Mark Uyeda, nominated to serve as a commissioner on the Securities and Exchange Commission, testified on Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee.

Uyeda is a career attorney with the SEC, currently detailed to the Senate Banking Committee. If confirmed, he would be the first Asian Pacific American to serve as an SEC commissioner in the SEC’s 88-year history. He has over 25 years of experience in corporate and securities law, including 18 years of public service working in federal and state government.

Mark Uyeda

From 2004 to 2006, Uyeda served as chief advisor to the California corporations commissioner, the state’s securities regulator. Before entering public service, Uyeda was an attorney in private practice with O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Los Angeles, and Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP in Washington, D.C.

President Biden nominated Uyeda in April. He would serve as one of five commissioners of the SEC, which is charged with the mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair and orderly markets and facilitating capital formation.

U.S. Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) praised Uyeda as a “smart, fair, diligent, and humble colleague.”    

“Having personally worked with Mark during his time as an SEC attorney detailed to the Senate Banking Committee, I know first-hand that Mark’s depth of knowledge on securities and markets is unrivaled.”

In prepared written testimony, Uyeda recalled learning the values of hard work from his grandfather, Mac Yukihiro, who ran the family business, Yukihiro Produce in Westminster:

“My grandfather kept up this physical labor well into his 70s. Every day, even during the hot summers, he would wear a collared, button-down shirt and work trousers, which were always neatly ironed. To me, that image of him has always represented the dignity of work.

“My grandfather had to build his business twice. First, in the 1930s, he dropped out of high school to support his five younger siblings after both of his parents died. The second time was after World War II, when he and his family – including my mother – lost nearly everything when they were forcibly incarcerated in internment camps pursuant to Executive Order 9066 because they were Americans of Japanese ancestry.

“At the same time, my uncle was fighting in Europe with the U.S. Army’s segregated 442nd Regimental Combat Team, where he was awarded the Bronze Star and served in Company ‘E’ alongside former Sen. Daniel Inouye.”

Uyeda said that his family’s business shaped his views on the need for start-up financing and capital formation.

“Finding startup capital was difficult for my grandfather, particularly in an era where racial discrimination was common. Yet he persevered and accomplished the American dream. The story of the immigrant family business has been often repeated in the Asian American community – whether a restaurant, dry cleaner, nail salon, or donut shop – and that perspective has helped shape my views on the need for start-up financing and capital formation,” Uyeda said.

Uyeda’s nomination has received overwhelming support from the Asian American community, including statements from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Asian Pacific American Bar Association of D.C. and Japanese American Bar Association. His testimony on Capitol Hill coincided with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

In its statement, JABA said: “The Japanese American Bar Association is pleased and proud to support one of the former members of its Board of Governors for nomination as a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission …

“As a former chief advisor to the commissioner of the California Department of Corporations, a 15-year veteran at the SEC, and an associate at O’Melveny & Myers, Mark’s qualifications are unquestionable. JABA is particularly proud that one of our own would be nominated to be the first Asian Pacific American to serve as an SEC commissioner.”

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