Dec. 27, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER
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Asian-Americans See Gains in Political Clout

Cao, who defeated then-Rep. William Jefferson (D), said he counts Honda as a friend. Their differing political views don’t get in the way, he added. “I think that with respect to Asian issues there are no party lines.”

While Cao is pleased to see a rise of Asian-Americans in politics, he said there still aren’t enough Vietnamese-Americans involved.

“I think on the one hand it comes from the lack of interest,” he said. Many parents don’t encourage their children to get involved in politics because of their experiences with political corruption in Vietnam, he said, although he hopes he will be seen as a role model.

Cao also said he hopes to see Asian- Americans rise further in government, perhaps even to the presidency. “In regards to that, President Obama has broken the glass ceiling,” he said.

Don Nakanishi, who heads the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, said population growth is not the only reason this faction of the country has become more prevalent in politics. Nakanishi said grass-roots organizations have played a large role.

“Many of them are around all the time, and they go to citizenship ceremonies and they try to register people to vote,” he said, referencing groups such as Asian & Pacific American Islander Vote. “Every time there are some particularly attractive candidates running for office, they gear up to get Asian-Americans to register and to vote.”

Honda is confident the rise of Asian-Americans in U.S. government and politics will set a precedent for diversity that the world will follow.

“Children across the globe realize a change is occurring across the country,” he said. “We, too, can be a part of that picture.”

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