Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton: ‘As President, I will stand with AAPIs’

This is from an opinion piece originally published on NBC Asian America.

When I heard it, I couldn’t believe  it.

This past week, at a debate in Illinois between the two candidates for the U.S. Senate, Representative Tammy Duckworth — whose mother is Thai and late father was American — mentioned that her family had served in the American military since the Revolutionary War. Tammy carried on that tradition; she became a pilot for the U.S. Army, was deployed to Iraq, and lost both her legs when insurgents shot down her  helicopter.

The correct answer to Congresswoman Duckworth’s comment about her family’s military service is, “Wow. That’s amazing. Thank you, and thanks to your family.”

Instead, her opponent, Senator Mark Kirk, said, “I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”

In other words: you can’t have Thai heritage and trace your American roots back to the start of our nation.

That’s just plain wrong. And sadly, it wasn’t the only racial insult we’ve seen in this election — far from it. Fox News ran a segment that trafficked in the worst racial stereotypes of Asian Americans.

Donald Trump has mocked the accents of Chinese and Indian people in his speeches. More broadly, he promises to round up and deport immigrant families, ban Muslims from entering the United States, and ban immigration from countries like the Philippines. He even said he might have supported interning Japanese Americans during World War II. Does he not understand how shameful that policy was for our country?

It’s 2016. We need to do better. And if I’m elected president, we will.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing racial group in America. I want to make sure they — and all Americans — have every opportunity to get an education, get a good job,    support their families, and contribute to their communities. And I want to bring us together to erase   the prejudice, ignorance, and racism that still touches too many people’s   lives.

Here are three ways my administration will do that.

First, we’ll build an economy that works for everybody, not just those at the top. That means closing the wage gap. Right now, AAPI women earn only 86 cents for every dollar earned by a white   man.

That’s wrong, and we should make it right. We’re also going to help AAPI-owned businesses, which employ nearly 3 million Americans. My plan will cut red tape to make it easier for people to start businesses and access capital. And whenever small businesses experience predatory behavior and discrimination at the hands of people like Donald Trump, we’ll give them the tools they need to fight back.

Second, we need to be strong in the world — not just militarily but also through diplomacy. That means maintaining strong ties with our allies and friends, especially those in the Asia-Pacific region, which is increasingly vital to the world’s economic and security. As Secretary of State, President Obama and I embarked on a “pivot to Asia,” because we knew our relationships there would help us address many important issues, like managing our relationship with China, working with our allies to address the threat from North Korea, and sharing intelligence with Muslim nations in Asia, which   helps keep us safe. As I saw repeatedly at the State Department, the cultural diversity we enjoy here at home is a huge asset to that  work.

Third, we need to build a community of respect here at home. Our country was built on the backs of generations of hard-working immigrants. We need to ensure immigrant families can stay together   today. In the Senate, I worked hard to address the family visa backlog, 40 percent of which is made   up of applicants from the Asia-Pacific region. Right now, it takes a U.S. citizen at least 12 years to get  a visa for a brother or sister in India. Some Filipino Americans have been waiting for family visas for more than two decades.

That’s far too long. I’ll introduce legislation for comprehensive immigration reform that will shorten these timelines. It will also provide undocumented individuals with deep ties to our communities a pathway to citizenship and chance to stay in America. I know this is an issue on the minds of many AAPI families, and I intend to get it  done.

Families with roots in Asia have been part of this nation’s history since our founding. We ought to embrace the cultural heritage and economic vitality that they bring to our nation. During my husband’s administration, we launched the first-ever White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, because we recognized that we could do a better job of serving the AAPI community. As president, I’ll reauthorize that initiative. And I’ll continue to stand with the AAPI community, because I believe that we’re stronger together.

When I launched AAPI for Hillary in January, I talked about a remarkable young woman named  Cheska Perez. Her father brought her to America from the Philippines. He came here on a work visa. Once he lost that job in the recession, their entire family become undocumented.

Cheska didn’t let her status stand in her way. She worked with the ROTC program at her school. She got herself and her siblings enrolled in DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has let young people like Cheska indefinitely stay in the United States. Now she’s working as a deputy data director for our  campaign.

Cheska just wants what so many AAPI immigrant families have discovered in America over the centuries: a chance to build a better life for themselves, and to apply their God-given talents to making America even greater. And she knows that her fate — and that of so many undocumented individuals like her — rests on the outcome of this  election.

On November 8th, we all have a chance to help her realize that dream.

Hillary Clinton

Mark Keam: ‘Proud to Stand with Tim Kaine’

Mark Keam and Tim Kaine

I’ve had the pleasure to have known and worked with Virginia’s Senator Tim Kaine for many years.

Notwithstanding all the national (and international) attention paid to him in the recent days, I still know him as the same down-to-earth guy that I met many years ago with whom I’ve worked with on dozens of issues.

Tim is someone who cares deeply about the most basic things in life and in our society — morality, civility, family values, equity, fairness, justice, and sane and competent government and institutions.

He’s someone who personifies common sense and decency, and he stands for everything that’s right about America even when the pundits proclaim the worst days are yet to come.

Whatever his future holds in the near and far, I’m proud to stand with him and to consider him a friend.

Mark Keam is a Democratic state legislator representing Fairfax County in Virginia House of Delegates since 2010. Mark is also a Leadership Council Co-Chair for the CAPA21 PAC. He originally posted this on Facebook.

Announcements Hillary Clinton

National AAPI Political Committee CAPA21 Endorses Hillary Clinton


The national political action committee CAPA21 formally endorsed Hillary Clinton for President, saying that her track record as an AAPI champion is unmatched by any other presidential candidate of any party.

CAPA21 is the first major AAPI political action committee to endorse Clinton and the first to make an endorsement in the presidential race.

“Hillary Clinton has clearly demonstrated her commitment to AAPI communities and issues,” said Glen S. Fukushima, CAPA21 co-founder and Chair. “As Senator, she was a leader on issues to improve the lives of AAPI families and communities. As Secretary of State, she understood that the importance of the Asia-Pacific region in U.S. foreign policy, which strongly impacts recent AAPI immigrant communities.”

“Hillary Clinton has appointed AAPIs to top positions in her campaign, crafted an AAPI-focused vision, and was the only candidate to hold a major event exclusively devoted to AAPIs,” said Dale Minami, CAPA21 co-founder and President. “A candidate’s actions, not just words, on AAPI priorities preview how she will perform once in office.”

CAPA21 is a national Asian American Pacific Islander PAC based in San Francisco, established in 2014 by Fukushima, Minami, and others to invest in progressive candidates, AAPI field operations, and AAPI voter engagement projects. CAPA21 is a successor to the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA), founded in 1988 as the country’s first national Asian American PAC and served the community until 2008.

“CAPA21’s vision is of a country where AAPIs have a powerful presence and role in all branches and levels of government and politics, achieved through AAPI voters who are engaged and empowered,” said Courtni Sunjoo Pugh, a CAPA21 Leadership Council Co-Chair. “Hillary is the best candidate to help us achieve that vision for AAPIs.”

CAPA21’s Leadership Council Co-Chairs include Ginger Lew, Maeley Tom, Mona Pasquil, Mark Keam, Steve Ngo, Phong La, Tessie Guillermo, Kiran Jain, and Dilawar Syed.

Asian American voters in the last decade have nearly doubled from more than two million voters in 2000 to 3.9 million voters in 2012 (Center for American Progress, AAPI Data). It is estimated that Asian Americans will reach five percent of voters nationally by 2025 and 10 percent of voters by 2044.

Asian American voter numbers are critical swing votes in Nevada, Virginia, and Florida and influenced the presidential elections in those states, as demonstrated in 2008 and again in 2012.

Despite the growing importance of AAPIs, our communities face poor or non-existent language assistance at the voting booth, poor outreach from political parties, and oppressive voter ID laws (Center for American Progress).

In this context, Hillary Clinton’s outreach to AAPI communities has been especially significant.

Secretary Clinton has:

  • Appointed a record number of AAPIs to major roles her campaign, including: Huma Abedin, campaign vice chair; Dennis Cheng, finance director; Maya Harris, senior policy adviser; Mini Timmaraju, women’s outreach director; and Lisa Chandadveja, AAPI outreach director.
  • Created a substantive connection to AAPI communities through the formation of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Hillary Leadership Council, a group of more than 150 elected officials, community, and grassroots leaders.
  • Outlined her positions on AAPI issues through her “Vision for a Thriving AAPI Community,” recognizing continued challenges to our prosperity, such as enduring racism, language barriers, and a gender wage gap.
  • Hosted an official campaign event devoted exclusively to AAPIs on January 7 in San Gabriel, California, joined by Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Rep. Judy Chu and dozens of AAPI elected officials and community leaders from across the nation.

CAPA21 is at and on Twitter @capa21pac.