WASHINGTON — On Dec. 30, 116 current and incoming members of Congress, led by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), sent a bicameral letter to President-elect Joe Biden urging him to name an Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Cabinet secretary.

Norman Y. Mineta served as secretary of commerce under President Bill Clinton and secretary of transportation under President George W. Bush.

So far, in a departure from the past four administrations, none of the 12 Cabinet secretaries nominated thus far have been AAPI.

The members also requested a meeting between Biden and members of CAPAC to discuss the importance of AAPI inclusion and the significance of not having an AAPI secretary serving in a presidential administration for the first time in over 20 years.

“For too long, AAPIs have been overlooked in critical decisions pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and AAPIs continue to be left out of important policy discussions impacting communities of color. We see this in topics ranging from the disproportionate health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to critical policy priorities like immigration reform,” wrote the members.

“The need for diversity at the highest levels is not for the sake of optics. It’s about ensuring all experiences are reflected in our decision making. As we know, ‘personnel is policy.’ And when we have diverse leaders in positions of power, it leads to more inclusive policies that better serve the entirety of our country. That is why we strongly believe there must be an AAPI Cabinet secretary in your administration, just as there has been for over 20 years.”

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