A week after Hillary Clinton’s AAPI Outreach Director, Lisa Changadveja, departed the campaign for a position with the Colorado Democratic Party, a replacement has been announced. NBC News reports today that Jason Tengco, the former deputy director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), has been appointed as the Clinton campaign’s newest AAPI Outreach Director.
Tengco, who is Filipino American, comes to the Clinton campaign after three years with WHIAAPI; two of those years were spent as the Initiative’s Deputy Director where he oversaw the first White House Summit on AAPIs and reflected on his childhood for the #ActToChange anti-bullying campaign. Prior to that, Tengco worked as an Asian Pacific American Institute Congressional Studies (APAICS) Fellow for Congressman Mike Honda, and with the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA).
Tengco boasts an impressive resume, but he also faces a steep task in engaging the AAPI community for Clinton. Asian Americans are the fastest-growing community in the United States with many potential new voters likely to head to the polls in the coming months as well as this November. However, only 46% of AAPIs report having ever been contacted by a candidate from either party prior to voting — a possible cause for notoriously low AAPI voter turnout rates — suggesting that there is significant room for candidates of either political party to improve AAPI outreach.
It will be interesting to see what strategies Tengco will introduce to improve outreach by the Clinton campaign to AAPI voters. One thing is certain, though: a strong performance in this task is essential for Clinton if she (or another candidate) is to become the Democratic Party’s nominee and win the White House this fall.