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RELEASE: Slate of newly elected Asian American state legislators forms Minnesota’s first Asian Pacific Caucus

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

SAINT PAUL, MN – Today, a group of new State Representatives-elect and new Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Fue Lee (DFL-Minneapolis) are announcing that they are forming the Minnesota Asian Pacific (MAP) Caucus during Minnesota’s 91st legislative session. The election of the largest class of Asian Americans to the Minnesota State Legislature in history was one of the most significant outcomes of the 2018 midterm elections in the Midwest.

“The primary purpose of the MAP Caucus is to be a visible, engaged and collective voice in addressing the needs and interests of all Minnesotans as well as the diverse Asian Pacific American communities. Our aim is to increase equity, access, and participation in all levels of governance in the State of Minnesota,” said MAP Caucus Chair and Representative-elect Samantha Vang (DFL – Brooklyn Center).

The number of Asian Americans serving in the State Senate and House tripled from 2 to 6 members, enough to have a collective voice on critical issues.

“The 2018 mid-term election was historic. Minnesotans elected five Representatives of Asian descent. Minnesotans embraced the notion that diverse representation brings about new thinking, ideas, and solutions. The collective educational and professional experiences, along with the life stories of the MAP caucus members will bring forth new perspectives and priorities that have long been missing from the State Legislature,” said Vice Chair of the MAP Caucus Kaohly Her (DFL – St. Paul).

“Asian Pacific Minnesotans make up about 5% of the overall Minnesota population, but only about 3% of its legislative body, so we have a ways to go. The MAP Caucus is a first step in the right direction in putting all of Minnesotans’ concerns on the map,” added MAP Caucus member and Representative-elect Jay Xiong (DFL – St. Paul).

Rep. Fue Lee, who was the only Asian American in the State House in his first term, was recently elected Assistant Majority Leader by his DFL colleagues and this session he will be joined by Representative-elect Samantha Vang (DFL-Brooklyn Center), Representative-elect Tou Xiong (DFL-Maplewood), Representative-elect Kaohly Her (DFL-St. Paul), and Representative-elect Jay Xiong (DFL-St. Paul). That increases the number of Representatives of Hmong descent in the Minnesota House to five. Senator Foung Hawj (DFL-St. Paul) is the only Asian American member of the Minnesota Senate.

“I’m honored to help lead our DFL caucus as Assistant Majority Leader, and it is also a great honor to be joined by many new colleagues who will help bring a stronger voice to the issues of Hmong Minnesotans, and all Minnesotans of Asian-Pacific heritage,” said Rep. Lee. “Our Asian-Pacific communities in Minnesota are diverse but they have many shared goals. We will be working together to bring greater focus to good jobs, strong schools, affordable healthcare and stronger investments in the success of future generations of Minnesotans in every community throughout our state, and especially the communities that have sent us here to represent them at the Capitol.”