbara Lee (CA), Rep. Lynn Woolsey (CA), and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX).
Several Administration appointees and dignitaries were present including, VA Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth, HHS Assistant Secretary Howard Koh, DOL Chief Judge Paul Igasaki, OFCCP Deputy Director Les Jin, HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary Francey Youngberg, and Ambassador Kittiphong Na Ranong of Thailand.
The program ended with Ruby G. Moy’s presentation of floral bouquets to both Chu and Honda. Moy thanked the latter for the opportunity to work with him and his office for the past several years, and expressed her desire to build on that relationship with the new CAPAC Chairwoman and her staff.
The event was made possible through the generous support of the Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, CBS, Clear Channel, Google, Oscar T. Ramirez, National Association of Broadcasters, RIM, Time Warner Cable, and Organization of Chinese Americans.
APAICS (www.apaics.org) is a national non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office. Founded in 1994 by former Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, APAICS serves as a resource to Congress and the general public on issues related to the political advancement of Asian Pacific Americans.