Asian Americans all over U.S. win jobs as government officials

By James Tabafunda
Northwest Asian Weekly

Asian Americans around the country have made history in 2009 in their efforts to become part of the political realm.

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Leland Cheung

City Councilor-elect Leland Cheung, 31, won his race to become the first Asian American and youngest member on the Cambridge (Mass.) City Council. He is a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management.

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Mona Pasquil

A former member of the Democratic National Convention’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, Mona Pasquil has been appointed interim lieutenant governor of California. She takes over for Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, who won his race to represent the state’s 10th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

She becomes the first Filipino American to be appointed to the second highest position in California state government.

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Edward Chen

In California, Edward Chen, an Obama nominee for a federal judgeship, still awaits his approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, the U.S. magistrate from San Francisco would become the first Asian American federal judge in the state’s Northern District.

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Alex Wan

Alex Wan, a candidate for Atlanta (Ga.) City Council, District 6, received 32.2 percent of the votes on Nov. 3 and advances to a Dec. 1 runoff election against Liz Coyle, who received 22.84 percent of the votes. If elected, he would be the first Asian American on the Atlanta City Council.

Compiled here is an informal list of notable Asian American candidates who have won their races for political office. It is, by no means, comprehensive. ♦

James Tabafunda can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

NOTABLE STATE CONTEST

Mark Keam (D), attorney and businessman
Running for Virginia House of Delegates, District 35
Result as of Nov. 20: won with 50.65 percent
First Korean American to serve in state government and the son of Korean immigrants.

NOTABLE CITY CONTESTS

Victor Manalo (D), incumbent
Running for Artesia (Calif.) City Council
Result as of Nov. 20: won with 32.63 percent
Serves as Mayor Pro Tem and becomes Mayor starting December 2010.

Sam Patel (D)
Running for Blythe (Calif.) City Council
Result as of Nov. 20: won with 14.49 percent

Barry Chang (R), businessman
Running for Cupertino (Calif.) City Council
Result as of Nov. 20: won with 16 percent

Tzeitel Paras-Caracci (D)
Running for Duarte (Calif.) City Council
Result as of Nov. 20: won with 18.69 percent

Michiko Oyama-Canada (R)
Running for Hawaiian Gardens (Calif.) City Council
Result as of Nov. 20: won with 14.55 percent
Born in Spokane, Wash., her motto is, “I have never forgotten why I was elected, which is to serve the citizens of this city.”

Jeff Gee (D)
Running for Redwood City (Calif.) City Council
Result as of Nov. 20: won with 24.5 percent
City council’s only Redwood Shores resident.

Ken Ibarra (D), architect and incumbent
Running for San Bruno (Calif.) City Council
Result as of Nov. 20: won with 48.6 percent
Ran unopposed for re-election.

David Lim (D), Alameda County deputy district attorney
Running for San Mateo (Calif.) City Council
Result as of Nov. 20: won with 23.3 percent

Karyl Matsumoto (D), mayor and incumbent
Running for South San Francisco (Calif.) City Council
Result as of Nov. 20: won with 26.6 percent

Margaret Chin (D)
Running for New York (N.Y.) City Council, District 1
Results as of Nov. 20: won with 86 percent
First Chinese American to represent Chinatown district and an immigrant from Hong Kong.

Peter Koo (R), founder of a chain of Flushing drugstores
Running for New York (N.Y.) City Council, District 20
Results as of Nov. 20: won with 48.5 percent
Immigrant from Hong Kong who takes over John Liu’s vacated seat.

John Liu (D)
Running for New York (N.Y.) City Comptroller
Results as of Nov. 20: won with 76 percent
First Chinese American elected to citywide office and born in Taiwan.

WASHINGTON STATE CONTESTS

Lloyd Hara, Seattle port commissioner and small business owner
Running for King County Assessor
Results as of Nov. 20: incomplete, currently 34 percent
Third-generation Japanese American.

Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma City Councilmember
Running for Tacoma Mayor
Results as of Nov. 20: incomplete, currently 51.2 percent
Born in Seoul, Korea, daughter of a U.S. soldier and an immigrant and elected to the at-large position eight City Council seat in 2007.

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