Georgia lawmakers have formally created the state’s first-ever Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) caucus consisting of bipartisan members from Georgia’s House and Senate, officials announced on Monday.
The bipartisan group, called the Georgia Legislative Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus, will consist of 12 founding members and 11 voting members from the state’s House and Senate for the 2023 legislative session.
This will mark the highest number of AAPI legislators in the state’s history once the caucus formally assembles at the beginning of the new legislative session on Jan. 9, 2023.
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Some of the plans that caucus members will work on include increasing AAPI representation in the government and addressing issues affecting their communities.
Rep. Sam Park (D, GA-101), who currently serves as the House Minority Caucus Whip, said in a statement that he is “proud to see our diverse AAPI communities continue to grow [in Georgia] and exercise their right to vote to determine our shared future.”
“I look forward to serving in the largest AAPI legislative caucus in the nation,” Park, who claims to be the “first Asian American Democrat elected to the Georgia State Legislature,” added.
“The AAPI community in Georgia is an asset that significantly contributes to the state’s economic growth and prosperity through paying taxes, creating jobs and launching small businesses,” Rep.-elect Farooq Mughal (D, GA-105), also a founding member of the caucus, said.
Other founding members include Rep. Charlice Byrd (R, GA-20), Rep. Bee Nguyen (D, GA-89), Rep. Marvin Lim (D, GA-99), Rep.-elect Saira Draper (D, GA-90), Rep.-elect Soo Hong (R, GA-103), Rep.-elect Ruwa Romman (D, GA-97), Rep.-elect Long Tran (D, GA-80), Sen. Michelle Au (D, GA-50), Sen. Sheikh Rahman (D, GA-5) and Sen.-elect Nabilah Islam (D, GA-7).
In just over a decade, the AAPI community in Georgia has grown by 53 percent, according to a report by APIA Vote released earlier this year. Georgia, the U.S.’ eighth most populous state with over 10.7 million residents, is a member of the National Asian Pacific American Caucus of State Legislators, which has 33 state members.