Democratic Presidential Candidates Answer Questions on the Asian American Community in Virtual Town Hall Meet

#AAPI2020

The remaining 2020 Democratic presidential candidates recently addressed issues concerning the Asian American and Pacific Islander community on Twitter in the first AAPI Virtual Town Hall Meeting.

Hosted by APIAVote, the online event tackled questions from NBC journalists and Asian American advocacy groups, which included the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, AAPI-Data, and the Asian American Journalists Association.

Among the campaigns which participated are former Vice President Joe Biden; former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg; former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN); Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT); businessman Tom Steyer; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA).

The first question went straight to how the AAPI community is largely ignored in government policymaking.

“We are one of the fastest-growing populations in the US, yet we are often left out of policy discussions and decision making. How will you ensure #AAPI communities will have a seat at the table? How will you ensure we have a voice within your administration?”

In response, all the candidates proposed appointing diverse members in both the executive and the judiciary. Some pledged to listen to local leaders and communities.

Meanwhile, both Buttigieg and Warren noted that they have Asian American members on their campaign staff.

Gabbard, on the other hand, has proclaimed herself to be the “only AAPI candidate running for President” in the wake of entrepreneur Andrew Yang’s recent exit from the race. Gabbard also said her district is “the most diverse” for its Asian American population. 

One of the questions addressed the issue of the community being perceived as a monolith instead of a diverse community.

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are incredibly diverse. However, studies and data oversimplify the issues that our communities face. What will you do to ensure AAPI data is disaggregated and how will you lift up low-income AAPIs?”

Sanders responded by suggesting a more accurate reflection of the community on the census, while Warren said she intends to form a White House Task Force and work with AAPI communities on the issue.

Other questions pertaining to Asian American issues include the protection of religious freedoms and language barriers to education and healthcare.

The rest of the questions tackled general issues, including immigration, gun control, student loan debt and election-related queries such as voter suppression.

According to APIA Vote, the Asian American voting population is growing, with 46% of them not identifying with a particular political party.

The Nevada caucuses will take place on February 22, while Super Tuesday, when the greatest number of U.S. states will hold primary elections and caucuses, will be held on March 3.

Feature Image via Getty

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