WASHINGTON– The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) and the League of California Cities Asian Pacific Islander Caucus just held a successful Los Angeles Regional Leadership Academy on July 21st and 22nd at Los Angeles City Hall. The Regional Leadership Academy is a two-day training program that focuses on developing leadership skills and professionally empowering AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) leaders. It delivers practical training and development to those considering public office and local office-holders who seek higher office. APAICS hosts Regional Leadership Academies across the country in partnership with regional organizations. Attendees from previous APAICS Leadership Academies have gone on to hold local and state offices in Michigan, California, and states and counties across the nation.
(Local and state elected officials were excited for the Summer Networkign Reception hosted by APAICS and the League of CA Cities-API Caucus after the first day of the leadership academy.)
The LA Regional program featured notable speakers and moderators from the local, state, and national AAPI political community, including: Congressman Ted Lieu; Assemblyman Phillip Chen; Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi; Assemblyman Mike Eng; Assemblyman Ed Chau; Rosemead Mayor Polly Low; Councilmember David Ryu; Councilwoman Elect Monica Rodriguez; CA State Controller Betty Yee; Culver City Councilman Thomas Small; Deborah Ikeda, Trustee, State Center Community College District; Angelov Farooq, Trustee, Riverside Unified School District Board; Linda Wah, Trustee, Pasadena City College; Henry Lo, Garvey School Board Member; Sharon Yang from Facebook’s Global Politics and Government Outreach; and Craig Tomiyoshi, Vice President of Consumer Engagement with the IW Group, Inc.
(Los Angeles Regional Leadership Academy participants pose for a group photo at the end of their second day of programming.)
“Our Regional Leadership Academies provide inroads for Asian American politicians at all levels of service, from those just stepping into local government to those contemplating a state or national campaign run,” said APAICS President and CEO S. Floyd Mori. “Our programming covers broad topics such as social media as well as narrower, state and area-specific topics like affordable housing and economic development. We’re trying to equip community leaders with an interest in running for elected office as well as political leaders with the skills and tools necessary to lead in the public sphere.”
(League of CA Cities API Caucus Executive Director Annie Lam and APAICS President & CEO Floyd Mori welcoming participants to the second day of programming.)
The first panel, “Transition from Local to State or National Elected Office,” occurred Friday evening following a full day of campaign skills workshops. After a keynote by Congressman Ted Lieu, Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, Mayor Polly Low and Former Assemblyman Mike Eng discussed their journeys from local office to state and national representation. Experienced public servants provided their perspectives and experiences on how, why, and when to run for higher office.
(Congressman Ted Lieu sharing keynote remarks on his experiences in elected office with participants.)
The panel’s insight into running for office set the stage for policy roundtables on Friday, where rooms of 35-40 presenters and academy participants came together to discuss salient local policy issues. The first roundtable on affordable housing featured: Culver City Councilman Thomas Small; Dhakshike Wickrema, Deputy for Homelessness and Mental Health at the Office of Supervisor Ridley-Thomas; and John Choi from AirBnB. It was moderated by Daniel Huynh of LA Family Housing.
Immediately following the housing discussion was another roundtable on economic development in the LA metropolitan area. Participants learned about the specific challenges, industries, and nuances of the area’s economy. Deryck Spooner of the American Petroleum Institute, Kenney Tran from Walmart, Ron Miller from the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council and Kevin Tamaki from AT&T addressed participants on the role local officials play in the region’s industry and development opportunities. APAICS President and CEO S. Floyd Mori moderated.
(John Choi (Southern CA Policy Manager, AirBnB), Vice Mayor Thomas Small (Culver City), Dhakshike Wickrema (Assistant Senior Deputy for Homelessness and Mental Health, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas), and moderator Daniel Huynh (Director of Real Estate, LA Family Housing), discuss the challenges and solutions regarding affordable housing.)
Finally, a third roundtable highlighted the importance of public education in the LA region’s policy conversations. It was moderated by Deborah Ikeda of the State Center Community College District Board of Trustees. The panel included: UTLA Treasurer Arlene Inouye; Riverside Unified School District Board of Education Trustee Angelov Farooq; Pasadena City College Trustee Linda Wah; and Garvey School Board Member Henry Lo. They discussed the current state of public education in LA county as well as what they considered need-to-know issues for local politicians.
Local policy discussion, other networking opportunities, and communications training facilitated by media professionals are key highlights from the two-day training. Attendees walked away with campaign and fundraising skills, a greater knowledge of important regional policy details, and a larger network of other Asian American leaders and politicians.
ABOUT APAICS: The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) is a national non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office. APAICS programs focus on developing leadership, building public policy knowledge, and filling the political pipeline for Asian Pacific Americans to pursue public office at the local, state, and federal levels.