By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer
SAN GABRIEL — A meet-and-greet between Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Democratic candidate for governor in the Nov. 6 election, and local Asian Pacific Islander elected officials and community leaders was held Oct. 11 at the Sheraton San Gabriel.
Newsom, who met with the local Asian media after the closed-door meeting, touched on a variety of topics, including homelessness, diversity, and the importance of re-establishing California’s trade offices around the world, expecially in Asia. He will face off with Republican John Cox, and the winner will succeed Jerry Brown, who is termed out.
Among those attending the meeting were:
Assemblymember Rob Bonta of Oakland, chair of the API Legislative Caucus;
Jay Chen, a member of the Mt. San Antonio College Board of Trustees and former congressional candidate;
Rep. Judy Chu of Pasadena, chair of the Congresional Asian Pacific American Caucus;
Mike Eng, candidate for State Senate, former member of the Assembly and the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees, and former Monterey Park mayor and councilmember;
Mike Fong, president of the L.A. Community College District Board of Trustees;
Warren Furutani, former member of the Assembly, L.A. Community College District Board of Trustees and L.A. Unified School District Board of Education;
Sukhee Kang, former mayor of Irvine and former House and State Senate candidate;
Jeff Maloney, mayor of Alhambra;
James Toma, West Covina councilmember and former mayor.
Following is The Rafu Shimpo’s interview with Chu:
Q: What issues specific to the API community did you discuss with Newsom?
A: Of course, the issue of immigration is extremely important, primarily because Trump is attacking immigrants so severely and he is scapegoating them. He is a dividing people from one another. This is striking fear in so many different immigrants.
But thank goodness Gavin Newsom has taken a strong and clear stand that he will defend our immigrants and that he will do what he can to protect the immigrants of California.
Q: How are the midterms coming along?
A: I’ve actually been very, very active in the midterm elections, particularly the ones in California. I’ve been regularly visiting the five in Southern California [congressional districts that could flip from Democratic to Republican]because we need to take 23 seats back in order to take back the House, and there will be a dramatic difference once we are able to take back the House.
I’m on the Ways and Means Committee, and the one thing I’m really looking forward to is Day One, when we take back the House, we will demand Trump’s tax returns and he has no choice but to do it because we can issue a subpoena because we’ll be in charge.
Q: Is the mood among Democrats optimistic about taking back the House?
A: All the signs are good, but we must be cautiously optimistic because you never know what can happen in four weeks. And the thing is, people really have to come out and cast that vote. We know that in 2016, there were people that did not come out. We can’t wake up the day after the election like we did in 2016. It was a horrible feeling to see where the country went on that day. We cannot have that happen again.
So it’s so important for everybody who feels strongly that this country needs to change to get out and vote.
Q: Is there any outreach in Asian languages?
A: We have pushed very much for all the candidates to put out their materials in the different Asian languages. And actually we have advocated very strongly for our national Democratic groups to put resources towards the Asian community. I’m very happy to report that the Democratic National Committee allocated funds for four staffers to go into the Orange County area to do special outreach to Asians.
Q: What are your thoughts on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court?
A: It was horrible that Kavanaugh got the nomination. He was arrogant, angry, entitled, and I believe he just outright lied [during the confirmation hearing]. But what was the worst was that his nomination was a slap in the face to all the sexual assault victims in this country.
Q: Did the House have any role in what happened?
A: I must tell you that I did join on that last day, the women of the House. We marched from the House to the Senate and then we took our places in the Senate hearing room and then we did a silent protest. We stood up and we raised our voices where we could.