Asian Americans made historic strides in politics this year, but true representation still far off – GBH News

History was made across the country this month when Boston, Seattle and Cincinnati all elected Asian American mayors, a step towards political representation for a traditionally under-represented community. State Representative Tram Nguyen and Paul Watanabe, Director for the Institute for Asian American Studies at UMass Boston, joined Sue O’Connell on Greater Boston to discuss.
Despite Michelle Wu’s historic election in Boston, the U.S. still has a long way to go, Watanabe said. A report from the Reflective Democracy Campaign found that AAPI people make up 6% in of the U.S. population, but just 0.9% of elected leaders across all levels of government — the lowest representation of any demographic.
“Even a year ago when people in the United States were polled to name a famous Asian American person — over 40% couldn’t name a single Asian American,” Watanabe said. “Now, I hope they can name the vice president of the United States and the mayor of Boston and the mayor of Cincinnati.”
Nguyen praised the excitement and enthusiasm around a new generation of Asian Americans getting involved in civic activism. “Asian Americans are the fastest growing segment of eligible voters, and we are becoming a voting bloc,” she said. “It’s really exciting to see.”
WATCH: Asian Americans made historic strides in politics this year

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