AAPI Represents in our Nation's Democratic Leadership Roles
As reported by Axios, the number of Asian Americans elected to Congress has increased significantly and is currently at a record high, but represents only about 3% of Congressional membership. As of September 21, 2022, the 117th Congress, which ends on January 3, 2023, includes 18 Asian Americans serving in the House and 2 in the Senate. Once the 2022 midterm election results are finalized, the numbers are expected to remain the same despite one loss of a House seat previously held by an Asian American with the gain of a new seat due to redistricting.
In the House, all sitting Asian American Democrats were re-elected in the midterms. Te seat previously held by Stephanie Murphy (D, Fl) who retired was flipped by Republican Cory Mills.
Redistricting of many of the districts had particularly tight races, but were won by the incumbents, for example Andy Kim (D, NJ).
Shri Thanedar, who gave up his Michigan state house seat, successfully ran for Michigan’s 13th district after the incumbent, Rashida Thaib, due to redistricting, successfully ran in the 12th district. Jill Tokuda also won the seat vacated by Kai Kathele (who unsuccessfully ran as Governor of Hawaii).
Senator Tammy Duckworth won re-election in the 2022 midterms. Senator Mazie Hirono (D, Hawaii) seat was not up for reelection at the midterms, and will continue to represent Hawaii in the new Senate.
On Nov. 30, U.S. Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-CA) was elected incoming vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, the number five position in House Democratic Leadership. Congressman Lieu is the first Asian American elected as vice chair.
While all senators and representatives serve on a number of Congressional committees and caucuses, the following provides a short list of those who are currently chairs or co-chairs:
- Bobby Scott- currently chairs the Committee of Education and Labor.
- Doris Matsui - currently co-chairs: Congressional High-Tech Caucus, the National Service Congressional Caucus, the Congressional Caucus to Cure Blood Cancers and Other Blood Disorders, the House Task Force on Aging and Families, and the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC).
- Pramila Jayapal - currently chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
- Grace Meng - currently is the Vice Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and a Vice Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus.
- Judy Chu - currently chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). She also founded and co-chairs the Congressional Creative Rights Caucus, which advocates for the copyright protections of those in the creative industries.
- Mark Takano - currently chairs the House Veterans Committee, and co- chairs the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC.
- Raja Krishnamoorthi - currently chairs the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy.
Diversity of representatives:
Democrat incumbents continuing in 2023 are from a diverse Asian American background:
- Representatives Doris Matsui (CA), Mark Takano (CA), and Senator Mazie Hirono (HI) are Japanese American. Mark Takano was also the first openly gay person to serve in Congress.
- Representative Judy Chu (CA) is Chinese American - she was the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress.
- Representatives Grace Meng (NY) and Ted Lieu (CA) are Taiwanese Americans.
- Representative Bobby Scott (VA) is Filipino and African American and was the first Filipino to be elected to the House.
- Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL) is Thai American.
- Representatives Ami Bera (CA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL), Pramila Jayapal (WA), and Ro Khanna (CA) are Indian American.
- Representatives Andy Kim (NJ) is Korean American.
- Representative Marilyn Strickland (WA) is Korean and African American.
- Incoming Representative Shri Thanedar (MI) is Indian American.
- Incoming Representative Jill Tokuda (HI) is fourth generation Japanese American.
Non-voting House Delegates
There are currently six non-voting delegates in Congress: a delegate representing the District of Columbia, a resident commissioner representing Puerto Rico, and one delegate for each of the other four permanently inhabited U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Three of the six delegates are Pacific Islanders (2 Democrats, 1 Republican). While they do not vote on legislation, they have a voice in Congress and do vote as appropriate in committees on which they serve.