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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Virginia political leaders celebrate new Democratic Asian American caucus

Organizers, members, and supporters of the state Democratic Asian American caucus.

A multicultural mix of politicians, candidates past and present, and their supporters gathered at Fortune restaurant in Seven Corners Oct. 1 to celebrate the launch of the Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

The creation of this caucus “recognizes that Asian Americans are a growing force in Virginia,” said attorney general candidate Mark Herring, who represents parts of Loudoun County in the Virginia Senate.

The current attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli (R), who’s running for governor, “abused the power of office,” Herring said, and the Republican candidate for attorney general, Sen. Mark Obenshain (Harrisburg), who’s been endorsed by the Tea Party, would continue the policies of his predecessor, including “the assault on women’s rights and voter suppression.”

U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, who represents the 3rd District (stretching from Richmond to Norfolk), spoke about how the Republicans in Congress shut down the government because they don’t like Obamacare. “We’re not going to respond to threats,” he told the audience.

The showdown over raising the national debt ceiling is going to be even worse, Scott said. “Every reputable economist said refusing to act on the debt is stupid and will have adverse implications for the global economy,” he said. “This just shows how important the upcoming election in Virginia is.”  

“My hope is in my lifetime, we’ll have an Asian American president,” said Hung Nguyen, one of the organizers of the caucus, who is campaigning to unseat Del. Jim LeMunyon (R) in the 67th District, which includes parts of Oakton and Chantilly.

Del. Mark Keam, who represents the 35th District (running from McLean to Fair Oaks) and is the first Asian-born immigrant in the Virginia General Assembly, said, with the new caucus, “we finally have a seat at the table.”

Among other Democratic leaders and candidates at the caucus reception: Del. Kaye Kory of Annandale; Del. Charniele Herring of Alexandria and chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia; Fairfax County Sheriff candidate Stacy Kincaid; Chris Lu, former cabinet secretary in the Obama Administration; Atif Qarni, who’s running against Del. Bob Marshall in the 13th District (Manassas); and Kathleen Murphy, who’s running against Del. Barbara Comstock in the 34th District (Great Falls).

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