1st letter photo caption

New Jersey state Sen. Vin Gopal was named by Senate president Steve Sweeney to serve as Senate Majority Conference Leader. The Indian American politician was also named chair of the bipartisan Legislative Manufacturing Caucus. (Twitter photo)

The stakes couldn’t be higher this November. From trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, to withdrawing from the Paris climate and Iran nuclear agreements, to passing a tax plan that benefits corporations and the 1 percent at the expense of working families, Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are threatening American values every day and rolling back the important progress we made under President Obama.

That’s why at the new DNC, we’re doing everything we can to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, all across the country. And we know the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, the fastest-growing racial group in America, is critical to making sure we’re successful this November. That’s why in regions all across the country, AAPI voters have and will continue to be critical for Democrats in ensuring electoral successes up and down the ballot.

 In Virginia, where the DNC made an unprecedented $1.5 million investment in organizing and direct voter contact, including hiring AAPI organizers to work in AAPI communities, Democrats held onto the governor’s office with a convincing nine-point victory. But we didn’t just focus on the races at the top of the ticket; we also elected 15 new Democratic members of the Virginia House of Delegates to seats previously held by Republicans. AAPI voters were crucial in delivering Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudoun Counties to Gov. Ralph Northam and the Democrats. And they were equally critical to our victories in New Jersey, where AAPI voters make up 7 percent of eligible voters and helped Democrats flip the governor’s seat.

With the sound leadership of DNC AAPI Caucus chair Bel Leong-Hong, we’ve also continued to help elect AAPI leaders across America so that those in elected office better represent the diversity of our country. In the last year, Democrats Kathy Tran and Kelly Fowler became the first Asian American women elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, while Vin Gopal became the first Indian American elected to the New Jersey state Senate. And in Washington, Manka Dhingra’s victory flipped control of the state Senate and gave Democrats full control of the state government.

 We know that we can’t just be engaging with AAPI voters every two years during an election. That’s why we are engaging, organizing and mobilizing all communities, including AAPI voters, 365 days a year. There are no more off years.

 That’s why under the ‘IWillVote’ program, the DNC is partnering with leading AAPI groups like ASPIRE PAC, AAPI Victory Fund, and AAA Fund to reach new AAPI voters all across the country. With our State Party Innovation Fund program, we’re making historic investments in state parties so that they have the resources and infrastructure to engage and organize all communities, including AAPI voters.

 But we’re not stopping there. We know that a key to building grassroots support in the AAPI community is having strong, vibrant, and sustainable AAPI caucuses within our state parties. That’s why we’ve increased engagement through AAPI caucuses in order to share best practices and help facilitate opportunities for new AAPI voters, activists, and organizers looking to engage with the Democratic Party.

 The Democratic Party believes in inclusion and opportunity for everyone. We believe that diversity is our nation’s greatest strength, and we’re fighting for the issues that matter to working families – from access to health care and a quality education to getting a good-paying job and having the chance to retire with the dignity everyone deserves. Those are our values, and they’re shared by millions of AAPI families across the country.

 As we celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, Democrats will continue to fight this administration’s attacks on AAPI communities. And we will never stop working to protect civil rights and expand opportunities for all Americans.

DNC Chair Tom Perez,

Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.)

Washington, DC

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