It’s been a big year for Asian Americans in politics. Here, some of the highlights and names you need to know.
If you didn’t know already, now you do — Pete Rouse is the first Asian American Chief of Staff in U.S. history. Rouse, who replaced Rahm Emanuel as the Chief of Staff in the Obama Administration in October, is of Japanese descent. Rouse is known as the 101st senator for his extensive knowledge about Congress. He had the role of chief of staff even when Obama was Senator. When Obama came into the White House, Rouse had the role of Senior Advisor. Rouse said in an interview that he “basically does the inside, organizational stuff and strategic stuff internally.”
Bobby Jindal was formally a member of the House of Representatives and is currently the 55th governor of Louisiana. On October 20, 2007, Jindal became the youngest current governor in the United States. Jindal is the first elected non-white governor of Louisiana, and the first Indian American governor in the country. In November 2010, Jindal published a book titled Leadership and Crisis that discusses leadership and how it influences events like in the occurrence of the Gulf Oil Spill.
If there is one woman not to underestimate, it’s Kamala Harris. Harris is the Attorney General of California, and not only is she the first African American and first Asian American attorney general in California, but also the first Indian American attorney general in the United States. Harris served as a Deputy District Attorney, then became a Managing Attorney of the Career Criminal Unit at the San Francisco District Attorney’s office. Finally in 2003, she was elected as the District Attorney of San Francisco and then again in 2007. It only made sense that from there she run for California Attorney General in 2010. The Los Angeles Daily Journal names Harris one of the top 100 lawyers in California.
Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public School System of Washington D.C. announced her resignation on October 13, 2010. She was the one who founded The New Teacher Project, which works with urban school districts to train new teachers to help narrow the achievement gap for high-need students. The New Teacher Project was founded in 1997 and is a non-profit organization. In the 10 years that it has been established, they have recruited more than 10,000 teachers and reached 20 states. Rhee had originally started out as a teacher in Baltimore, Md., as a recruit for Teach For America. As a teacher, Rhee was able to help her students, who were ranging in the 13th percentile, raise their scores into the 90th over the span of two years. Recently, while on the Oprah Winfrey Show, she announced her new movement called Students First where she hopes to have 1 million members raise $1 billion to catalyze education reform in the U.S.
Ever hear of the name Sukhee Kang? No? Well, he is the current mayor of Irvine, Calif. In 2004, he was elected to the Irvine City Council and then re-elected in 2006. In 2008, Kang became the first Korean American to serve as mayor of a U.S. city. Then in November 2010, he was re-elected as Mayor. Both he and his wife, Joanne, were born and raised in South Korea and immigrated to the U.S. in 1977. Kang was recently recognized “for his community leadership and citizenship by the Carnegie Corporation of New York which salutes immigrants who have made significant contributions to the country.”
Who what where? Asian America in the news this week.
The First Asian American Attorney General in California
Attorney General-Elect of California, Kamala Harris, will be succeeding Jerry Brown. Check this: she’s the first female African American attorney general, the first Asian American attorney general in California and the first Indian American attorney general in the U.S. That’s a whopping three records in one title, but for her, it’s her civic duty to serve the state despite her views, which include major support for the LGBT community and little or no support for the death penalty.
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Cheap Chic Crosses the Pond
Forever 21 has invaded the malls of America, but now the clothing and accessories company has opened a store in the United Kingdom to engage in some friendly completion with other established European stores like Topshop from England, H&M from Sweden and Zara from Spain. Forever 21 was started in Los Angeles by South Korean couple, Dong-Won Chang and Jin Sook in the ’80s, but now it is one of the fastest growing retailers globally.
This megastore sells cheap fashion via garments that don’t last for too long, but that just may be the ideal deal since many fashion trends don’t last very long either.
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A Pageant of Their Own
Thailand has been holding its own international beauty pageant since 2004, but since when did anyone realize that it is a beauty competition for transvestites? It’s difficult to tell because the contestants look all too much like Barbie dolls. For the Miss International Queen 2010 competition, the 27-year-old Miss Korea, known as Mini Han, took the crown. Runners-up were Ami Takeuchi from Japan and Stasha Sanchez from the United States.
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Oops, They Did It Again
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Kazakhstan for damage control after WikiLeaks released more unflattering U.S. diplomatic documents. Recently, even more Iraq agendas were posted.
Do you think that WikiLeaks has gone too far, or are they just preserving our First Amendment rights?