LAS VEGAS — The Japanese American Citizens League elected and installed its National Board for the 2016-2018 biennium on July 14 during the JACL National Convention, held at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Gary Mayeda, a member of the APAN (Asian Pacific American Network) Chapter who has previously served on the National Board, was elected president, succeeding David Lin.
Mayeda and the new board were sworn in by former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta with ABC7 news anchor David Ono serving as emcee.
Mayeda’s candidate statement reads, in part: “Having served in a volunteer leadership position in many community non-profit organizations for nearly 40 years, I have a lot to give the national leadership of JACL.
“Volunteerism started in high school participating in the student body leadership at Eagle Rock High School in Los Angeles … As a college student at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), I was on the leadership of three student organizations and founded two of them.
“The JACL experience for me was one that emphasized service through leadership. The curiosity started when I attended my first National Board meeting in September of 1990 with Lillian Kimura as president.
“Having served on the National Board from 1996 to 2002, I’ve seen first-hand how issues affect districts differently and to be sensitive to them. Serving on nearly every Convention Committee as well as assisting in writing amendments to the National Constitution and Bylaws helped to me understand the organization’s inner workings.
“In 2011, I served as the National Convention chair in Hollywood … where it became the third-highest profitable convention in JACL’s history …
“JACL needs to attain financial stability and sustainability. Using every tool such as personal partnerships and Pacific Citizen advertisers we can develop financial relationship with people that need our outreach and historical knowledge of the APA experience. We need our assets to work for us and we need to coordinate that so that every arm of JACL knows what the other arm is doing.
“With my long-term 28-plus years active history with JACL, I can honorably serve the JACL for you.”
Regarding his plans for the organization, Mayeda told The Rafu Shimpo, “The JACL National Board is younger than it has ever been and this shows that a balance in social justice with traditions is still possible. We thank people like Secretary Mineta for never missing a JACL convention for over 50 years and whose belief in the organization is stronger than ever. With the support of the chapters and leaders of the JACL, we plan to advance the many programs that serve the communities and continue the education of our American stories and contributions to society with the help of our partners and sponsors.”
Mayeda is a consulting engineer in El Segundo, working on building MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) systems, also called HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). He is senior associate/project manager for Infrastructure Consulting Inc. and has been in the business for more than 30 years.
Also elected to the National Board were:
Vice president for general operations — Michelle Amano, Washington, D.C. Chapter, immediate past Eastern District Council governor (succeeding Miko Sawamura)
Vice president for public affairs — Jeffrey Moy, Washington, D.C. Chapter (re-elected)
Vice for planning and development — Matthew Farrells, Twin Cities Chapter, immediate past national secretary/treasurer (succeeding Chip Larouche)
National Youth/Student Council chairperson — Kota Mizutani, Washington, D.C. Chapter (succeeding Nicole Gaddie)
All of the candidates ran unopposed.
Also sworn in were:
Pacific Northwest District Council (PNWDC) governor — Sheldon Arakaki
Northern California-Western Nevada-Pacific District Council (NCWNPDC) governor — David Unruhe
Central California District Council (CCDC) governor — Roberta Barton
Intermountain District Council (IDC) governor — Janet Komoto
Midwest District Council (MWDC) governor — Betsy Sato
Interim Eastern District Council governor — Scott Nakamura
Pacific Southwest District Council (PSWDC) Governor Michelle Yamashiro was unable to attend.
The day after the installation, Mayeda appointed the following officers to positions that remained open:
Vice president for One Thousand Club and membership services — Colleen Morimoto
National secretary/treasurer — Alan Nishi
National Youth/Student Council representative — Kenji Kuramitsu