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Incumbents & First-Timers are among Asian Americans in the Nov. 8 Elections

By Jennie L. Ilustre

On November 8, the nation will elect a new president. As exciting as that is, other candidates are also on the ballot. These include the candidates for vice president, all 435 incumbent members of the US House of Representatives, and 34 of the 100-member US Senate.

Incumbents running for reelection, as well as first-timers from both parties are among the Asian American candidates for the US Congress. Many incumbent Congress Members are among the candidates who already made history with their victory. They include the first Chinese American woman and the first Filipino American elected to the U.S. Congress.

Interestingly, there are several fresh faces. They are achievers who are making their first forays into politics, building on their success in public service, the military, medical profession, business and other fields. This year, there are several Republican Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) running for office at all levels.

Asked for comment, Republican National Committee (RNC) Florida Communications Director Ninio J.H. Fetalvo replied recently: “The growing number of Asian American and Pacific Islander Republicans seeking elective office is another indication that the RNC and our Republican candidates continue to have a strong presence in AAPI communities across the country.”


APA Candidates & Turn-out

When Asian American candidates are on the ballot, more Asian American voters turn up on Election Day. Executive Director Christine Chen of APIAVote, a nonpartisan advocacy group, noted “the importance of voter turn-out.” A 2012 study showed Asian American voters live in battleground states, and could play a major role in deciding the next president.

Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) President Floyd Mori said during a recent forum. “We need to turn out and vote this year.” Actually, early voting has already started in some states.


AAPI Candidates

As of October 5, there are 32 AAPIs running for office at the federal level, according to APAICS, Seven in 10 candidates for the US House of Representatives are Democrats, and 30% are from the Republican Party and other parties. In the US Senate, 66% of the candidates are Republicans and from other parties. The rest are Democrats. The male-female ratio in the Senate races is even (50% women and 50% men).

At the federal level, Indian Americans top the list with 8 candidates, followed by Chinese Americans (6), Pacific Islander/Hawaiian Americans (5), Japanese Americans (4), Vietnamese Americans (3), Filipino Americans and Taiwanese Americans (2 in each group), and Thai Americans and Chamarro Americans, 1 each.

There are 147 candidates running at the state level, over half of whom are incumbents running for reelection. Almost 7 in 10 candidates for the State Senate or State House are Democrats. A total of 63 are running for office at the local level (mayor, city council and board), according to APAICS. For detailed information, visitwww.apaics.org.


Candidates for the Senate, US Congress


Anh “Joseph” Cao (R, Louisiana)–For US Senate

Cao was an advocate for refugees and the poor in the 1990s.  In pursuit of justice for all, he attained a law degree from Loyola Law School.  He became the in-house legal counsel for Boat People S.O.S, Inc., an organization helping poor Vietnamese and other minorities.  In 2005, his home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. With his wife and two daughters, he moved temporarily to Westwego and began rebuilding.    In 2008, he ran for Congress and won. He focused on serving his constituents by breaking through F.E.M.A’s gridlock, resulting into hundred of millions of dollars for New Orleans.


US Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D, Illinois)–For US Senate


Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. She was re-elected to represent Illinois’ 8th Congressional District in 2014. She is fluent in Thai and Indonesian. She was deployed to Iraq as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard. She was one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, her helicopter got hit, and she lost her legs and partial use of her right arm. She was awarded a Purple Heart. In her first term, Duckworth introduced various pieces of legislation, including bills that assist veterans in their transition to the private sector.


Kamala Harris (D, California)–For US Senate



California Attorney General Harris is running for the open seat that resulted from the retirement of Sen. Barbara boxer. She was endorsed by President Obama, who said, “Kamala Harris fights for us. That’s why I’m so proud to endorse her for United States Senator.” Harris said that many times in her career, “I’ve heard the word ‘can’t…’ America is a place built on ‘can,’ where opportunity exists for everyone.” In 2010, Harris became the first woman, the first African American, and the first South Asian to be elected California’s Attorney General. Her mother is from India, her father from Jamaica.


Candidates for House of Representatives, US Congress



Incumbent Ami Bera (D) represents California’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the only Indian American currently serving in Congress. Bera graduated from medical school, working part-time, taking advantage of federally-funded student loans, and graduating with less than $10,000 in debt. In Congress, he’s working to ensure that the U.S. government continues to invest in hard working Americans to keep the American Dream alive for the next generation. His top priority is to build an economy that works for the middle class by working with his colleagues, regardless of party.


Incumbent Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D, Guam) For House of Representatives, At-Large


In 2003, Congresswoman Bordallo became the first woman to represent Guam in the US House of Representatives. She brings to Congress over 40 years of experience in public service in the executive and legislative branches of the Government of Guam and numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The 114th Congress is her seventh term. She continues to serve on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources. In the House Committee on Natural Resources, Ms. Bordallo sits on the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular, and Alaskan Affairs as well as the Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans.


Felix Camacho (R)–For House of Representatives At-Large


After humble beginnings in the private sector with Pacific Financial Corporation and IBM Corporation, Camacho was appointed by Guam Gov. Joseph Ada in 1988 as deputy director of the Public Utility Agency of Guam. Eight months later, Camacho was appointed to the Civil Service Commission and later selected by the Board to serve as its Executive Director. In 1992, Camacho was elected senator in the 22nd Guam Legislature. He won reelection until the 26th legislatures. He was elected Guam’s 6th governor in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.  His first term in office was marked by disaster recovery, revitalization of Guam’s economy, and stabilizing the Government of Guam’s fiscal position.



Incumbent Congresswoman Judy Chu (D) was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2009. She represents the 27th Congressional District. In 2011, she was elected Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), which advocates for the needs and concerns of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community across the nation. As a member of the Steering and Policy Committee, she is in the leadership of the House Democratic Caucus.




Denise Gitsham (R)–For US House, California District 52

The first-time candidate is the daughter of a Chinese mother and a Canadian-born father, according to an article in The San Diego Union-Tribune. She worked with Republican strategist Karl Rove in the presidential campaign of George W. Bush. Later, she worked for Harriet Miers, the president’s counsel. Rove became the president’s deputy chief of staff and remained his political guru. Subsequently, Gitsham graduated from the Georgetown University law school, and practiced in Washington, D.C.




Sue Googe (R)–For US House, North Carolina District 4

Googe’s childhood days in communist China were challenging. Her parents were illiterate, but they held education in high regard. With the help of a family friend, Googe was sent to a local boarding school at age 11. In 1998 at age 26, she moved to the United States on a student visa. She studied Computer Science. In 2000, she began working in the information technology industry, as a software engineering contractor. In 2010, as she continued her work in the IT industry, she founded a real estate investment company in Cary.




Colleen Hanabusa (D)–Candidate for US House, Hawaii 1st District

Hanabusa was first elected to the US House in 2010. She stood up for Hawaii, holding national leaders accountable and supporting fair, common-sense legislation. She fought to prevent the government shutdown and defeat a plan to end Medicare and Medicaid. She also co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act. Hanabusa first ran for office in 1998, and was elected to the state senate. In 2006, after years of delivering results, she was elected President of the Senate, becoming the first woman to lead either house of the Hawaii state legislature.




Incumbent Congressman Mike Honda (D)–California 17th District

Honda’s district is the first Asian American-majority district in the continental U.S. California’s 17th Congressional District is in the heart of Silicon Valley. Honda (D) spent his early years with his family in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II. He has a long history of public service, serving in the U.S. Peace Corps in El Salvador, where he became fluent in Spanish. In 1996, he was elected to the California State Assembly. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2001. He has focused his efforts on income inequality, educational equity, LGBTQ equality, environmental and technology issues. He is the founder of the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus.




Pramila Jayapal (D)–For US House, Washington State 7th District

Jayapal is a member of the Washington State Senate, representing District 37. She was first elected to the chamber in 2014. In 2015, she served in the following committees: Senate Accountability & Reform, where she was the ranking member; Health Care and Transportation. She won 42% of the vote in the primary.



Raja Krishnamoorthi (D)–For US House, Illinois 8th District

Krishnamoorthi is running to represent the 8th Congressional District of Illinois, after incumbent Tammy Duckworth (D) decided to run for the US Senate. He graduated at the top of his class (summa cum laude), with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, from Princeton University in 1995. In 2000, he also graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. In 2004, he served in Barack Obama’s US Senate campaign, according to Ballotpedia. In 2008, he was an advisor to Obama’s presidential campaign.




Ro Khanna (D)–For US House, California, District 17

For the second time, Khanna and incumbent Congressman Mike Honda, both Democrats, are fighting to represent this district. Khanna is tapping the younger demographic. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Commerce (2009-2010) during President Obama’s first term. Ballotpedia also notes that he has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Yale University. He is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Economics at Stanford University, and an Adjunct Professor at Santa Clara Law School.



Incumbent Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D)–California District 33

In 2014, Lieu ran and won to succeed retiring 40-year incumbent Henry Waxman. He is a former active duty officer in the US Air Force and currently serves as a colonel in the Reserves. In Congress, he has established himself as a leader on protecting the environment, Social Security and Medicare, civil liberties, and veterans. He has been an outspoken proponent for tackling climate change. He has been a leader in Congress against ethnic and racial profiling, and discrimination against the LGBT community.



Thuy Lowe (R)–For US House, Florida District 10

Vietnamese American businesswoman Lowe’s priorities are protecting the unborn, religious freedom and constitutional rights, according to an article in the Orlando Florida Observer. The 10th District has shifted sharply to the left after redistricting. The report added Lowe acknowledged this challenge, but seeking support at her candidacy’s launching in July, she expressed confidence she would win in November.



Incumbent Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D)–California

Matsui has represented the city of Sacramento and its surrounding areas since 2005. During the 114th Congress, she was elected by her peers to serve as a co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. She works closely with the 88 Congresswomen in the House to advance issues that matter most to women in the U.S.

She has been a leader in Congress on tackling climate change, and she serves as a co-chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC). She has been a champion of net neutrality and ensuring the nation has a free and open Internet.  She also is an ardent supporter of improved science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.



Incumbent Congresswoman Grace Meng (D) is serving her second term in the U.S. House, representing the 6th District of New York. She is the first Asian American Member of Congress from New York State, and the only Congress Member of Asian descent in the entire Northeast.

During her first term, Meng scored several legislative victories, a significant accomplishment for a new Member of Congress. She was one of just 12 Democrats–out of all 207–who passed three or more bills, placing her in the top six percent. Her first major bill, to allow federal disaster funds to be used for rebuilding houses of worship damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, passed the House just six weeks after she was sworn in Congress.



Bao Nguyen (D)–For House, California District 46

Nguyen was elected Mayor of the City of Garden Grove in 2014. Born in a Thailand refugee camp, he was three months old when he came to the U.S. While earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, he interned for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He holds a Master’s Degree in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and a certification in mediation from the Dispute Resolution Program of the Orange County Human Relations Commission. He also completed an intensive Spanish immersion program at Universidad Internacional in Cuernavaca, Morelos.




Dela Cruz Santiago Ostrov (R)–US House, Hawaii Dist. 1

This is the first time Ostrov is running for public office. She is a small business owner and a retired Air Force colonel (serving from 1991 to 2014), Honolulu Star Advertiser reported. She is the president and CEO of Ares Mobility Solutions. She is the co-founder and chairman of the Board of Halau Nohona Hawaii, a Hawaiian cultural school in the Washington, D.C. area, and a board member of Honolulu CrimeStoppersand Women’s Mentoring Network. She pledges to use her years of leadership skills and service to help Hawaii and the nation.



Amata Radewagen (R)–For US House, American Samoa, At-Large

In 2014, Radewagen became the first woman elected to the US House of Representatives from American Samoa. She is the first Republican woman of Samoan descent in Congress.  She is also  her party’s highest ranking Asian Pacific elected federal officeholder in the nation.

President George W. Bush appointed her in 2001 as a White House Commissioner for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), where she chaired the Community Security Committee, Amata was the only Pacific Islander on the 15-member commission, which advised the President on AAPI issues and issued a landmark report on the health care needs of America’s AAPI communities.  In 2003 she became the first and only Pacific Islander ever chosen as “Outstanding Woman of the Year” by the National Association of Professional Asian American Women (NAPAW).




Incumbent Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D, Virginia 3rd District)

Scott is currently serving his 12th term. He is the first African American elected to Congress from Virginia since Reconstruction, and only the second African American congressman in Virginia’s history.  He is also the first American of Filipino ancestry to serve in Congress.

A recognized champion of the US Constitution, he has fought to protect the rights and civil liberties of all Americans. He is also a leading voice on fiscal policy. He is a strong supporter of the nation’s military readiness, as well as troop safety, veterans’ benefits and health care. He served in the Massachusetts National Guard and the US Army Reserve.



Incumbent Congressman Mark Takano (D)–For US House Dist. 41

During his first term in 2012, Takano returned over $2 million in benefits to constituents and veterans, advocated for immigration reform, toured more than 100 businesses, increased Veterans Administration’s medical residency slots, and worked to keep federal funding for the Perris Valley Line during the 2013 government shutdown. He continues to support legislation that will grow the local economy, lower the cost of housing, support veterans, improve the education system, and invest in local infrastructure projects.





Incumbent Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D) –For State House District 1


Kawasaki is a member of the Alaska House of Representatives. He graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a Bachelor in Science degree in Biomedicine. He works at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital as Senior Patient Representative. He had served as Councilman of the Fairbanks City Council, and as a legislative aide in the Alaska State Legislature. His priorities include transparency in spending public funds and improved public schools system.



Incumbent Sen. Kimberly Yee (R)–For State Senate, Arizona District 20


Yee was a headline speaker at the Republican National Convention on July 18. She is the first Asian American woman elected to serve in the Arizona Legislature in our state’s history. She serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, and as a member of the Committees on Health and Human Services, Judiciary, and Elections. She also serves as a legislative member of the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools. She was elected to serve the leadership position of Elected National Order of Women Legislators Representative to the National Foundation of Women Legislators Board. She was named the 2014 Hero of the Taxpayer Award, the 2013 Legislator of the Year Award by both the Arizona Optometric Association and the Arizona Association of County School Superintendents. She was named “Friend of the First Amendment and a Supporter of the People’s Right to Know” by the Arizona Newspapers Association.



For State Senate

State Assembly Member Ling-Ling Chang (R)

For California Senate, District 29


Top US Congress leader Ed Royce supports Chang’s candidacy. As a State Assembly Member, Chang has focused her efforts on eliminating job-killing regulations and improving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational opportunities. As a City Council Member, she balanced every budget, increased funding for law enforcement and cut her own pay to stretch tax dollars. As President and CEO of the Youth Science Center, Ling helped strengthen STEM curriculum in the region. On the Executive Board of the Cal Poly Pomona – Partners in Education, she worked to improve teacher training. As a project manager for a health information systems firm, she helped train physicians, system administrators and medical staff at various hospitals across Southern California. Ling Ling’s parents moved from Taiwan to California when she was 3 years old.


Warren Furutani (D)–For California Senate, District 35


Warren is fourth-generation Japanese American. During World War II, his grandparents and father were forced to leave their home and sent to a concentration camp in Arkansas. As an educator, he led the charge to provide millions of dollars for the construction of L.A. public schools and community colleges. In the State Assembly, his legislative work promoted career technical education, community colleges, clean air quality, and support for small businesses. He also advocated for state resources to help rebuild the Gerald Desmond Bridge in the Port of Long Beach, which is expected to generate 4,000 jobs in the next five years.


Sukhee Kang (D)–For California Senate, District 29


Kang founded the US Korean American Democratic Council, which focused on political involvement. In 2004, he was elected to the Irvine City Council after a door-to-door campaign in which he knocked on 20,000 doors. After being reelected to the Council in 2006, in 2008 he became the first-ever Korean American mayor of a US city larger than 100,000. In 2010, he was overwhelmingly reelected with 64.1 percent of the vote. One of his proudest achievements was leading the effort to preserve $121 million for transportation improvements. Military service runs deep in the Kang family. As a State Senator, Kang would continue to fight for the services and benefits for men and women in uniform.


Jane Kim (D)–For California Senate, District 11


Kim is the first Korean American elected official in San Francisco, California, where she represents District 6 on the Board of Supervisors. She is running for Senate to ensure a representative in Sacramento will work to address these challenges: Housing the homeless, creating more affordable housing, family-sustaining jobs, relieving transit gridlock and strengthening public education. Kim attended Stanford University where she majored in Political Science and Asian American Studies. She went on to receive her law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law.


Alan Nakanishi (R)–For California Senate, District 5


Dr. Nakanishi became mayor of Lodi in 2001. Under his leadership, Lodi received accolades as a model city for energy planning. After working his way through school as a cannery employee and field worker, Nakanishi received his Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry, and went on to earn his medical degree. He served two years in the US Army, attaining the rank of major. In 1971, he began his private practice in Opthamology in Stockton, co-founding the Delta Eye Medical Group. He frequently donates his time in Baja and Monterey, Mexico where he conducts clinics for resident physicians and hospitals.


Mariko Yamada (D)–For California Senate, District 3


Yamada was born in Colorado after her family’s release from one of ten WWII Japanese-American internment camps. She was elected to the California State Assembly in 2008. One of her proudest achievements was the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, which grew from drawing down $200,000 a year in Yolo County, to her final year total of $2.1 million dollars in tax returns to local working families. She also focused her attention on helping high school students with their college financial aid applications through Cash4College Workshops.



For California State Assembly


Incumbent Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D)–For CA District 18


Bonta won the primary on June 7. He was elected to the California State Assembly’s 18th District in 2012. He represents the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro as the first and only Filipino American legislator in the 165-year history of California. As Vice Mayor of the City of Alameda, he strongly supported public safety, fostered economic development, and exercised fiscal responsibility.


Phillip Chen (R)–For California Assembly, District 55


Chen is a successful small business owner and educator. He owns and operates a property management company overseeing commercial and residential properties. As Walnut Valley Unified School District (WVUSD) Trustee, he helped turn the district’s budget deficit into a budget surplus and established a “rainy-day” fund. The WVUSD is one of the highest academic performing districts in both the state and nation, with a 909 API score and 99% graduation rate.


David Chiu (D)–For California Assembly, District 17


In 2014, Chiu was elected to the California State Legislature, the first Asian American to represent the 17th District. During his first year, he served as Assistant Speaker pro Tempore. In 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed 11 bills that Chiu authored in his freshman year. Previously, he served as President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for six years. He was the first Asian American to hold the post. Chiu grew up in Boston and received his undergraduate, law and master’s in public policy degrees from Harvard University.


Steven Choi (R)–For California Assembly, District 68


From Choi’s website: “If I am elected to serve in the California legislature, my commitment to you is straightforward:  I will fight against the stream of continuous tax increases constantly put forward by liberal politicians. I will work to repeal the layers of job-killing, anti-business regulations and bad laws that have made it so difficult for our economy to thrive the way that it should.”


Young Kim (R)–For California Assembly, District 65


Kim has been an active community leader in Orange County for more than two decades. She has worked as a small businesswoman, financial analyst/controller, TV talk show host and Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs for Congressman Ed Royce in Orange County. Since being elected to the Assembly in 2014, she has been an active voice for the constituents of the 65th Assembly District. On her first day as Assemblywoman, she introduced a bill freezing tuition rates for college students to combat the rising costs of education. She also co-authored legislation to offer tax relief at the gas pump.




Tony Hwang (R)–For State Senate, District 28

Hwang was fortunate to be admitted to Cornell University after high school. He recalled that a Cornell University admissions officer told him at that time: “We see the potential in you and I will simply ask that, when you graduate and in whatever you end up doing, you remember to give back to others that may need a helping hand.” He said that “has guided me ever since my Cornell years.” He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in labor relations and organizational behavior in 1987.


Veasna Roeun (R)–For House of Representatives, District 109

Born in Cambodia, Veasna Roeun came to Connecticut at age 4, according to an NBC-TV news report. As a U.S. Army National Guardsman, he was deployed in Bosnia and Afghanistan. He also fought for Cambodian Americans, some of them survivors of the Khmer Rouge, which during the 1970s killed over one million Cambodians.


Prasad Srinivasan (R)–For House, District 31

Dr. Prasad Srinivasan has been practicing in Glastonbury and the Hartford area for over 30 years, treating pediatric and adult patients with allergies. In 2014, he was elected to his third term as State Representative. He donates his state legislative salary to worthy causes. In 1999, he established the Prasad Family Foundation, which awards merit-based scholarships to graduates of GHS and need-based scholarships for college education across the country.




Robert Nagamine (R)–For State Senate, District 25

Nagamine retired after 33 years of service as Lieutenant Colonel of the Hawaii Air National Guard. Born and raised in Hawaii, he has lived in Kailua with his family for the last 14 years. He said in the Republican Honolulu website that his greatest motivating factor for running for office “is the need to strive and make tomorrow great for our children and grandchildren.”


Rod Tam (R)–For Hawaii State Senate, District 13

Tam is a former state senator. His priorities include: revitalizing democracy; stabilizing and stimulating Hawaii’s economy through small business without increasing taxes and service fees; providing public education funds to revive the schools’ academic excellence, and providing adequate senior health and social services.


Beth Fukumoto Chang (R)–For Hawaii House, District 36

Chang is Hawaii House Republican Leader of the Hawaii House of Representatives. She is one of the youngest legislators ever to serve as the House Minority Floor Leader, an elected leadership position in the House of Representatives. Currently, she serves as the House Minority Leader, and is the youngest woman to serve as a state caucus leader in the country. She graduated with honors from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a B.A. in American Studies and an M.A. in English from Georgetown University. She was awarded a James Madison Fellowship by the Millennial Action Project for her demonstrated success in transcending partisan lines. Most recently, Beth was named as one of the Washington Post’s “The Fix’s 40 under 40” rising political stars.


Eric Ching (R)–For Hawaii House, District 31

In his website, he noted that the chronic problems that plague Hawaii need “fresh leadership” to tackle these problems from a different perspective. “My business experience as a repair and maintenance service technician provides me with a ‘Fix It’ attitude and the fiscal discipline that is missing in government today.”


Roger Clemente (R)–For Hawaii House, District 35

Filipino American Clemente told Honolulu Star-Advertiser his campaign is all about serving the people for better education, health, safety, economy, sustainability and to improve senior services/benefits. He has management experience in the private sector and the government, working for over three decades in the hotel and other travel-related industry.


Kaiwiola Coakley (R)–Hawaii House, District 29

From his campaign website: “I believe a public servant should serve the people. Much of my experience, which includes missionary service in the Philippines and work with non-profits in Hawaii, is centered on service. As such, I hope to use my leadership role as a mechanism to open doors of opportunity in the district and allow winds of change to stir in the state.”


Jeffrey Coakley (R)–For Hawaii House, District 7

Coakley told the Honolulu Civil Beat that he is not a politician but a community organizer. His plan is to have monthly community meetings in each district and begin forming coalitions where, as communities, they communicate and address common concerns and issues together.


Carole Kaapu (R)–For Hawaii House, District 30

Kaapu told Kanu Hawaii that regarding improving jobs and the economy in Hawaii, she believes small businesses are the engine that drives our economy. She said Hawaii needs to reduce taxes and streamline regulations, diversify beyond tourism and encourage renewable energy sources.



Bryan Jeremiah (R)–For Hawaii House, District 41

From the GOP Honolulu website: “I believe Ewa Beach can be a thriving and safe community with top-notch public schools, numerous business opportunities, flowing traffic and recreational facilities that will be the envy of Oahu. ..This belief in our community and the desire to ensure my children are left with a Hawaii they can be proud of are two of the most important reasons I’m running for office.”


Katherine Kupuka’a (R)–For Hawaii House, District 37

From the GOP Honolulu website: “I am running for office to put common sense back in government…Reckless government spending and high taxation are driving our residents into homelessness. Government restrictions regarding modular and mobile homes and the scarcity of rental complexes result in third-world tent city communities. I have spoken out against the excessive cost and mismanagement of the rail system for decades. I see the deterioration of health services in our state and plan to do something about it. We need a better business climate to foster prosperity for all.”


Rep. Lauren Matsumoto (R)–For Hawaii House, District 45

Matsumoto graduated from the University of Hawaii, with a B.A. degree in film production from the Academy for Creative Media and minored in both Business and Japanese, according to wikipedia. Her first experience with the legislature was with her documentary, Farm Grown, which helped pass the Feed Subsidy Bill. She was Miss Hawaii 2011. District 45 is composed of Schofield, Mokuleia, Waialua, Kunia, Waipio Acres, and Mililani.


Marc Pa’aluhi (R)–For Hawaii House, District 44

Pa’aluhi garnered 53% of the vote in the September 12 primary to win the Republican Party nomination for the Nov. 8 general elections. District 44 is composed of Waianae, Makaha, Makua and Maili.


Incumbent Feki Pouha (R)–For Hawaii House, District 47

Pouha was first elected to the chamber in 2014, according to Ballotpedia. He serves as State House Minority Floor Leader, and was previously the Minority Whip. District 47 is composed of Waialua, Haleiwa, Pupukea, Kahuku, Laie, Hauula, Waiahole, Waikane, Sunset Beach, Punaluu and Kaaawa.


Gilbert Rebolledo (R)–For Hawaii House, District 8

Rebolledo, 55, was former vice chair of the Maui County Republican Party. He was also an associate pastor. He lives in Wailuku, Maui.


Incumbent Andria Tupola (R)–For Hawaii House District 43

In her first term, Tupola organized the first “Wake Up Westside” Emergency Preparedness Fair, attended by some 200 people from the community, federal, state, and city agencies. She also led the program connecting “businesses with resources through three separate entrepreneur conferences–one highlighting a business panel, another providing tax assistance, and a third hosting restaurants and food trucks.”




Julie Van Orden (R)–For House of Representatives, District 31

Born in Pocatello, Idaho, she has served as Idaho State Representative since 2012, representing District 31 in the B seat. She is running unopposed this year in her reelection bid. In her first campaign for the seat in 2012, she defeated the incumbent (Jim Marriott) in the Republican primary and went on to win in the general election.




For House of Representatives


Kamara Kay (R)–For House, 18th Essex District

Kay is a candidate for the 18th Essex District of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. She won in the primary election on September 8. In 2015, she was a candidate for office of at-large representative on the Lowell School Committee in Massachusetts.


Keiko Orrall (R)–For House, 12th Bristol District

Orrall is a member of the following committees: Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. An educator, she earned her Bachelors in Art degree from Smith College. She is married to Norman Orrall and they have two children.


Donald Wong (R)–For House, 9th Essex District

A resident of Saugus for 39 years, Wong is a three-term State Representative of the 9th Essex District. His priorities include working on issues of public safety, quality education and fiscal responsibility. Husband, father and grandfather of four, he is a successful owner of a 64-year, three-generation Saugus business. His accomplishments included identifying and securing funding sources for Neighborhood Crime Watch and for Police cruiser communication systems/cruisers.




Gigi K. Li (D)–For State Assembly 65th District

In June 2012, Li became the first Asian American in New York City to be elected chair of the Manhattan’s Community Board 3, representing Chinatown, the Lower East Side, and East Village. She focused on community engagement, the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project, and addressing recovery and resiliency challenges after Superstorm Sandy. Li served as Director of Neighborhood Family Services Coalition (NFSC). She directed its work in youth development/after-school services, the Campaign for Summer Jobs, and school/CBO partnerships. Recently, she worked on implementing Mayor deBlasio’s UPKNYC and Community Schools initiative.


Steven Raga (D)–For Queens County Committee

Raga is the Director for Community Affairs for the Forest Hills Asian Association and a Community Engagement Subcommittee Member for the United Way Young Leaders Council of New York City. Recently, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz appointed him as a member of Queens Community Board 2. Currently, he serves as the New York State Chair for the National Federation for Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA). He is also a Board Member of the Filipino Veterans Recognition & Education Project.




Niraj Antani (R)–For House of Representatives, District 42

At age 25, Antani is currently the youngest serving member of the Ohio House of Representatives. He represents the 42nd District. He is the second Indian American elected official in Ohio history, and the first Indian American Republican. Newsmax, the conservative media organization, named him this year as the second most influential Republican in the nation under age 30. In 2015, Forbes Magazine included him among the nation’s top “30 Under 30” for Law & Politics.


Cliff Rosenberger (R)–For Ohio House, District 91

State Representative Rosenberger is currently serving his third term in the Ohio House of Representatives. He is an Air Force veteran. He transferred to the 113th Fighter Wing of the District of Columbia after accepting a position with the White House in February 2007. He was awarded the Major General Charles Dick Award for Legislative Excellence for his strong support of the Ohio National Guard while serving in the Ohio House. He was the national political events coordinator for Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.





Sabi Kumar (R)–For House of Representatives, District 66

Dr. Sabi Kumar has served in the Tennessee State Legislature House of Representatives since 2015. He said serving the people of Robertson County is “my way of giving back to the community.” Dr. Kumar donates his salary to local charities and returns his expense allowance to the state. He has practiced surgery in Robertson County since 1977. He and his wife Linda and their daughter are long-time members of the First United Methodist Church in Springfield. Dr. Kumar teaches a Sunday School Class every 2nd Sunday of each month.




Angie Chen Button (R)–For House of Representatives, Dist. 112

Button is serving her 4th term as State Representative for District 112. She promotes job creation and free markets by chairing the Economic and Small Business Development Committee. She authored HB 26 reforming economic development incentive programs to provide oversight and performance metrics. She also served on the Ways and Means Committee, which provided nearly $3.9 billion in tax reductions. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She worked for Texas Instruments after graduating from UT Dallas with a Master’s degree in Science in Management and Administrative Sciences.


Bryan Chu (R)–For Texas House, District 149

In the 60s, it took Bryan Chu’s family six attempts to successfully flee Vietnam by boat and reach the US. He was then 13 years old. Bryan got involved in politics in college, and realized he wanted to serve the public. To foster democracy and to give hope to people being oppressed by the communists in Vietnam, he initiated two radio programs that aired directly to Vietnam: Radio Forum for Democracy (1992-1996) and Vietnam Democracy Radio (2011-present). In 1990, Congresswoman Helen Bentley filed House Resolution 5413. (Bryan had helped in her campaign for a seat in the US Congress.) Congress passed the bill, giving rise to Radio Free Asia.




Brian Shiozawa (R)–For State Senate, District 8

A physician by profession, Shiozawa graduated with a B.S. degree at Stanford University and earned his medical degree from the University of Washington. His professional affiliations include: Utah College of Emergency Physicians, past president; Saint Mark’s Hospital, past president; Utah Medical Association, past president; Governor’s Task Force on Health Care Reform; Lt. Governor’s Task Force on Medical Liability Reform.


Dean Sanpei (R)–For House of Representatives, District 63

In 2010, Sanpei became the Representative for the State Legislature House District 63. He was reelected in 2012 and again in 2014. Currently, he is the vice president for Strategic Planning and Development for Intermountain Healthcare. He started working at Intermountain after graduating with a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University 17 years ago.