Monday, May 07, 2007

80-20 Goes To Washington - Congressional Visit & Board Meeting

80-20 Goes To Washington

- Successful Congressional Visit & Board Meeting

By David Yang, Chair of Legislative Committee

Dear 80-20 Members and Supporters,

Thanks to your continual support, our first Board meeting in Washington D.C. was a complete success. Our three-day gathering in the nation’s capital began on Friday, April 20th. (All hotel and travel expenses were paid for by individual Board members out of their own pockets.) In the morning and the afternoon, members of the Board met with the counsels of nine US senators including Senators Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Mel Martinez and Kay Hutchison; as well as seven US representatives including Reps. Tom Lantos and Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House. Folders of information on our organization and our issues on Glass Ceiling and Federal Judges were presented to these elected officials. Most of them were very receptive and sympathetic to our concerns, and many also offered constructive suggestions which are much appreciated. The day concluded with a successful dinner/reception, highlighted by the presence of three distinguished members of Congress: Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas, Rep. Al Green of Houston and Rep. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. They have all championed the cause of Asian-Americans in the halls of Congress and are some of our most supportive friends.

After the productive visits on Friday, the Board convened on Saturday and Sunday to chart a new plan of action for the crucial year ahead leading up to the next Presidential election. A number of strategic decisions were reached, including bold new strategies of campaign endorsement as well as new initiatives on combating discrimination and increasing membership. Detailed plans for their implementation were laid out, ranging from a reception/fund-raiser on the Hill to a major website upgrade. In response to frequent inquiries from concerned members, a new Legislative Affairs Committee was created to monitor legislations of particular concern to Asian Americans, and I have the honor and the privilege to serve as your first chairperson of this Committee. The Committee is currently monitoring three pieces of legislation under consideration by Congress. These are the Filipino Veterans Equity Act, the Resolution Calling on the Japanese Government to Apologize for the Use of "Comfort Women" in WWII, and the Asian-American/Pacific-Islander (AA/PI) Serving Institutions Act. In the next week or so, we will submit a report summarizing these bills, and recommending action to our supporters.

Best regards,

David Yang
Chair, Legislative Committee
80-20 PAC, Inc.

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