Meet 5 American AAPI political leaders 2023

The fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the country is Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. And this explosive growth is accompanied by a growing influence.

POLITICO is recognizing the contributions and influence of Asian power actors at the local, state, federal, and even international levels during AAPI Heritage Month.

Here are five Asian American politicians and activists worth monitoring.

They were featured in March on our annual Power List of forty individuals with undeniable influence over major policy battles, including abortion, environmental justice, elections, and fraught negotiations with geopolitical adversaries.

Kamala Harris

The vice president, who was included on The Recast Power List for leading the White House’s abortion access struggle during the midterm elections, urged the administration to continue discussing the abortion issue, arguing that it was a matter of personal liberty and would resonate with voters of any gender.

Expect Harris to play a prominent role in convincing voters to grant the Biden-Harris administration four more years, in light of Biden’s announcement of his reelection bid last week.

Diana Hwang

Hwang is nothing short of a catalyst for change. She established a program to identify and promote progressive AAPI women in political leadership years ago. In the past year, she has stepped up her game, with the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative establishing a fellowship program that awards up to $10,000 to women for civic impact initiatives.

With upcoming elections in 2019 and a growing AAPI political presence, we anticipate that you will hear much more about her in the future years.

Kimberly Yee

A politician who can connect with their constituents is unparalleled. Yee demonstrated this unlike any other Arizona Republican in the previous election cycle. In a year in which election deniers Kari Lake and Blake Masters ran on the same ticket and lost their respective campaigns, Yee easily won the state treasurer’s race. She ascribed it to her campaign’s commitment to avoiding “side issues.”

Yee is now one of the few Asian American women nationwide to hold a statewide office. Expect her standing among National Republicans to increase over the next year.

Todd Kim

If you care about holding pollutants accountable, contact Kim. Kim’s specialty is taking companies to court and compelling them to pay to limit the release of toxic chemicals into the air, as well as submitting complaints in cities like Jackson for violating safe drinking water regulations for residents.

Environmental justice is a key pillar of the Biden administration’s platform, so keep a watch out for the DOJ attorney as he continues this battle.

Lindsay Kagawa Colas

Colas, who was paired on our list with Cherelle Griner, the wife of formerly detained WNBA superstar Brittney Griner, played a crucial role in securing the basketball player’s release from a Russian prison. Colas used her bullhorn to emphasize why Griner was in Russia in the first place: the enormous pay gap between WNBA and NBA champions.

Colas, who functions as Griner’s agent, will assist Griner as she navigates her way back to court while advocating for other detained Americans in Russia.

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