Recognizing Asian American Pacific Heritage Month


Madam Speaker, I rise today to commemorate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Last week marked the 30th anniversary of the first ever Asian Pacific American Heritage Week, made possible by a joint resolution signed by President Jimmy Carter.

I am proud to represent one of the most diverse congressional districts in the country. One in four of my constituents is of Asian Pacific heritage--many of whom are of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese descent.

The 29th Congressional District boasts of an impressive list of Asian Pacific American civic leaders who are strongly committed to this community. John Chiang, serving California as Controller, is the highest-ranking Asian Pacific American elected state official. Also, as one of California's twelve constitutional officers, Judy Chu serves as Vice Chair of the California State Board of Equalization. Other state officials include State Senator Carol Liu and Assembly Member Mike Eng. On the local level, we have Alhambra Council Members Stephen Sham and Gary Yamauchi; Alhambra Unified School Board Members Chester Chau and Robert ``Bob'' Gin; Garvey School Board Members Janet Chin, Henry Lo, and John Yuen; Monterey Park Mayor Mitchell Ing and Council Members David Lau, Betty Tom Chu, and Anthony Wong; San Gabriel Council Member Albert Huang; South Pasadena Council Member Mike Ten; South Pasadena Unified School Board Member Joseph Loo; Temple City Mayor Judy Wong and Council Member Vincent Yu; and Temple City Unified School Board Member Janet Rhee.

During the 110th Congress, I had the distinct honor of introducing legislation to pay tribute to the former Mayor of San Gabriel, Chi Mui, by posthumously naming the San Gabriel Post Office in his honor. Chi was the first Chinese American mayor in San Gabriel, a city where close to half of the population is Asian American. The bill was signed into law on August 12, 2008 and the post office was dedicated on October 25, 2008, one day before Chi's fifty-sixth birthday, making this the third post office in the nation to be named after a Chinese American. In addition, to commemorate Women's History Month earlier this year, I had the privilege of naming Melinda Hsia and Yin Yin Huang Women of the Year in the 29th Congressional District. They are truly exceptional women who have improved the quality of life for our community.

The contributions of Asian Americans to our country is not limited to the above-mentioned individuals. Our Nation has benefited from the contributions of Asian Americans for decades. The Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, commonly known as the ``Go For Broke'' regiments, courageously served our nation during World War II and earned several awards for their distinctive service in combat. Earlier this year, I introduced legislation to pay tribute to the ``Go For Broke'' regiment by awarding them the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress's highest civilian honor.

This past April marked the 30th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act. It has been three decades since the United States and Taiwan codified their commercial and cultural relations and a great number of my constituents have benefited greatly from this action. I also recently had the pleasure of participating in the Committee of 100 19th Annual Conference--a forum to address issues regarding U.S.-China relations and issues of importance to the Chinese American community.

Americans of Asian descent are one of the fastest growing minority groups in the nation. I am positive that in the years to come, we will be adding many more names to the growing list of civic leaders and many more distinctions to their list of accomplishments. I am truly honored to represent the many extraordinary men and women in my district and commend their selfless dedication and service to the community.