by Akemi Tamanaha, AsAmNews Associate Editor
The Republican National Committee has opened an Asian Pacific American Community Center in Issaquah, Washington.
The RNC has established several different community centers as part of a multi-cycle, multi-million dollar investment to attract voters of color. Each community center has one full-time staffer who is hired from within the community to improve voter outreach.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, led the effort to open, the Asian Pacific American Community Center in Issaquah. The center officially opened Tuesday, August 30, with an afternoon press conference.
“This new community center underscores the Republican Party’s ironclad commitment to engaging with the Asian Pacific American community here in Issaquah. Democrats have taken APA voters for granted for far too long – we want to put down roots in this community, have a conversation, and earn your vote. We look forward to working together to create a better future for our children here in Washington and across the country,” McDaniel said in a statement.
Voters of color were key in helping President Joe Biden defeat former president Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Asian American turnout in Georgia also helped Biden win the state.
Republicans are hoping to get voters of color to change sides. RNC Spokesperson and Director of Asian Pacific American Media Nainoa Johsens said in emailed comments to AsAmNews that the party is focusing “on the issues that matter to working Americans like out-of-control inflation and violent crime.”
The rise in anti-Asian violence during the pandemic has caused fear and anxiety throughout the community. The RNC believes the Democrats are to blame.
“Democrats endanger Asian Americans by allowing violent criminals to be let go without any consequences, and Republicans will put an end to these reckless defund-the-police policies because the Republican Party is the party of law and order,” Johsens said in an email.
After Roe v. Wade was overturned, many AAPI voters expressed their concern for reproductive rights. The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, an organization that was key in helping increase AAPI voter turnout in Georgia, said the decision was an attack on the AAPI community.
“This is a direct and pernicious assault on people of color, including Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities where the path to abortion care is riddled with language barriers, cultural stigmas, and low rates of insurance coverage among our most vulnerable community members,” Isra Pananon Weeks, interim executive director and chief of staff of NAPAWF said in a June press release.
Republicans have been criticized for their anti-abortion stance. AsAmNews asked the RNC how it planned to address AAPI voters who are concerned about abortion rights. Johsens did not provide a comment addressing the party’s stance on abortion.
The Washington State Democrats could not be reached in time for comment on the new center.
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