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Republicans seek to convert Asian Americans

By Jenny Manrique, Ethnic Media Services with additional reporting by AsAmNews

In an overwhelmingly blue state where according to the California Public Policy Institute, the majority of African American, Latino and AAPI voters are Democrats, Republicans flipped four districts in the last congressional election with minority candidates.

According to the new faces, their agendas seek to “raise the conservative voices” of minorities, and find “bipartisan consensus” to legislate.

“The Republican Party for me, is not the great old party, but the great opportunity party,” said Young Kim, US representative to the CA 39th District, which includes Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange County, one of the most diverse districts in the country where Joe Biden won by 10 points.

“Asian Americans should not automatically be considered as members of the Democratic Party. We have our voices, we have our shared values, we have our conservative views.”

Kim is an immigrant from South Korea, mother of four children, and one of four Korean Americans who were sworn into the 117th Congress. She is also one of 11 Republican women who flipped a Democratic seat in the last election, and who was recently ranked as the most bipartisan freshmen in Congress.

One of her bills approved with Democratic support was the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act that gives small business owners two more months to access unspent funds from that program in order to keep their doors open and their employees on payroll. “That small extension allows 2.7 million small businesses to receive $54 billion,” she said.

She also supports legislation that provides a permanent solution to DACA recipients and to foreign students who get their education at US universities, but cannot adjust their status to stay in the country. “As we talk about immigration reform, I would like to see separate legislation to fix DACA,” she said.

While she supports Biden’s $ 1.2 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill, she disagrees that the $1.9 trillion budget to deal with COVID-19 is redirected to other purposes, “such as caring for migrants who are in the community”.

“As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the work of Congress will play a large role in dictating our future,” Kim said. “And by getting the government out of the way and making life more affordable for workers and families, we can get our economy and our lives back on track.”

Late last month, the Republicans opened their first APA community center in California.

The Center opened in Little Saigon where Republican support is stronger than in most Asian American communities due to their largely anti-communist stance.

“It demonstrates we are doubling down on our commitment to invest in the APA community long-term and shows we are serious about earning every vote. It’s one of many ways we’re putting Democrats on defense here in California and across America,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement to The Hill. 

According to Fox News, Republicans have budgeted millions of dollars to enhance their ground game and to attract minority voters who have traditionally voted Democrat.

Similar community centers are planned in other communities of color.

Fox News reported each center would have a dedicated staffer hired from within the community.

All this comes as Republicans have been successful in passing 28 laws in 17 states limiting accessing to voting among primarily people of color, according to the Brannan Center.

The Supreme Court recently upheld one of those laws in Arizona, reported NBC News, saying mere convenience does not constitute a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

Democrats have countered by bolstering its voter registration efforts, allocating $25 million for voter education, reported USA Today.

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