May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the United States. Despite a significant presence in this country’s history and politics, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have often been marginalized and underrepresented in the United States government. To combat this issue, and the increasing incidents of hate crimes and racism against AAPIs in the U.S., it’s plain to see we need more Asian American and Pacific Islanders elected at all levels of government.

DSPolitical is proud to work with exceptional clients, candidates, and partners to help elect some of these sorely-needed AAPI candidates up and down the ballot. In 2022 we aided 50 AAPI candidates across the country, 6 of whom were elected to the U.S. House. See more about these candidates (and others) here.

We believe that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are an integral part of the American fabric, and their diverse experiences and perspectives are crucial to shaping policies that impact all Americans. To celebrate the significant contributions of AAPIs and highlight some of the trailblazers who have impacted the community, we have compiled a list of Asian American and Pacific Islander trailblazers that you should know about.

Andy Kim

Andy Kim is the first Democratic, Korean-American member of Congress. In 2022, DSPolitical’s Connected TV strategy brought digital TV ads to Rep. Andy Kim’s media market with 100% efficiency, helping him to secure re-election in a competitive race for NJ-03.

Nabilah Islam

Nabilah Islam, a 2022 DSPolitical Ad Grant Recipient, made triple history with her victory– she was the first South Asian woman elected, one of the first Muslim women elected, and the youngest person ever elected to the state Senate in Georgia’s history.

Hai Pham

Dr. Hai Pham and his family first emigrated to Oregon after the Vietnam War as refugees. In 2022, Dr. Pham was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives– representing District 36. Praxis Political utilized Deploy to run display ads for this first-time candidate.

Duy Nguyen

Representing Nevada State Assembly District 8, Duy Nguyen is the first Asian American to represent a neighborhood where Asian Americans were the majority. He said his presence brings, “…a way to make sure that all voices are at the table.”

Judy Chu

The first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress in history, Judy Chu has been a cross-ethnic coalition builder throughout her career. Congresswoman Chu has held a seat in Congress since 2009.

Rob Bonta

When Democrat Rob Bonta was sworn into office in 2021, he became California’s first Filipino-American attorney general, and the second Asian American to occupy the position.

Evan Low

When he was first elected to his position in the California State Assembly, Low made history by achieving several milestones. He became the first Asian American and openly LGBT person to be elected to Campbell’s City Council, the youngest Asian American Mayor in the country, and the youngest Asian American legislator to be elected to the Assembly in state history.

The tireless effort of these individuals and countless other advocates is leading to positive change in AAPI representation at all levels of government. However, there is still a long way to go in making sure diverse perspectives are heard and policies are created to meet the needs of all Americans– including those of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. By pushing for more AAPI representation in politics, we can take a step forward towards a more equitable and inclusive society for everyone.