Asian American Republican Elected Officials Gather at GOP Convention

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Board of Equalization Vice Chair Michelle Park Steel

Asian population growth in California is outpacing Hispanic growth by a staggering increase of more than 1.4 million Asians in 2009 in Los Angeles alone, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Underscoring the rising influence of Asian voters is the tendency of this ethnic group to be more sympathetic to Republican policies on two fronts — fiscal and social issues — which highlights their potential as swing voters, according to data from a Los Angeles Times and USC poll in November 2010.

“Dozens of Asian American Republicans have done the hard work to get elected to local offices across the state,” said State Board of Equalization Vice Chair Michelle Park Steel, the highest-ranking Republican in California government and the nation’s highest-ranking Korean American office-holder. “It’s time to get to know more about our future party leaders.”

In a first-of-its kind gathering, Asian American Republican elected officials met with party leaders at the California Republican Party Convention on Sept. 17 at the J.W. Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. Live to collaborate as a team and grow the party across the state.

Featured speakers included five mayors, two county supervisors, eight city council members, school board members and commissioners, as well as new candidates for public office from the Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, and Indian American communities.

The U.S. Census also found that the state leads the nation with the largest number of Asian-owned firms at 509,097 (32.9 percent of all such firms), with receipts of $181.9 billion (35.8 percent of all Asian-owned firm receipts).

Further, there were 1.4 million Asians (self-identified as Asian alone or in combination with one or more other races) in Los Angeles County in 2009, which topped the nation’s counties.

“Intact families, the entrepreneurial spirit and superior education contributes to making Asian Americans a most promising permanent ally for conservatives,” added Steel, who hosted the event with her husband, Shawn Steel, former CRP chair and current Republican National Committee member.

Participants (Partial List)

Ling Ling Chang, mayor pro tem of Diamond Bar

Henry Charoen, mayor pro tem of La Palma

Carol Chen, mayor of Cerritos

Betty Tom Chu, mayor of Monterey Park

Tyler Diep, mayor pro tem of Westminster

Jeremy Yamaguchi, mayor pro tem of Placentia

Steve Hwangbo, councilmember of La Palma

Allen Ishida, supervisor of Tulare County

Janet Nguyen, supervisor of Orange County

Warren Kusumoto, councilmember of Los Alamitos

Alan Nakanishi, councilmember of Lodi and former California Assembly member

Miller Oh, councilmember of Buena Park

Peter Ohtaki, councilmember of Menlo Park

Tri Ta, councilmember of Westminster

Michael Vo, councilmember of Fountain Valley

Sophia Tse, board member of ABC Unified School District, Cerritos

Naresh Solanki, member of Cerritos Planning Commission

Chuong Vo, member of Cerritos Planning Commission

Ricky Gill, candidate for 9th Congressional District (San Joaquin County, east Contra Costa County and south Sacramento County)

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