Headlines | 11.8.17

2017 Elections: A Night of Firsts

A Night of Firsts: Wave of New AAPIs & Minorities Win Their Contests 

Last night, we witnessed several huge wins for Asian Americans and minorities in this 2017 general election. 

Read below about AAPI candidates who show us what happens when people show up and vote:

We applaud the success of our very own APAICS Leadership Academy Alumni who ran winning campaigns!

Jacob Fitisemanu: elected to West Valley City Council – District 4

Michelle Wu: re-elected to Boston City Council. Wu is the first Asian American woman to serve on the council, and the first woman of color to serve as President, which she was elected as through a unanimous vote in January 2016.

Sam Shim: re-elected as Vice President of Worthington City Schools Board of Education, Ohio


We would also like to recognize the following alumni of APAICS’ Leadership Academies for running a strong campaign:

Jannie Chung

Nadya Okamoto

JinAh Kim


The following are some noteworthy AAPIs that ran and won successful campaigns in various levels of government:

Kathy Tran

A Vietnamese refugee, Kathy Tran has became the first Asian-American woman to join Virginia’s House of Delegates, representing the state’s 42nd District. She will replace David Albo, who served for 24 years.










Ravi Bhalla

City Councilman Ravi Bhalla won a six-person mayoral race in the city of Hoboken, and will become the first Sikh mayor in the state of New Jersey.

This win follows false racist attacks on Bhalla circulating the city.


Falguni Patel & Jerry Shi

Incumbent Jerry Shi and newcomer Falguni Patel have been elected to the Edison public school board, after experiencing a racist campaign of mailers sent to the residents of Edison, New Jersey.








Vin Gopal

Former Monmouth County Democratic chairman Vin Gopal, defeated longtime state Sen. Jennifer Beck in New Jersey’s 11th¬†legislative district.


Other candidates from underrepresented groups who were successful in this election:

Danica Roem: the first openly transgender state lawmaker elected to the state‚Äôs House of Delegates, unseating Virginia Del. Bob Marshall (R), who introduced the ‚Äúbathroom bill‚ÄĚ to prohibit transgender students from using the bathroom of their choice.

Andrea Jenkins: elected to the Minneapolis City Council, becoming the first openly transgender African-American woman elected to the city council of a major U.S. city, and the first openly transgender person of color elected to office in the United States.

Jenny Durkan: winning the mayoral race of the city of Seattle makes her the first lesbian mayor in Seattle.

Melvin Carter III: elected St. Paul, Minnesota’s first mayor of color.

Justin Fairfax: elected Virginia’s next lieutenant governor, making him the second African-American to win statewide in Virginia.

Sheila Oliver: elected the first female African-American lieutenant governor in New Jersey. According to HuffingtonPost, ‚ÄúOliver is no stranger to breaking records: She became the first African-American woman to be elected as Assembly speaker in New Jersey and only the second black female speaker in U.S. history.‚ÄĚ

Vi Lyles: elected as Charlotte, North Carolina’s first female African-American mayor.

Yvonne Spicer: elected the very first mayor of Framingham, Massachusetts. Framingham residents recently voted to become a city‚ÄĒconsidered the largest town in American until now. This vote will change way the government will be run, now with a mayor and city council.

Tyler Titus: won a seat on the Erie School Board, becoming the first openly transgender person to ever be elected in the state of Pennsylvania. 

Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala: defeated Republican incumbents, becoming the first two Latinas elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.


If yesterday’s election is indicative of the future of government, there is promise that government, on all levels, is starting to reflect the people it represents.


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