CAPAC Welcomes Newly Elected Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to Congress

Nov 7, 2012

Washington, DC – Tuesday’s historic election will send several new Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to the U.S. Congress, many of whom will be setting historic firsts when they are officially sworn in. One new AAPI candidate was elected to serve in the U.S. Senate, four in the House of Representatives, and a fifth House candidate is currently in the lead with the race too close to call.

“Last night, the American people spoke, and they chose leaders that better reflect the diversity of our nation,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). “The 113th Congress will include more women and minorities than ever before, which means that the people making decisions for Americans will look more like America. I am thrilled to welcome our newly elected Asian American and Pacific Islander Members, and I look forward to working with all of my colleagues to move our nation forward.”

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (HI-02), Chair of CAPAC’s Education Taskforce, won her Senate race and made history as the first Asian immigrant, first Buddhist, and first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. Senate. She will also be the first woman Senator to represent the state of Hawaii.

The four new Asian American and Pacific Islander Members elected to the House of Representatives have also broken historic barriers with their respective wins: Grace Meng as the first Asian American Member of Congress elected to represent the state of New York; Tammy Duckworth from Illinois as the first Thai American woman and woman veteran injured in combat to serve in Congress; Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii as the first Hindu American and first Pacific Islander woman to serve in Congress; and Mark Takano from California as the first openly gay candidate of color to win a Congressional seat. A fifth House candidate, Dr. Ami Bera from California, is currently holding the lead in a close race that has yet to be decided.

“Today is a first for Congress,” said Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15). “The next Congress will see more Asian American and Pacific Islander Members of Congress than ever before. As chair emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, this is everything I've worked to create and I’m thrilled to see Congress more diverse than the day I started. That goes for the more Hispanic American 113th Congress, the first openly gay Senator in history, and the first Asian American woman in the Senate too.  Congress is slowly, but surely, starting to better represent America.  Today is also a voting first.  Having traveled the country during this election, getting out the Asian American and Pacific Islander vote in swing states like Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Virginia, I know that we witnessed the highest voter turnout ever among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.  We moved the dial of democracy forward and more minorities voted than ever before.”

In addition to welcoming the newly elected Members, Chairwoman Chu also thanked departing CAPAC Executive and Associate Members for their service.

“CAPAC thanks Senator Daniel K. Akaka (HI), Rep. Hansen Clarke, Rep. Howard Berman, Rep. Bob Filner, Rep. Laura Richardson, Rep. Pete Stark, and Rep. Lynn Woolsey for championing the issues of the AAPI community and of all Americans during their time in Congress,” said Chu. “Their presence and commitment to CAPAC’s mission will be greatly missed, and we hope to continue the great work that they have done in the next Congress.”


The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.