Washington, D.C. (Nov. 12, 2014) — The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) congratulates all the newly elected Members of Congress and celebrates the accomplishments of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in federal, state and local elections. APAICS welcomes 3 newly elected AAPI Members of Congress and 9 AAPI incumbents to the 114th Congress, with one race too close to call (California’s 7th Congressional District).
Newly elected Members of Congress include Aumua Amata (American Samoa), Ted Lieu (CA-33) and Mark Takai (HI-01). Ted Lieu is the first Asian American to represent California’s 33rd Congressional district in Los Angeles. Aumua Amata is the first woman to represent American Samoa as a Congressional delegate.
The 2015 class of elected state legislators includes 95 AAPIs serving in 19 states. Of those 95, 69% are males and 31% are females. Many of the newly elected state legislators were also trailblazers in their home states:
Stephanie Chang is the first Asian American woman to enter Michigan’s House of Representatives.
Rady Mom is the first Cambodian American in Massachusetts’s House of Representatives.
Ervin Yen is the first Asian American to win a seat in Oklahoma’s state legislature.
Pramila Jayapal of Seattle is the first Indian-American and only woman of color in Washington’s State Senate.
Statewide victories include:
Incumbent Nikki Haley won her reelection bid to her second term as Governor of South Carolina with 56% of the vote. Haley is the first woman to serve as Governor in the state and is one of two sitting Indian American governors in the United States.
David Ige won the seat for Hawaii’s Governor with close to fifty percent of the vote, succeeding over two other AAPI candidates, Duke Aiona and Mufi Hannemann. Shan Tsutsui will join David Ige in office as Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii.
In California, 4 AAPIs were elected to statewide offices and courts. Indian American Kamala Harris was reelected to her second term as Attorney General of California, Chinese American John Chiang was elected as State Treasurer, and Betty Yee was elected as State Controller. In the judicial branch, Goodwin Liu’s nomination to the State Supreme Court was approved by California voters.
In Utah, Filipino American Sean D. Reyes was elected to his first full-term as Attorney General. He is the first ethnic minority of any race to hold a statewide office in Utah.
This year continued the growing trend of political involvement of AAPIs, but the current landscape is still not representative of the U.S. population. As AAPIs are the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, with a projection of comprising 9% of the U.S. population by 2050, there needs to be more outreach and support for AAPI civic and political engagement. Floyd Mori, CEO/President says, “The 2014 November Election marked another milestone for AAPI candidates at all levels of government. AAPIs continue to show they are electable in any kind of political climate. We need to continue to develop the political pipeline and foster greater civic engagement in all forms from voting, community outreach, and leadership skills so we can continue to see new classes of AAPI political figures in 2016 and the years after.”