Growing effort to get representation for Asian Americans in elected office

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Nevada’s lawmaking bodies are some of the most diverse in the country, by almost any measure.  But there is one group that is underserved, so there’s a growing effort to get them elected into office.

The issue came into the forefront after an Asian American heritage event that featured Asian American speakers, but none of them were politicians. After noticing that, 8 News NOW decided to take a deeper look.

Asian Americans make up nearly 10 percent of the population in Clark County, but not 10 percent of the elected officials.

“I decided to make a difference by running for office,” said Paul Nimsuwan, ran for State Assembly.

His desire to help others is what drove Nimsuwan to run for the Nevada State Assembly.    

Nimsuwan didn’t make it out of the primary, but that loss didn’t discourage him, and he says others in the Asian American community shouldn’t be discouraged from running for office either.     

“The culture is a huge barrier in the process, so we need someone to understand the culture; how do we come over the barrier,” Nimsuwan said.

So how big is this barrier Nimsuwan speaks of?

None of the six Nevadans in Washington, D.C. are Asian Americans. The same goes for the 63 State Senate and Assembly positions, nor the constitutional offices.

After searching Clark County’s elected offices for two hours, it was discovered that aside from the judges, there wasn’t one Asian American elected official.  That goes for any town advisory boards, the school board, county commission, or any of the city councils.

When put into perspective, that’s dozens and dozens of positions without any Asian American representation.

“That is huge,” said Ash Mirchandani, chairman of ACC PAC.

Michandani is the chairman of the Asian Chamber of Commerce’s Political Action Committee.  He says that void existed during the 16 years he worked for the state.

But now he’s started the PAC to help Asian Americans become more involved in the political process.

“As we grow the awareness; as we engage them, as we bring them to the table, that’ll all change,” Mirchandani said.  

Nimsuwan says there’s no better time than now to get involved.

“If you sit back, there’s no change going to be made,” Nimsuwan said. “If we don’t make it, who else is going to do it for us.”

8 News NOW has learned since the PAC launched a few months ago, more people in the Asian american community have come forward and expressed interest in running for office.
    

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