Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Two APAs nominated for cabinet positions

Thanks to all of you, history was made again.

Last year, your faxes to President Clinton helped make Norman Mineta the historic first Asian American Cabinet Secretary. This year, your e-mails helped us reach another milestone -- two Asian American cabinet appointments in a single Administration.

As individuals, our voices were not heard. As an organization with 430,000 supporters pouring e-mails and faxes into the Transition Team within a few days, our unified voice was hard to ignore.

Nevertheless, President-elect Bush and Vice President-elect Cheney must be given ample credit. Even a loud and heartfelt voice takes good political listeners to acknowledge and respond positively.

Finally, let's not forget that 80-20's political capital played a role in these appointments. Said capital includes an exponentially expanding e-mail list and war chest, our increasing chapters and affiliates, and our ability to deliver, as a 2-year-old organization, 63% to 35% in California and 54% to 41% nationally to our endorsed presidential candidate (Gore) in election 2000. Decisions by political leaders are at least partially motivated by political consideration -- how to win his/ her next election. By the presidential election of 2004, there is little doubt that 80-20 will deliver votes at an 8 to 2 ratio to our chosen presidential candidate in key states above and beyond California.

Much remains to be done, however. Getting our elite appointed to significant positions is not equivalent to winning equal opportunity in workplaces for all of us. Our next e-mail will address winning equal opportunity for all APAs.

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Congratulations to Norman Mineta (to be confirmed as The Secretary of Transportation) and Elaine Chao (to be confirmed as The Secretary of Labor). Best wishes to both of you for smooth confirmation hearings.

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A great big "thank you" to reporters in ethnic and non-ethnic media who made numerous inquiries at the Transition Office regarding the possibility of cabinet-level appointments for Asian Americans. Without doubt, those reporters helped add "diversity" to Bush's appointments.

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Many APAs thought 80-20 "lost" because Gore didn't win. However, 80-20's leadership has always stated: "So long as we showed unity and strength at the ballot box, APAs would win regardless of which candidate became the president." The 2 appointments, one Democrat and one Republican, proved the correctness of 80-20's central strategy.

Indeed, 80-20 conjectured that APAs would get more "goodies" from the Republican Party should Bush won, because the GOP had wrestled with 80-20 in California and knew how tough 80-20 was, while the Democratic Party, confident of victory in CA, paid little attention to the APA community in CA during the past election. It is hoped that all APAs will now realize that the more we are ready to deliver a swing bloc-vote, the sooner we will win equal justice and opportunity.


80-20 is a national nonpartisan Political Action Committee dedicated to work for equality and justice for all Asian Americans. For more details, visit http://www.80-20initiative.net