DNC Chairman Agrees to Support Congressional Hearings on Glass Ceiling Discrimination against Asian Americans

AAV Staff News Briefs


The 80-20 Initiative, dedicated to organizing Asian Americans into a national swing voting bloc, announced today that it will dedicate its resources to supporting Democratic candidates in key midterm races – especially in Texas, Illinois, Washington, and New Jersey.  The tripartisan group, however, will also support two GOP candidates this November.

The decision was made after DNC Chairman Howard Dean reached out to the group in response to its aggressive promotion of an election agenda focused on political solutions to combating glass ceiling discrimination against Asian Americans.  Dean extended his support for hearings to examine statistical evidence of the glass ceiling against Asian Americans.

80-20 usually reserves its endorsements for Presidential elections. However, calling for the hearings has been 80-20’s cause celebre since the 2004 election, when it accused Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao of failing to enforce a longstanding Executive Order — which prohibits glass ceiling discrimination — on behalf of Asian Americans.  Some of its past endorsement decisions have been controversial, with often lukewarm responses from both major parties inspiring some partisan rancor among members.  The glass ceiling agenda, however, has cut across party lines and provided a context for 80-20 to weigh in on local and Congressional elections.

Consistent with its strategy of bloc-voting in high electoral point states during Presidential races, 80-20 announced that it would drive its members to focus on tight House and Senate races in areas with where large Asian American populations can make a meaningful impact.

Only one endorsed candidate, Tammy Duckworth, is an Asian American.  The Iraq veteran seeks to replace Henry Hyde in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District, where a sizeable and diverse Asian American population exists.

Another endorsee is Nicholas Lampson in Houston (Texas 22), seeking to replace Tom Delay.  Lampson previously held the seat before being knocked out through redistricting, and has had the support of a popular Houston-area former politician, Gordon Quan, who had early on also been considered as a possible strong contender for the seat.

In Seattle, where Asian Americans (including multiracials) constituted 15% of the population in Census 2000, 80-20 is supporting Darcy Burner for the Washington 8th district.  And in New Jersey, the group will support senatorial candidate Robert Menendez.

In addition, 80-20 announced its support for two Republican “exemptions”. This, despite the lack of responsiveness from the national GOP, and some recent bad blood between 80-20 and the White House Advisory Committee on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.  In a nod to their past services to Asian American community, 80-20 will support Michael N. Castle (R-DE) and Richard W. Pombo (R-CA 11), primarily by specifically withholding support from their opponents.

The announcement of 80-20’s endorsements was made in a release to members by outgoing 80-20 President S.B. Woo, former Lt. Governor of Delaware, who is term-limited by the organization’s bylaws.


On the Net