This past weekend the AAPI Victory Fund sent the below letter to President-elect Joe Biden and the Transition Team in response to the lack of AAPI representation in his senior staff and Cabinet. Today there were additional announcements of key Cabinet and policymaking positions and not a single AAPI was included.
We felt it was important for our donors and supporters to hear from us and to have a copy of our letter.
November 21, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden:
As a follow up to our AAPI46 recommendations on September 9th and recent conversations with your senior transition staff, I am writing on the behalf of the AAPI Victory Fund to formally express our concerns regarding Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in your senior staff and Cabinet. Given the enormous contributions of AAPI voters in electing you and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris—I dare say pivotal in several battleground states—it would be deeply disappointing if several AAPIs are not nominated to serve in your Cabinet.
In January, the AAPI Victory Fund Board met with you and you pledged that you are, and will continue to be, the best candidate to represent the interests of AAPIs. You mentioned your long history in supporting our community and how you planned to build upon that. At that time, there were two AAPI candidates remaining in the presidential race and the AAPI Victory Fund endorsed you. We were the second national organization to endorse your candidacy and we did so with the knowledge that many in the AAPI community would be upset. We believed in your vision, your promises, and that you were the best candidate that could win back the presidency and heal the country. And you did and will!
The AAPI community delivered mightily in your victory and we need to continue this trend for Democrats to win down ballot in the future. Preliminary increases over 2016 show AAPI turnout in Arizona was up over 21%, Georgia was up over 57%, and Texas was up 53%. These figures are just from the early vote period and do not include Election Day turnout. Stacey Abrams says the overall increase in AAPI Georgia turnout for you was an astonishing 91% over 2016. No other community delivered this level of across-the-board increase, by any measure.
These votes, in combination with other communities of color, flipped previously “unwinnable” Arizona and Georgia. Additionally, our community raised over $11M for the Biden-Harris campaign, the AAPI Victory Fund organized over a dozen campaign events for and with the campaign and over 5,000 volunteers (many new) spent over a million hours doing persuasion and GOTV.
There are six exceptionally qualified AAPI candidates who we believe should be under consideration to serve in your Cabinet:
- Tammy Duckworth – Secretary of Defense
- Vivek Murthy – Secretary of Health and Human Services
- Julie Su – Secretary of Labor
- Dilawar Syed, SBA Administrator
- Katherine Tai – U.S. Trade Representative
- Andrew Yang – Secretary of Commerce
The past four presidents have ensured that AAPIs were represented in the Cabinet, including President Obama, who appointed a record three AAPIs. Even President Trump appointed two AAPI’s to his Cabinet.
We look to you to create a government that reflects America and its aspirations.