VOX POPULI: Antonio Villaraigosa and Asian Americans

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Antonio Villaraigosa and George Nakano

By GEORGE NAKANO

Antonio Villaraigosa is the only gubernatorial candidate to demonstrate leadership to the underrepresented people in California.

I had the honor and privilege of serving with Antonio during his speakership in the California State Assembly from 1999 through 2000. During those two years, Asian Americans represented nearly 10% of the California population, but less than 2% of the state legislators.

Through his leadership as the speaker, we were able to provide funding for the underrepresented, the Asian Americans. Among the beneficiaries were the following:

• Chinese American Museum ($500,000)

• Japanese American National Museum ($1,000,000)

• Historical Restoration of Manzanar Camp ($150,000)

• California Civil Liberties Public Education Program (CCLPEP Extended for two years at $1,000,000 per year) — grants for education programs related to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII into American concentration camps

• 100th/442nd/MIS World War II Memorial Foundation ($500,000) — for the expansion of the existing education and teacher training program regarding Japanese American military units in World War II, the most decorated in U.S. history

• Directed CalTrans to replace the four existing Sadao S. Munemori signs at the 105/405 freeway interchange with new signs that read: “Sadao S. Munemori Memorial Interchange, MEDAL OF HONOR — WORLD WAR II”

• Designated State Highway 1 in Los Angeles County as Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway to honor the veterans of the Vietnam War

As governor of California, Antonio Villaraigosa will reach out to all the people of California. He has the courage and the insight to successfully meet all the challenges that will face us.

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George Nakano was a member of the California State Assembly (1998-2004), Torrance City Council (1984-1998), U.S. Air Force Reserves (1960-1962) and California Air National Guard (1954-1960). Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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