Blog | Media | 12.2.20

End of 2020 Cycle & Thank You to Community


Dear APAICS community:

From record AAPI voter turnout across the country to 346 AAPI candidates appearing on the ballot this year, APAICS is thrilled to see more AAPIs civically engaged and pursuing public service than ever before. Thank you to the candidates and the thousands of staff and volunteers working around the clock for a candidate or cause they believed in. We hope you take some time to rest, recharge, and gear up for 2021!

Following the results of the 2020 cycle, APAICS celebrates the hundreds of AAPIs who ran for public office at all levels, including 37 alumni from our programs. APAICS also congratulates all of the re-elected or newly elected AAPIs who will continue leading, whether it’s on a local school board or the top of the ticket with our nation’s first ever AAPI Vice President. With numerous first time milestones, 2020 marks a significant step forward for AAPIs entering public office.

This is just a small snapshot of the record-breaking milestones for AAPIs in the 2020 election. For a more detailed look into this year’s AAPI candidates, check out the APAICS 2020 Candidate Pipeline here. If you or anyone you know is missing, please email us at: programs@apaics.org.

First time milestone highlights:

    • Kamala Harris, first AAPI and female Vice President
    • First Korean American women elected to Congress
      • Young Kim (California)
      • Michelle Steel (California)
      • Marilyn Strickland (Washington)
    • Kai Kahele, first Native Hawaiian Member of Congress since Senator Akaka
    • Francesca Hong, first AAPI elected to the Wisconsin state legislature
    • Alex Lee, youngest AAPI and first openly bisexual candidate elected to the California State Assembly
    • Kesha Ram, first woman of color and first AAPI to be elected to the Vermont state senate
    • Nikil Saval, first AAPI elected to the Pennsylvania state senate
    • Emily Weber, first AAPI woman elected to the Missouri state legislature
    • First South Asian Americans elected to the New York State Assembly
      • Jenifer Rajkuma
      • Zohran Mamdani
    • Mai Xiong, first person of Hmong descent elected in Michigan

APAICS Alumni

APAICS also had 37 alumni run for office in 2020 from our signature training programs, the National Leadership Academy and Regional Leadership Academies. Congratulations to our 20 alumni who were newly elected or re-elected this year!

Name State Office
Jason Morimoto CA Las Lomitas Elementary School District Board
Lisa Motoyama CA El Cerrito city council
Suely Saro CA Long Beach City Council
Mai Vang CA Sacramento City Council
Kevin Hayakawa CA Walnut Valley Water District Board of Directors
Soonhee Bailey CA Eighth Judicial District Court
Allister Chang DC DC School Board
Brian Taniguchi HI Hawaii State Senator
Chris Lee HI Hawaii State Senator
Joy San Buenaventura HI Hawaii State Senator
Linda Ichiyama HI Hawaii House of Representatives
Mark Nakashima HI Hawaii House of Representatives
Patrick Branco HI Hawaii House of Representatives
Scott Saiki HI Hawaii House of Representatives
Takashi Ohno HI Hawaii House of Representatives
Fue Lee MN Minnesota House of Representatives
Jay Xiong MN Minnesota House of Representatives
Bita Yeager NV Nevada District Court
Rochelle Nguyen NV Nevada State Assembly
Mia Gregerson WA Washington House of Representatives
Jason Morimoto CA Las Lomitas Elementary School District Board

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Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies

APAICS 27th Annual Awards Gala

Thursday, May 13, 2021 Pre-show 5:30 PM ET | General Program 6:00 PM ET