The 115th Congress is History-Making for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Article Source: NBC News
Original Post Date: January 4, 2017

Image: A lone worker passes by the U.S. Capitol building in Washington

From a record number of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in Congress to the first Indian-American women elected to the Senate and House of Representatives, the swearing in of the 115th Congress Tuesday represents a number of history-making firsts for the AAPI community:

  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is the first Thai American elected to the Senate and the first Asian-American senator elected from the state of Illinois. Prior to her election, she was also the first Asian-American House representative from the state.
  • Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) is the first Vietnamese-American woman to be elected to Congress and only the second Vietnamese American, following former Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.). She is also the first Asian-American representative from Florida.
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) is the first Indian-American woman elected to the House of Representatives as well as the first Asian-American representative from Washington.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is the first Indian-American woman elected to the Senate.
  • Including Harris, there are four women of color in the Senate, an all-time high. Of those four, three are AAPI — Harris, Duckworth, and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hi.).
  • In addition to Jayapal and Harris, there are three other Indian-American members of Congress — Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) — for a total of five, a record high for the Indian-American community.
  • In total, there are 18 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the 115th Congress, an all-time record, up from the prior high of 14 AAPI members in the 114th Congress, according to the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

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