Tri-Caucus Leaders Urge President-Elect Biden to Nominate an AAPI Cabinet Secretary

Dec 19, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, leaders of the Congressional Tri-Caucus – composed of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) – urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Cabinet Secretary. If an AAPI is not nominated to fill one of the remaining Cabinet Secretary roles, it will be the first time in over 20 years that AAPIs are not represented amongst the 15 Cabinet heads who run executive departments. CAPAC Chair Judy Chu (CA-27), CBC Chair Karen Bass (CA-37), CHC Chair Joaquin Castro (TX-20), CBC Chair-elect Joyce Beatty (OH-03), and CHC Chair-elect Raul Ruiz (CA-36) released the following joint statement:

“President-elect Joe Biden promised to build the most diverse Cabinet in history. But to date, AAPIs have been excluded from the 15 Cabinet Secretary slots that oversee executive departments within our federal government. For too long, AAPIs have been overlooked and left out of important policy discussions impacting communities of color, including on issues like immigration and healthcare. That is why, we, as heads of the Tri-Caucus, are urging President-elect Biden to ensure there is an AAPI Cabinet Secretary, just as there has been for over 20 years.  Already, we are so overjoyed that incredible Black and Hispanic leaders have been named as Cabinet Secretaries. And we are thrilled with the historic nominations of the first Native American and first openly gay Cabinet Secretaries. But without an AAPI Cabinet Secretary, we could not celebrate this as a truly diverse Cabinet because it sends the message that AAPIs do not need to be included. This cuts against the philosophy of the Tri-Caucus.

“We know from our own experiences that embracing diversity is the key to our success. As heads of individual caucuses, we represent communities of color across our nation. As a Tri-Caucus, we represent over half the House Democratic caucus. That means that instead of pitting communities of color against each other to fight for limited resources, our unity allows us to achieve victories on behalf of all communities of color. This same commitment to diversity should be reflected at the top of our government. Not including an AAPI Cabinet Secretary for the first time in over two decades would erode the historic gains the AAPI community has made and send the wrong message that ‘diversity’ does not include AAPIs. If President-elect Biden is looking to build a government that truly reflects the rich diversity of our country, there must be an AAPI Cabinet Secretary. Close to equal is not equal.”