ICYMI: NBC News: For second Congress in a row, elected Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders hit new high
January 3, 2019
Today marks the first day of the 116th Congress, following a historic election that brought 70 new Democratic members in the Senate and the House of Representatives. This new class of legislators will include three Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, bringing AAPI representation in Congress to 20: TJ Cox from California, Andy Kim from New Jersey, and Michael San Nicolas from Guam.
NBC News: For second Congress in a row, elected Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders hit new high
Three new legislators will bring the total number of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders elected to Congress to 20, a new high.
By Agnes Constante
Cox is one of three Asian-American and Pacific Islander freshmen representatives-elect who are scheduled to be sworn into Congress next month. Joining him are Andy Kim, who won the seat to represent New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District, and Michael San Nicolas, who is slated to serve as a non-voting representative for Guam. The three new legislators will bring the total number of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders elected to Congress to 20, a new high, according to the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). The 115th Congress, with 18 elected Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, was the previous high.
“Since its founding in 1994, CAPAC has always strived to ensure that diverse voices are represented in the halls of Congress, and we are thrilled that the American people voted overwhelmingly to elect candidates who better reflect the diversity of our nation,” Democrat Rep. Judy Chu, the caucus chair, said in a statement. “With these victories, CAPAC will have its highest AAPI membership in history and an important seat at the table within House Leadership.”
In their races, all three candidates faced and defeated incumbents.
Kim unseated Republican incumbent Rep. Tom MacArthur in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District, winning by nearly 4,000 votes. His victory makes him the second Korean American elected to Congress, the first in more than 20 years.
Prior to his election, Kim had worked as an adviser to Gens. David Petraeus and John Allen, and for the White House as the director of Iraq at the National Security Council. He previously told NBC News that his decision to go into public service was prompted by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which took place while he was in college.
In a November statement, Kim said his campaign was always about the people of New Jersey and who would best advocate for the hopes and needs of the community in Congress.
“Our campaign was about the issues — about affordable health care for all Americans; about fair taxes for New Jersey families; and about a government that works for the people,” he said. “I look forward to working on these and other key issues while representing my home district with integrity and civility in Washington.”
In Guam, San Nicolas, a senator in the U.S. territory’s legislature, defeated his Republican opponent, Dolores Flores Brooks, in November with 54.85 percent of the vote. In the June primaries, he unseated 15-year incumbent Rep. Madeleine Bordallo.
Before going into public office, San Nicolas worked as a high school history teacher and financial planner. He has said he felt called to serve and followed in the footsteps of his grandparents, who were former members of Guam’s legislature.
In Central California, Cox’s win brought the total number of seats flipped by Democrats to 40. He will also join Democrat Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia to become one of two sitting members of Congress of Philippine descent.