The U.S. public sector is represented by a number of individuals from the ethnic minorities, for example, African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino Americans etc. Asian Americans, being one of the most fast-paced ethnic group, is still underrepresented in the U.S. public sector in general, and in politics in particular. In order to promote the interest of their ethnical minority and in the best interests of the U.S. and the state, Asian American try to enter the political stage, as it is the easiest way to be heard.
The most fast-growing ethnic group in the U.S., Asian Americans, is mainly concentrated along the Western border of the U.S. and in Hawai’i. Though the number of Asian Americans is continuously increasing, their engagement into the local affairs and issues, especially politics, is amazingly low. Compared to other racial and ethnical minorities, Asian Americans are arguably better educated, when it comes to the issues of household, family wealth and income, Asian Americans happen to outpace even Americans, not to mention other racial minorities. Judging from the way Asian Americans are entering all spheres of American life and lifestyle, they would be positively regarded by the locals, and attitude of Americans towards immigrants would change accordingly, paying respects to their achievements. “Despite such achievements, Asian Americans are far from achieving parity in most sectors of the American economy, such as public service, private enterprise, and educational institutions” (Varma, 2004, p. 290).
Asian Americans are a powerful political force, though crucially underestimated. U.S. Asians, especially born outside U.S., have no particular interest in the American politics; nevertheless, later generations and younger Asian Americans are more engaged into the local issues: politics, economy etc. Over a half of them are concentrated in the particular areas of the Western States, for example, according to the 2010 Bay Area census (San Francisco, N. d.) over 33% of San Francisco city and county’s population is Chinese. Thus, if the politician is able to communicate with this ethnic group and minority, their support would allow him/her to increase the chances for winning. Nevertheless, Asian Americans are mostly being neglected and their political interests and preferences do not bother the candidates.
The situation changes when an Asian American candidate for holding a position appears. It does not mean that this candidate would gain total support from the minority, though his/her chances are better compared to the others. One of the major issues, why the U.S. Asians voters are neglected is the language barrier. On one hand, “Asian Americans have among the highest rates of limited English proficiency (35%) and languages other than English spoken at home (77%)” (Inclusion, 2016, p. 33), thus regular candidate, who is not ready to communicate to the registered voters in their native language, would hardly gain any votes from them. On the other hand, it is essential to deliver all important information on the U.S. politics to Asian Americans in their language through TV, social media, newspaper, Internet, radio, community organizations, family and friends etc. Furthermore, it is beneficial to have a community representative elected, as he/she knows life of the ethnic minority from the inside and would be able to offer really important changes and support the issues required by the society.
Most of the elected Asian American candidates hold local and city level offices, though there is a number of Asian Americans who were elected as Congressmen and Governors. Among the Asian American politicians, the bigger part of positions is held by men, though within the last couple decades the number of women in public sector began to grow. Compared to the 2012 Profile of Membership of the 112th Congress, in which there was a record of “ninety-four women (17.4% of the total membership)” (Manning, 2012), the 2015 Profile of Membership of the 115th Congress demonstrated “109 female Members (20.1% of the total membership)” (Manning, 2017). Thus, the number of women in Congress is progressively growing. Furthermore, according to the same Membership profiles, the 112th Congress had twelve Asian Pacific American Members, that is 2.2% of the total membership (Manning, 2012) compared to “eighteen Members of the 115th Congress (3.3% of the total Membership)” (Manning, 2017).
Conventionally, it is easier for men to obtain political positions. In order to object this assumption each year more and more women win their positions in the offices around the U.S. Among the most prominent Asian American political achievers, both past and present, are, for example, Nimrata “Nikki” Haley (116th Governor of South Carolina), Kamala Devi Harris (junior United States Senator, California), Ladda Tammy Duckworth (junior United States Senator, Illinois), Judy Chu (the first Chinese American female elected to the U.S. Congress), Colleen Wakako Hanabusa (the U.S. Representative from Hawaii’s 1st district), Pramila Jayapal (Congresswoman for the State of Washington), Amata Radewagen, aka Aumua Amata (the Delegate for the U.S. House of Representatives for American Samoa), Tulsi Gabbard (member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Hawaii), Stephanie Murphy (member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Florida), Grace Meng (Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee), Mazie Hirono (U.S. Senator, Hawaii) tec.
Women hold different level positions and manage to properly serve their people and the country. The officeholders duly represent their people and ethnic groups: Chinese Americans, Thai Americans, Indian Americans, Vietnamese Americans, and Samoan Americans etc. This “widespread diversity among Asian Americans makes it difficult to build the panethnic coalition” (Aoki, 2008, p. 111), despite of which Asian Americans do everything to improve the well-being and living of the population.
One of the best examples of Asian American women in the U.S. public sector to explore is Judy Chu, who “became the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress in history” (Judy, 2017). She has numerous accomplishments and her political path shows a great number of bills she introduced. Among her latest bills are those for provision of more resources for the San Gabriel Mountains, for establishing a Clinic for Veterans in San Gabriel Valley, for opening of two Development Centers for Small Business etc. The most well-known and essential pieces of legislation introduced and passed by Judy Chu are CREED Act, inclusion of provisions on improvement of California’s access to Women’s Business centers into the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016, the Transparency in Small Business Goaling Act, The Small Contractors Improve Competition Act etc. Being the Member of various Committees and Caucuses, Congresswoman Chu supports different initiatives and groups, for example, as Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus she advocates the needs of the U.S. Asians and their community throughout the country.
To conclude, Asian Americans are the biggest racial minority in the U.S. that, if required, could become the major influencer in the field of politics. They have the best education compared to other ethnic groups, and their well-being and wealth of the households is often better compared to the locals. About half of all Asian Americans are located in the Western States of the U.S., and the biggest numbers of them are in Hawai’i and particular areas of California, for example, San Francisco (over 33% of population) and Silicon Valley area.
Due to a number of facts, for example, language barriers, lack pf desire to engage into local affairs etc., prevent Asian Americans from participation in the political issues of the country. Most of the positions held by the Asian American representatives are of local and state level, though there are great achievers in politics, who were elected as Governors, Senators and Congressmen/Congresswomen.
The most part of the elected officeholders are men; nevertheless, women have also managed to achieve a lot, and are currently serving for the best cause of their nation and country. Among the Asian American women the most offices are held in Congress and Senate as Representatives of their respective states.
- Aoki, A., & Takeda, O. (2008) Asian American Politics. Cambridge, UK; Malden, USA: Polity Press. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=oHFzgZL47Y8C&pg=PA106&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false (2016). Inclusion, not Exclusion: Spring 2016 Asian American Voter Survey. Retrieved from http://www.apiavote.org/sites/apiavote/files/Inclusion-2016-AAVS-final.pdf
- Judy Chu (2017). U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, 27th District of California. Retrieved from https://chu.house.gov/
- Manning, J. (2017). Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile. [CRS Report]. Retrieved from https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44762.pdf
- Manning, J. (2012). Membership of the 112th Congress: A Profile. [CRS Report]. Retrieved from https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41647.pdf
- San Francisco City and County (N. d.). Bay Area Census. Retrieved from http://www.bayareacensus.ca.gov/counties/SanFranciscoCounty.htm
- Varma, R. (2004). Asian Americans: Achievements Mask Challenges. Asian Journal of Social Science, 32(2), p. 290-307. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/23654590?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents