May 27, 2015

Senate Passes Hirono’s Bipartisan Resolution Recognizing Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Throughout APA Heritage Month, Hirono Celebrates Contributions Of AAPI Community, Introduces Legislation To Support AAPIs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Late last week, the United States Senate passed Senator Mazie K. Hirono’s bipartisan resolution recognizing May as Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month.

“Over the course of this month, I’ve met dynamic Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders who continue to build upon the achievements and foundation laid by Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) trailblazers.” said Senator Hirono. “‎In recognition of APA heritage month, I led a bipartisan group of Senators in passing a resolution recognizing the contributions of leaders including Senators Daniel K. Inouye, Daniel K. Akaka and Representative Patsy T. Mink, and the powerful voice that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will lend to shaping our country’s future. I am proud to lead several legislative efforts that will keep America’s promise to Compact of Free Association migrants, improve data on AAPI students, and fight diseases disproportionately affecting the AAPI community. Although the AAPI community has made great strides in recent years, there is much work to be done in addressing the unique needs of our community. I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to accomplish these goals.”

The resolution was cosponsored by‎ a large, bipartisan coalition including Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Dean Heller (R-NV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

Throughout APA Heritage Month, Senator Hirono, the first Asian American woman elected to the United States Senate, celebrated the contributions and progress made by the AAPI community by introducing key legislation and attending Heritage Month festivities.

Senator Hirono Introduces Legislation to Support Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Senator Hirono and the Hawaii Congressional Delegation introduced legislation to reinstate Medicaid eligibility for Compact of Free Association (COFA) migrants.

In 1996, Congress passed a law that made migrants from Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands ineligible for federal Medicaid dollars. Without federal dollars, Hawaii has borne the cost of care for COFA migrants which has strained the state’s resources. Each year, the state spends an estimated $30 to $40 million to provide health care to these families.

Senator Hirono also introduced other legislation to support AAPIs—a bill to shine a light on hidden achievement gaps facing AAPI students by reporting disaggregated student data using the same AAPI subgroups as the Census and a bill to create a national Hepatitis system that includes both Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C virus to determine the prevalence of both.

Senator Hirono Leads Senate Democrats in Celebrating Asian American, Pacific Islander & Native Hawaiian Heritage Month

Senator Hirono co-chaired a Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee reception in the Capitol for Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian leaders. Senator Hirono discussed the importance of recognizing the AAPI community’s unique differences and continuing to grow the pipeline of AAPI leaders as well as highlighted her push for important legislation.

Senator Hirono with Senators Amy Klobuchar and Brian Schatz

Senator Hirono Speaks At White House AAPI Forum

In continuing to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Senator Hirono spoke at the White House’s AAPI Leaders Forum. In a room full of AAPI leaders from across the country, the Senator highlighted the importance of greater representation in leadership positions and diverse voices at the decision table.

Senator Hirono at the White House AAPI Leaders Forum with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

Senator Hirono Attends Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies Gala

 

Finally, Senator Hirono attended the annual Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) Gala Awards Dinner to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The evening honored AAPI leaders—both current and pioneers—and recognized individuals and organizations that continue to politically empower the AAPI community.

Senator Hirono with former Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta, the first Asian American Presidential Cabinet member