Asian Americans to take city hall, even U.S. senate?

By Lee Xie
Northwest Asian Weekly

It’s safe to say that there’s a shortage of Asians in government-related jobs, but here are some candidates who might change that. From senator hopefuls to judge contenders, here are the Asians in Washington running for office in 2010.

Charles Allen
Running for United States senator

In the Washington state voters guide, Charles Allen states, “Washingtonians deserve a senator who is not a career politician, but rather, someone who understands the everyday struggles of life.”

He continues, “I am running for U.S. senator because I want to lead our state and our nation in a new direction. I will work to rebuild our manufacturing base, expand our aerospace, agriculture, and technology industries, and restore an inventive and entrepreneurial spirit to all businesses that call Washington home.”

On Allen’s website, he shares, “I have always had a passion for my country as well as a deep interest in politics. I believe that politics has an incredible ability to directly impact and change peoples’ lives.”

Allen has seven years of experience in health care administration, logistics management, and sales, with additional experience in project management. He served four years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Allen is running against Norma D. Gruber, Mohammad H. Said, Goodspaceguy, Mike the Mover, Paul Akers, Mike Latimer, James (Skip) Mercer, Clint Didier, Schalk Leonard, Patty Murray, Bob Burr, William Edward Chovil, Dino Rossi, and Will Baker.

Doris Fujioka McConnell
Running for state representative, position 1, 32nd district

Doris Fujioka McConnell’s website states, “Doris has the integrity, respect, collaborative skills, dedication, and independence that all citizens want in their elected officials and would be honored to work for you in Olympia.”

It continues, “As a PTA member, Doris has worked to improve our schools, and as Shoreline City Council member, she fought against cuts to public safety and human service programs.”

McConnell has served as a Shoreline City Council member, as a member of the King County Regional Water Quality Committee, as Chair of the Suburban Cities Domestic Violence Initiative, as a member of the Suburban Cities Seashore Transportation Forum, as a Precinct Committee officer, and as a board member of the Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials.

McConnell is running against Cindy Ryu and Art Coday.

Shahram Hadian
Running for state representative, position 1, 44th district

In the Washington state voters guide, Shahram Hadian states, “My priorities are safer communities, job creation, and prioritizing education. I will fight to cut taxes, slash government waste, protect our police officers, and put more teachers in the classrooms, not the district headquarters.” Hadian is running for Washington State House of Representatives in the 44th District.

Hadian is currently working as a pastor for Christ the King Community Church. He graduated from Puget Sound Christian College with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies and has been working as a pastor for the past eight and a half years.

Hadian is running against Bob McCaughan and Hans Dunshee.

Bob Hasegawa
Running for state representative, position 2, 11th district

Bob Hasegawa is running for a fourth term as 11th district state representative.

In the Washington state voters guide, Hasegawa’s page states, “Bob, a lifelong 11th District resident who lives in his childhood home, understands our district. He fights for us, invigorated by the challenges and opportunities in our schools and communities. Bob reflects our strong work ethic that demands access to good jobs and economic development opportunities.”

Hasegawa has served on the Executive Board of the King County Labor Council, the national Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the Jobs with Justice Workers’ Rights Board, the Center for Social Justice, the Japanese American Citizens League, the Boards of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington.

Bob Hasegawa is running against Jackie Moore and John Potter.

Steve Hobbs
Running for state senator, 44th district

Steve Hobbs is running for re-election as state senator from the 44th district.

In the Washington state voters guide, the senator’s page states, “Steve recognizes that state government must exercise fiscal responsibility and live within its means. That’s why he opposed repealing the voter approved I-960 and voted against raising taxes during these difficult times. An independent voice for us, Sen. Hobbs will continue to fight for family wage jobs, a solid public school system, funding to reduce traffic congestion, and road improvements on Highway 2 and Highway 9.”

Hobbs has been a member of the Washington State Senate since 2006. He serves as vice chair of the Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee, and sits on the Early Learning & K-12 Education and Ways & Means Committees. Hobbs is a member of the Washington Army National Guard and served in Iraq and Kosovo.

Hobbs is running against Ryan Ferrie, Dave Schmidt, and Lillian Kaufer.

Chris Marr
Running for state senator, 6th district

In the Washington state voters guide, Chris Marr’s  page states, “Chris Marr knows Spokane. Before he was our state senator, Chris built a successful local business on the foundation of Spokane values: honesty, hard work, and living within a budget. He learned these values from his mother, who raised four kids alone, working two jobs to make ends meet. Chris promised that he would fight for our fair share of state resources, and he has delivered for Spokane families and businesses.”

Marr currently serves as vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee and is Majority Whip. He also sits on the Environment, Water, and Energy Committee, the Health and Long Term Care Committee, and the Rules Committee. In addition, he serves on the Life Sciences Discovery Fund Board and the Group Health Foundation Board.

Chris Marr is running against Michael Baumgartner.

Mike Park
Running for mayor of Federal Way

Mike Park has served as a Federal Way City Council member for 15 years and is now running for mayor of Federal Way.

In the King County voter’s pamphlet, he states, “I have built the foundation of economic growth as chair of the Finance, Economic Development, and Regional Affairs Committee by focusing on local, small business development. I will create jobs by continuing to attract new business and investment.”

Because he wanted to make sure that his daughters grew up in a safe city, Park joined the Federal Way Safety Task Force in 1992. He was later chair of the Public Safety Committee while Federal Way formed its police department in 1996, which later became nationally accredited. Federal Way is now the second safest city in King County.

On his website, Park vouches, “I am Federal Way’s most dedicated leader, its most experienced, and its longest serving. As the only independent candidate, I will ensure that all your voices are heard and serve the interests of the people by working with all parties.”

Park is running against Jim Ferrell, Linda Kochmar, and Skip Priest.

Cindy Ryu
Running for state representative, position 1, 32nd district

On her website, Cindy Ryu states, “It has been an honor serving you on the Shoreline City Council and as the mayor of Shoreline. Working to bring you results and bridge the gaps between the diverse interests in our community has only furthered my desire to continue serving you in any capacity that I can.”

Ryu has served in the Shoreline City Council, as mayor, as Shoreline Chamber of Commerce/Board president, and on the Richmond Beach Community Association Board.

In the Washington state voters guide, Ryu shares, “A first generation American, I’ve overcome hardships with family support, excellent public education, and an unwavering work ethic. As a successful businesswoman, council member, and mayor, I practiced fiscal restraint while building bridges across diverse groups. Our communities face economic crises, so Olympia must act frugally, setting wise priorities.”

Ryu is running against Art Coday and Doris Fujioka McConnell.

Ketu Shah
Running for District Court Northeast Electoral District judge, position 7

For the past three years, Ketu Shah has been a pro tem judge for King County’s District Court.

On his website, Shah states, “If elected, I plan to improve the judiciary by making it more efficient, more innovative, and more engaged with our entire community. I believe my perspective, experience, and demeanor would be positive assets to the bench to accomplish these goals.”

He continues, “Through my various community activities, volunteer coaching, math tutoring, and domestic violence advocacy, I love my community and consider it a privilege to run for this office.  I hope to serve it well and give back what it has so generously given to me and my family.”

Shah has been practicing law for more than 15 years and has a private practice focusing on immigration and civil issues. He was a prosecutor of domestic violence crimes for more than 10 years.

Ketu Shah is running against Donna Tucker and Larry Mitchell.

Paull Shin
Running for state senator, 21st district

Paull Shin is running for re-election.

Shin was abandoned as a child in Korea, and adopted at the end of the Korean War. When he moved to the United States, he didn’t know how to read or write. With little formal education, Shin passed his high school GED and joined the U.S. Army. Today, Shin holds a doctorate from the University of Washington.

In the Washington state voters guide, the senator’s  page states, “As always, Sen. Shin will continue to insist on academic excellence in our schools to make certain that our children have the skills they need to succeed because Paull knows better than anyone else about the value of education.”

It continues, “Being in the legislature is Paull’s opportunity to pay back for all that he has been blessed with. Senator Paull Shin is a leader we can trust and count on.”

Shin is chair of the Senate Subcommittee on International Relations.

Shin is running against David Preston and Glen Sayes.

Diana Toledo
Running for King County Council position 8

In the King County voters pamphlet, Diana Toledo states, “For 15 years, I have served King County building a reputation of integrity and professionalism by working with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to implement reform, stop animal abuse, and develop responsible licensing policy such as the wheelchair accessible taxicab program. As a whistleblower, I demonstrated the courage necessary to stand for real reform.”

On her website, Toledo shares, “My parents taught me about responsibility early in life. Born in the Philippines, my father earned his citizenship serving in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam conflict. My mother taught me about community service by starting a neighborhood food bank to help those struggling during Seattle’s economic crisis of the 1970s.”

Toledo is running for King County council. She is currently a King County enforcement coordinator, animal cruelty investigator, and licensing supervisor.

Toledo is running against Tim Fahey, Joe McDermott, and Shawn McEvoy.

Sharon Tomiko Santos
Running for state representative position 1, 37th district

Sharon Tomiko Santos is running for re-election. In the voter’s guide, Tomiko Santos states, “I am proud to represent our 37th District, bringing our unique perspectives to the Washington State Legislature. With your support, I pressed for fairness in market competition for small businesses that sustain our diverse communities. I safeguarded the ability of many unseen workers to earn a decent living doing honest labor. …”

She is on the YMCA Youth and Government Advisory Board, the UW Business and Economic Development Center Board of Ambassadors, and the Council for Pacific Asian Theology Board of Directors, among others. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998.

Tomiko Santos is running unopposed. ♦

Editor’s note: Northwest Asian Weekly is not endorsing any of these candidates.

Lee Xie can be reached at

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3 Responses to “Asian Americans to take city hall, even U.S. senate?”

  1. Marjorie Lin says:

    Schalk Leonard for US Senate.

    My husband, Schalk Leonard, is a recently retired Navy JAG officer and a professional Chinese translator for the US government. He majored in Asian Studies as an undergraduate and received his law degree from the University of Washington Law School. Having lived in Japan and Taiwan, he understands and respects Asian culture. His website has extensive information about his stands on many issues and a link to his Youtube campaign videos. He recently made several short videos in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean to reach out to the Asian community in Washington State.
    In Korean,
    In Vietnamese,
    In Chinese,
    In Japanese,

    Qualifications are important!

  2. Guest says:

    We love Diana Toledo! Here is a great clip from last nights League of Women Voters Forum. Please pass this on to your friends!


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