CAPAC Urges Biden to Appoint AAPIs to Cabinet

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CAPAC members include (from left) Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Grace Meng, Sen. Mazie Hirono, Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Sen. Kamala Harris.

WASHINGTON — The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus is urging President-elect Joe Biden to appoint Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to his Cabinet.

Biden has begun announcing his choices for the Cabinet and other top-level positions, including women and people of color, but no AAPI nominees have been revealed so far.

In a Nov. 21 letter to Biden, CAPAC members said:

“On behalf of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), we commend you for pledging to make diversity a priority as you work to build a talented and inclusive administration that truly reflects our nation. This work is more imperative now than ever as our country confronts multiple crises – including the devastating health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as centuries of systemic racism and inequality in our society – that disproportionately affect communities of color.

“As you work to assemble your administration, CAPAC urges you to appoint highly qualified Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) candidates to your Cabinet and to ensure that AAPIs account for at least seven percent of Cabinet-level and other appointed personnel within the federal workforce.

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are seven percent of the U.S. population and the fastest-growing racial group in the nation, with over 23 million AAPIs living in this country today. AAPIs are also the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. electorate and turned out in record numbers in the 2020 election, with over two-thirds of the AAPI vote supporting your election.

“For over two decades, there has been at least one AAPI appointed to serve in the Cabinet of both Democratic and Republican administrations. In fact, the Obama Administration included a record three AAPI Cabinet secretaries and the Trump Administration included two AAPI women in the Cabinet. In order to ensure your administration is filled with appointees who truly reflect the strength and diversity of our nation, we urge you to continue this trend of appointing AAPI candidates to the Cabinet and prioritizing AAPI representation throughout your administration.

“Thank you again for your commitment to appointing diverse leaders within your Cabinet who are equipped to serve all segments of our society. Prioritizing diverse voices at the highest levels of our federal government will ensure that critical issues impacting AAPIs and other traditionally underrepresented communities receive the conscientious care and attention that they deserve.”

The letter was signed by:

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), CAPAC chair

Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), CAPAC first vice chair

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii)

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside), CAPAC second vice chair

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), CAPAC whip

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento)

Rep. Ami Bera (D-Sacramento)

Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.)

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.)

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.)

Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-Northern Mariana Islands)

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara)

Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.)

Rep. TJ Cox (D-Bakersfield)

Delegate Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (D-Guam)

Marilyn Strickland, congresswoman-elect (D-Wash.)

Kaiali’i Kahele, congressman-elect (D-Hawaii)

CAPAC has congratulated one of its members, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), on being elected the nation’s first female, first African American and first Asian American vice president.

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