[POLITICS] Mike Honda is the DNC Deputy Chair
- DNC Chairman McAuliffe Appoints U.S. Rep. Mike Honda as DNC Deputy
More Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIAs) are in positions of
leadership in the Democratic Party than ever before. California
Congressman Bob Matsui is the Chair of the Democratic Congressional
Campaign Committee and Washington Governor Gary Locke is the Chair
of the Democratic Governors' Association.
Most recently, Congressman Honda was appointed by DNC Chairman Terry
McAuliffe to be the Deputy Chair of the Democratic National
Committee. "Congressman Honda is a great asset to the DNC,"
McAuliffe said. "He will be instrumental in reaching out to all
voters, particularly the Asian American community nationwide."
U.S. Rep. Mike Honda represents California's 15th district, a
diverse district containing the largest Asian Pacific American
population of any congressional district in the continental U.S.
Born in California, Honda spent his early childhood with his family
in an internment camp in Colorado during World War II. "I am proud
to have joined the diverse leadership team at the Democratic
National Committee. The Bush Administration has failed the APIA
community on so many issues, and we need to demand action and
accountability. I look forward to working with the DNC to help APIAs
become more politically involved," said Honda.
DNC APIA Caucus Enthusiastic About 2004
For years, Keith Umemoto has been actively encouraging Asian Pacific
Islander Americans to vote. As the Chair of the Democratic National
Committee's APIA Caucus, he spoke to us recently about the
importance of APIA activism in the upcoming presidential elections.
Q: How will 2004 be politically different for Asian Pacific Islander
A: APIAs are the fastest growing group in America, and we continue
to grow, with numbers exceeding 12.5 million. Many congressional
districts and the entire state of California are majority-minority
areas. This means that APIAs and other minority populations will
have more say in who gets elected. The expansion of the APIA
population into the suburbs has increased the number of elections
where APIAs will play a vital role.
Q: How do you think Asian Pacific Islander Americans perceive the
current political climate?
A: I think that the majority of APIAs realize that President Bush's
policies are not working for them. Under his Administration, racial
profiling under the guise of national security has skyrocketed.
There remains an urgent need for stronger federal legislation
addressing the continuing problem with hate crimes and inconsistent
reporting of these crimes, which continue to harm Asian Pacific
Islander Americans. In addition, APIAs healthcare needs are being
overlooked - one in five Asian Pacific Islander Americans is
uninsured or have been some time in the last year. The uninsured
rate for Korean and Vietnamese Americans is even higher.
Q: How can APIAs increase their involvement with politics?
A: Well, there are many ways that APIAs can get involved. First,
everyone has to register to vote. Register yourself, your friends,
your mom, dad, grandma, pastor, hairdresser....everyone! Only 53% of
eligible APIAs are currently registered to vote. That must change.
Also, find out about the issues. Volunteer for local campaigns --
introduce the candidates and your local party to the APIA
neighborhoods and encourage them to campaign there. And another fun
way to get involved is to run for a Convention delegate spot. Every
state will send people to the Democratic National Convention in July
2004. You can contact your state party or the DNC APIA Outreach
Office for information on how to run.