Q&A with Board Member Edward Simon

The CalAsian Chamber is excited to welcome Ed Simon to our Board. Ed Simon is the Director of Business Performance and Supplier Diversity at California American Water, where he also serves on the Board of Directors as the Inclusion and Diversity Officer. In this role, Ed leads California and Hawaii’s inclusion, diversity, and equity efforts. Ed shared some career insight and his goals as a new CalAsian Board Member.

Tell me more about your role at California American Water and what drives you.

I am California American Water’s Inclusion and Diversity Officer. Here, I have several key roles. First is helping small diverse businesses procure contacts with California American Water through introductions to our procurement leaders, frontline operations, and engineering and functional leads. Second is working with our parent company, American Water, and their Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Leaders to ensure California American is supporting and engaged in diversity efforts including embedding our overall strategies and goals at the state level. Third is my Business Performance Team which includes reporting and analytics, conservation, and customer service. What drives me is the many different aspects of my roles and responsibilities — I love the variety. However, my passion is working with small businesses and seeing them grow, and educating our teams on the many differences that make us all unique and special while ensuring we bring diversity and equity to our workforce. Finally, I want to make a difference and leave a legacy for other African Americans and minorities.

What is your goal for making an impact in diverse communities across California?

My goal is to help small diverse business owners grow their business and revenue by partnering with us to solve both immediate and long-term operational, engineering, and functional needs. I aim to assist the company in its efforts to be a more diverse, inclusive, and belonging organization while providing minorities the same opportunities as non-minorities.

What's some key advice that has helped you throughout your career?

Some key advice that has helped me throughout my career is from my very first mentor, Bob Perry, who said, “Plan your work and work your plan and your plan will work.” I have lived by this advice both personally and professionally. My mom also gave me advice many years ago: "You can do and be whatever you want to be in life."

Learn more about the CalAsian Board of Directors here.


Minority Women Lead at the CalAsian Chamber

At CalAsian, "Minority Women Lead" isn't just an annual event, but also a fact that we are proud to prove. Although most business industries remain dominated by men, we know that women of color consistently provide creativity, perseverance, and innovation to their fields. We know this because we are honored to have a leadership team that is 50% women-led.

This year, CalAsian and National ACE will host the 5th Annual Minority Women Lead, an event which empowers and uplifts diverse women leaders in business. As we anticipate this year's gathering, we'd like to introduce the women who lead CalAsian:

Pat Fong Kushida | President & CEO

Pat has served as the President & CEO of CalAsian since 2010 and the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce since 1993. This combined entity represents the largest ethnic chamber in California.

Pat is known as a visionary, entrepreneurial leader who has helped build programs that strengthen California’s ethnically diverse business community and create economic development opportunities for this community to prosper. Through her leadership, CalAsian has established three federal centers that help minority small businesses: the Sacramento Minority Business Development Agency Business Center, the Small Business Transportation Resource Center - Southwest Region, and the San Joaquin Small Business Development Center.

Pat has established relationships that link the most prominent Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) business organizations to opportunities that provide advocacy, education, and outreach to a significant portion of this state’s demographics, the over 600,000 AAPI-owned businesses in California. Through her efforts, the Chamber has developed partnerships throughout the State with more than 53 community-based organizations. She also created the CalAsian Foundation to house each Chamber’s economic and workforce development, leadership, and education programs. ​

Her strength is forming collaborations with community-based organizations on issues related to regional economic development in order to advance her community’s interests. She has advocated on behalf of the Chamber at the local, state, and federal levels, and developed successful ongoing fund development programs to ensure Chamber viability. Most recently, she formed the Sacramento Inclusive Economic Development Collaborative (Sac IEDC), which is a group of regional chambers and local P-Bids that advocate for the diverse and underserved small business community in the Sacramento Region.

Pat firmly believes in giving back to her community and serves on numerous boards and commissions. Pat is a Senior Fellow, American Leadership Forum; Advisory Board Member, Sac State’s Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Advisory Board Member, Sac State’s College of Business Advisory Council; Board Member, Align Capital Region Board; and Member, Aggie Square Joint Advisory Board Committee.​

Prior to her work in the nonprofit arena, Pat worked in procurement management for major retail corporations for 15 years. She graduated from Sacramento State in 1985 with a B.S. in Business Administration, concentration, Marketing, and a minor in Communications.

Maye Saephanh | Vice President of Global & Domestic Programs

Maye joined the CalAsian team in 2019, originally acting as the Director of the Sacramento MBDA Business Center. She now serves as the Vice President of Global & Domestic Programs at the CalAsian Chamber. Maye brings more than a decade of experience in implementing programs for government and international development agencies in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. She has worked for organizations like World Vision, Food for the Hungry, and the U.S. Agency for International Development in support of developing communities. One of her career highlights includes working with U.S. federal agencies to launch the first international trade export out of Kandahar, Afghanistan in 30 years since the onset of conflict.

Lauren Oto | Vice President of Communications, Marketing, & Events and Foundation Executive Director

Lauren is a well-respected communications professional with more than 13 years of progressive experience in marketing communications, economic development, community impact and fundraising. She holds a B.A. in Organizational Communication from Sacramento State, and an Associate’s Degree in Design and Marketing.

Since 2015, Lauren has served as Vice President of Communications and Membership for the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce and California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, where she works collaboratively with the Senior Staff of Domestic and Global Programs, Public Policy, and Executive Leadership to support all communications and ensure positive brand messaging. In 2021, Lauren was named Executive Director of the CalAsian Foundation, overseeing the workforce development and community initiatives to help create a pipeline for a diverse workforce, understanding the role diversity, inclusion, and advocacy play in advancing our regions forward. Lauren works closely with community leaders and local elected officials, developing strong ties to state leadership and government officials while helping to drive the missions of the Chambers and Foundation.


CalAsian takes great pride in being led by diverse, visionary women. To encourage and support women of color as they thrive, we will gather at the 5th Annual Minority Women Lead on Thursday, August 25, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. PT at The GlassHouse in San Jose, California. Please join us and celebrate entrepreneurial women of color! You can get tickets to attend at minoritywomenlead.eventbrite.com, and learn more about the event at minoritywomenlead.com.


2022: Mid-Year Update


After 12 years as the President & CEO of the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce (CalAsian), I can say with full candor that I learn something new every day. Knowledge is our currency, our catalyst. Every bit of knowledge, no matter how seemingly small, informs how we can drive change. At the Chamber, we talk a lot about change. We have all the decorative language and official terms to describe the extent of our work. But at CalAsian’s core, change is the mission. We advocate for change that will better California’s minority-owned small businesses and create equitable opportunities for them statewide.

Amid a year of elections and critical turning points for our State, I see change happening. It’s not always obvious, but it is there — it’s happening in the people we meet, during the programs we host, and through the policies we advocate for.

Who We’ve Connected With

Change is visible in the 300 businesses we have connected with through the California Dream Fund, a grant opportunity for startup businesses to receive up to $10,000 upon completing training. I see how change is celebrated by our growing number of members and corporate and community sponsors. That growth extends to our board, where we welcomed eight new board members: Larry Chung, Vice President of Local Public Affairs at Southern California Edison; Kären Woodruff, Vice President of Social Impact and Sustainability at Wells Fargo; Adria Stoliar, Senior Manager of Public Engagement - West at DoorDash; Henry Li, General Manager and CEO of Sacramento Regional Transit; Peter Kenny, Senior Vice President of Vegetation Management and Electric Systems Inspections at Pacific Gas & Electric Company; Rena Davis, Head of State Government Affairs and Public Policy at Google; Edward A. Simon II, Director of Business Performance and Supplier Diversity at California American Water; and Melinda Yee Franklin, West Region Executive, Community Engagement/Corporate Responsibility at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Each individual is a visionary leader and a voice for diverse communities, and I look forward to the impact we will make together.

What We’ve Been Doing

In January, CalAsian was selected to operate the San Joaquin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and our team has since served 187 unique clients. Additionally, our team at the Sacramento Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center has served 466 clients and conducted 245 one-on-one counseling sessions since January. The Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC) - Southwest Region has assisted more than 271 clients and held 276 one-on-one sessions. Through these three federal centers, we have provided much needed technical assistance to our minority small business community.

Change isn’t just in the numbers. It’s woven into our conversations and in the diversity of the communities who partake in them. In March, CalAsian hosted the 13th Annual Legislative Summit, a series of conversations centered on equitable policy in our State. Elected officials, Statewide leaders, and community members attended to provide adequate and accurate information that set the tone for policy changes California needs.

In June, we recognized the remarkable ongoing efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) across California. By partnering with the California African American and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, we held the inaugural California Diversity Awards, honoring individuals and corporations who have displayed a devoted commitment to creating diverse, inclusive spaces throughout our State.

As we cautiously return to in-person events, I see both a challenge and an opportunity. The silver living in a digital world is that gathering together will never again be taken for granted. And despite two years of virtual hellos, CalAsian has proven we can execute at the highest level and still deliver impact. Whether we greet one another through screens or shake a person’s hand, we value the opportunity to gather and participate in meaningful and productive ways.

How We’re Advocating

Following the discourse of the 13th Annual Legislative Summit, our policy team dove head-on into advocating for Equity in State Procurement (AB 2019), a bill that will make procurement wholly inclusive for minority-owned small businesses. AB 2019 (Petrie-Norris) passed off the Assembly Floor with unanimous consent and no additional amendments. The bill has now passed out of Governmental Organization unanimously and will be heard in the next committee on June 27, after which, AB 2019 will head to the Senate Committee on Appropriations. If AB 2019 passes off the Senate Floor, the bill will head to the Governor’s desk!

In addition, CalAsian created the Equity in Energy Program to ensure a just transition for our AAPI business community as California shifts away from fossil fuels. A just transition is what we advocate for in every aspect of policy changes that affect our most vulnerable communities. We remain committed to leveling the playing field so that all Californians will benefit equally.

Our policy team also celebrated AAPI Heritage Month in May by honoring AAPI legislators at our first ever CalAsian AAPI Legislative Heritage Reception. The event was a fantastic gathering and displayed the growing diversity of current and rising California legislators.

Looking Ahead

While we celebrate the work already achieved in 2022, the remainder of the year is packed with opportunity. In August, we will hold our 5th Annual Minority Women Lead event, which will host for the first time a live pitch competition for diverse women entrepreneurs to receive funding. Already, I am excited to share with you what challenges, successes, and celebrations we will undoubtedly see throughout the rest of the year.

So much has changed in the years since my vision for the Chamber became a reality — from the first few meetings to back-to-back Zoom calls, from casual networking gatherings to events with Statewide impact. Despite all these shifts, I eagerly anticipate the growth and change that is yet to come. If you watch closely, you’ll see it happening even now.


Pat Fong Kushida
President & CEO
California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce


AAPI Heritage Month: Meet the AAPI Legislators Who Paved the Way

The month of May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month and this annual month-long celebration recognizes the pivotal impact that AAPI individuals and communities have made throughout history. In the state of California, AAPI change makers have paved the way for AAPI legislators today, and you can learn more about these important trailblazers below, ranging from as early as 1960 to 2021.

Alfred Hoyun Song

Alfred Hoyun Song became the first AAPI and Korean American to serve in the Legislature when he was elected to the Assembly in 1961. Prior, Song served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II as the first Korean American commissioned officer. He began his career in public service as the first Asian American on the Monterey Park City Council in 1960. Four years after his historic election to the Assembly, Song was elected to the State Senate. His accomplishments during his three terms in the Senate include serving as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and establishing and chairing the Senate Democratic Caucus.

March Fong Eu

March Fong Eu became the first AAPI woman and Chinese American elected to the Legislature in 1966. She represented the 15th Assembly District, which included Alameda County. Fong Eu earned her Doctorate of Education at Stanford University and served on the Alameda County Board of Education for three terms prior to her election to the Assembly. She is still remembered for her legislative efforts on behalf of environmental preservation and the protection of women’s rights. Fong Eu served on the Education and Public Health committees, and was the Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Revenue and Taxation. After serving four terms in the State Assembly, Fong Eu went on to become the first woman and Asian American elected to statewide office as Secretary of State.

Tom Hom

The election of Tom Hom to the State Assembly in 1968 increased the number of AAPIs in the Legislature to three. Prior to his election, Hom became the first Asian American to serve on the San Diego City Council and was a successful produce merchant. Hom represented the 79th District and served for one term. He served as the Vice Chairman on the Local Government Committee and was a member on both the Commerce and Public Utilities Committee and the Health and Welfare Committee. Hom, the son of immigrant parents who came to the U.S. in the early 1900s, was the first Chinese American man to serve in the Legislature.

Paul Bannai

In 1972, Paul Bannai became the first Japanese American elected to the State Legislature. A veteran of the U.S. Army Intelligence Service, Bannai began his career in public service as a councilman for the city of Gardena. He represented the 53rd Assembly District for four terms until 1980. Committees Bannai served on include: Criminal Justice, Finance and Insurance, Veterans Affairs, Ways and Means, and Rules.

Floyd Mori

Floyd Mori was elected to the Assembly in 1974 to represent the 15th Assembly District and served three terms until 1980. He served as both mayor and council member for the Pleasanton City Council prior to his election to the Assembly. Formerly a college economics professor, Mori was an active member of the community and is currently the Executive Director of the National Japanese American Citizens League.

Nao Takasugi

Nao Takasugi was elected to the Assembly in 1992 and left in 1998 as a result of term limits. During his term, he served as the chairperson of the Committee on Revenue and Taxation. Takasugi, a graduate of Temple University and Wharton School of Business, served as a council member on the Oxnard City Council prior to his election to the Assembly. He now serves as the chair of the Oxnard Harbor District Board of Directors.

 

Mike Honda

Mike Honda was elected to the Legislature in 1996. Honda is a third generation Californian who began his career as an educator in the San Jose school system and went on to serve on the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. His accomplishments before being elected include interrupting his college career to answer the call of public service; he served in the Peace Corps for two years, building schools and health clinics in El Salvador. In Honda’s career as an educator, he was a science teacher, served as a principal at two public schools, and conducted educational research at Stanford University. During his time in the Assembly, Honda served as the Chairperson of the Committee on Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security, and the Committee on Public Safety. After representing the 23rd Assembly District from 1996-2000, Honda was elected to Congress in 2000.

George Nakano

George Nakano served as a Torrance City Council Member for 14 years before his election to the State Assembly in 1998. He represented the 53rd District. Nakano was appointed by the Speaker in January 2002 to serve as Democratic Caucus Chair; he was the first Asian American to hold the position. He was a member of the Committees for Veterans Affairs, Transportation, Insurance, Health, Budget, Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media, and the Joint Committee to Develop the California Master Plan for Education. In January 2001, Nakano was elected by his colleagues to serve the inaugural Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. The eldest of four children, Nakano was born and grew up in a poor neighborhood in East Los Angeles. After he and his family spent four years in internment camps during World War II, Nakano returned to Los Angeles and graduated from John H. Francis Polytechnic High. Nakano and his wife Helen have resided in South Bay for 42 years. They have two children and two grandchildren.

Carol Liu

Carol Liu represented the 44th Assembly District from 2000-2006. Her interests ranged from K-12 education to career/technical education, adult education, and higher education. She was Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee and a member of the Assembly Education Committee, the Assembly Committees on Transportation and Governmental Organization, and California’s Seismic Safety Commission. Liu also chaired the Legislative Women’s Caucus in 2005 and is a past Co-Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. In 2003, Liu was recognized as “Legislator of the Year” by both the California State Student Association and the University of California Alumni Associations. Liu was again named “Legislator of the Year” in 2004 by the National Organization for Women. Before being elected to the assembly, Liu served in the public education system for 17 years and was a member of the La Canada Flintridge City Council in which she served two terms as Mayor. In 2008, Liu was elected to the State Senate where she represented the 21st District.

Wilma Chan

Wilma Chan represented the 16th Assembly District from 2000-2006. Her primary concerns were healthcare, senior services, early childhood education, environmental health, job creation, and economic development. Chan served as Chairwoman of the Assembly Committee on Health, Assembly Select Committee on California Children’s School Readiness and Health, and the Assembly Select Committee on Asian Trade. She also co-chaired the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus and was the Assembly Majority Whip during her term. Most notably, Chan is the first woman and the first Asian American to serve as the Assembly Majority Leader. In addition to her leadership roles, Chan sat on the Assembly Budget Committee, Education Finance Subcommittee, Assembly Committees on Transportation, and Labor and Employment. In 2004, Chan launched “Adopt A School – Partnership for Success” program which linked local organizations with public schools. Prior to her role as Assemblywoman, Chan served two terms on the Board of Supervisors, where she was the first Chair of the Alameda County Children and Families Commission.

Judy Chu

Dr. Judy Chu was elected to the California State Assembly in May 2001 and represented the 49th Assembly District. During her time in the Assembly, Dr. Chu held several pivotal roles, such as Chair of the State Assembly Appropriations Committee, Select Committee on Hate Crimes and Chair of the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. She was also a member of the Budget Conference, Assembly Revenue and Taxation, Labor and Employment, and Environmental Safety and Toxic Material committees. Before serving in the State Assembly, she served on the Monterey Park City Council from 1988-2001 and served as Mayor of the city three times. Dr. Chu has been dedicated to education throughout her career. She started her career in public service as a board member of the Garvey School District from 1985-1988. Dr. Chu was named by California Journal as one of California’s top legislators. She received a 100% rating by the Children’s Advocacy Institute, the Congress of California Seniors, the Better Business Alliance, and the California League of Conservation Voters.

Shirley Horton

In 2002, Shirley Horton was elected to the State Assembly representing the 78th District. During her time in office, Horton served as the Vice Chair of the Committee on Higher Education and was a member of the Business and Professions Committee and the Transportation Committee. Horton served on the Chula Vista City Council from 1991-1994 and in 1994 was elected as the first Asian American mayor of Chula Vista where she served two terms before being elected to the State Assembly.

Ted Lieu

Ted Lieu was elected to the State Assembly in 2005 during a special election and represented the 53rd Assembly District. While serving three terms in the Assembly, Lieu served as the Chair on the Committee on Rules, Joint Committee on Rules, Select Committee on Aerospace, and from 2007-2009 served as Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. During his tenure with the Assembly, Lieu was a member on the Governmental Organization, Judiciary, and Veterans Affairs Committees. Prior to serving in the Legislature, Lieu served four years of active duty with the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps; he still remains in the Air Force reserves today and is a Lieutenant Colonel. Additionally, Lieu is a former Torrance City Council Member and was the Commissioner for the Torrance Environmental Quality of Energy Conservation Commission. Lieu currently serves in the State Senate representing the 28th State Senate District after overwhelming support in a special election in February 2011.

Alan Nakanishi

Elected in 2002, Dr. Alan Nakanishi served as Assemblyman to the 10th District for three terms. While serving in the legislature, Dr. Nakanishi was Vice Chair of the Health Committee and a member on the Appropriations Committee, Education Committee, and the Joint Legislative Audit. Dr. Nakanishi was also the first Republican Co-Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Joint Legislative Caucus from 2005-2008. Prior to serving in the Assembly, Dr. Nakanishi served as a Lodi City Council Member from 1998-2002 and was selected by his fellow Council Members to serve as Lodi’s mayor from 2000-2001. Dr. Nakanishi is a practicing ophthalmologist, having received his M.D. from Loma Linda University. Dr. Nakanishi served two years as a Major in the U.S. Army where he led a surgical department at McDonald Army Hospital. Dr. Nakanishi is also the co-founder of the Delta Eye Medical Group, a six-physician group with offices in Lodi, Stockton, and Tracy.

Alberto Torrico

Alberto Torrico, elected to the Assembly in 2004, represented the 20th Assembly District, which includes portions of Alameda and Santa Clara Counties. Torrico served three terms from 2004-2010 and was appointed the Majority Floor Leader on May 13, 2008. While in the Assembly, Torrico served as Chair of the Select Committee on Safety and Protection of At-Risk Communities in California and was a member of the Governmental Organization Committee, Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security Committee, Utilities and Commerce Committee, and Joint Rules Committee. Torrico, of Bolivian and Japanese descent, became the first Assemblymember to serve in two different ethnic caucuses when he joined both the Latino Legislative Caucus and the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. Torrico received his J.D. from Hastings College of Law. Prior to serving in the Assembly, Torrico served as a City Councilman to the City of Newark in 2001 and was subsequently elected by colleagues on the City Council as Vice Mayor of Newark where he served until his election to the Assembly.

Van Tran

Elected in 2004 to represent the 68th District, Van Tran served three terms in the Assembly. During his tenure in the State Assembly, Tran served as Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee and was a member on both the Banking and Finance Committee and Governmental Organization Committee. Prior to being elected to the Assembly, Tran served as a City Councilman and Mayor pro Tempore for the City of Garden Grove from 2000-2004. He received his J.D. from the Hamline University School of Law and was a former staff aide to U.S. Congressman Bob Dornan and former State Senator Ed Royce. Van Tran was also the founder of the Vietnamese-American Voters Coalition (VAVOCO).

Fiona Ma

From 2006-2012, Fiona Ma served as an Assemblymember representing the 12th Assembly District, which at the time included parts of San Francisco and San Mateo County. She was the first Asian American woman to serve as Speaker pro Tempore since 1850, and authored 60 bills that were signed into law. Most notably, Ma authored legislation that bans toxic chemicals in products for babies and small children in Assembly Bill 1108. She served on several committees and was the Chair of the Select Committee on Domestic Violence. Elected in 2018, Ma currently serves as the California State Treasurer and is the first woman of color and the first woman Certified Public Accountant to hold the position. Prior to serving in the Assembly, Ma served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 2002-2006, where she led a campaign to end human trafficking.

Mary Chung Hayashi

Mary Chung Hayashi served as Assemblymember of the 18th Assembly District from 2006-2012. She became the first Korean American woman to serve in the Legislature. During her time as an Assemblymember, Hayashi authored AB 108, which prohibits health plans and insurers from rescinding an individual health insurance policy, protecting consumers from losing their health care coverage during the times they need it most. Prior to serving in the Assembly, Hayashi served as the Alameda County Coordinator. She is a champion of mental health and suicide prevention.

Mike Eng

From 2006-2012, Mike Eng served as the Assemblymember representing the 49th Assembly District, which includes part of Los Angeles County. Eng authored the State’s Homeowner Bill of Rights, which allowed more Californians to keep their homes during the country’s foreclosure crisis. He also passed the first California law to separate out AAPI ethnic demographic data at two state departments in order to identify and serve the specific needs of the many Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Eng pioneered the first comprehensive survey of America’s largest community college system, which revealed one in five students is homeless and almost two thirds routinely experience hunger and paved the way for beginning solutions.

Warren Furutani

Elected in a special election in 2008, Warren Furutani served in the Legislature until 2012, representing the 55th Assembly District in Southern California. Furutani founded the Community College Caucus, led the Assembly Select Committee on Career Technical Education and Workforce Development, and served as a member of the Higher Education Master Plan Review Committee. During his tenure, Furutani served as the Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus and spearheaded legislation to establish Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, which educates Californians about the incarceration of Japanese Americans and prevents future violations of civil liberties.

Paul Fong

From 2008-2014, Paul Fong represented the 28th Assembly District, which then included part of Santa Clara County. During his time in the Assembly, he worked with the Sea Turtle Restoration Project and introduced legislation that protects endangered turtles. In addition, Fong worked to save sharks by authoring Assembly Bill 376, which bans the possession, sale, and distribution of shark fins. As a former Assemblymember, Fong continues to fight for workers’ rights to a living wage and respectful working conditions. Fong is a former Chair of the API Legislative Caucus.

Mariko Yamada

Mariko Yamada served as the Assemblymember for the 8th Assembly District from 2008-2012, and the 4th Assembly District from 2012 to 2014. During her time in the Legislature, she chaired the Assembly Aging and Long-Term Care Committee and the Assembly Select Committees on Sustainable and Organic Agriculture and State Hospital and Developmental Center Safety. She championed legislation related to aging and long-term care reforms, regulating private long-term care insurance policies, protecting victims of dependent adult abuse, consumer protection, and civil rights. She worked to strengthen religious protections by authoring Assembly Bill 1964 the Workplace Religious Freedom Act. Before being elected to the State Assembly, Yamada was the first person of color to sit on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.

Das Williams

Das Williams served in the Legislature from 2010 to 2016 and represented the 35th and 37th Assembly Districts, which encompasses parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Williams served as the Chair of the Assembly Committees on Higher Education and Natural Resources. He co-authored Assembly Bill 1014, which created stricter gun safety and allows family members to get a judge’s order to remove firearms from a relative who is perceived to be a threat. Williams also authored legislation focused on creating a dedicated revenue source for higher education, and establishing harsher punishments for students who commit sexual assault. Williams currently serves as County Supervisor on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

Kansen Chu

Kansen Chu was the Assemblymember from 2014-2020 representing the 25th Assembly District, which includes parts of Alameda and Santa Clara counties. He served as Chair of the Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media, and the Assembly Select Committee on Hate Crimes. Chu also served on the Committees of Assembly Revenue and Taxation, Transportation, and Water, Parks, and Wildlife. During his time in the Legislature, Chu strived to remove language barriers and spearheaded legislation to make language assistance policies in hospitals readily available to patients. He also focused on issues of mental health, public safety, education, environmental protection and justice, and good governance. Chu previously served on San Jose City Council and was the first Chinese American to do so.

Young Kim

Young Kim served as the Assemblymember for the 65th Assembly District, which encompasses parts of Orange County. She became the first Korean American Republican woman to become a state legislator in California, and served from 2014 to 2016. She was born in South Korea, and her experience as an immigrant helped her understand some of the struggles faced by people in her district, where one-third of residents are immigrants.

Todd Gloria

Todd Gloria served as Assemblymember from 2016-2020 representing the 78th Assembly District, which includes parts of San Diego County. He is the second person of Filipinx heritage to be elected to the Legislature, and has a lifelong career in public service. Gloria has been credited as one of the most accessible elected officials in San Diego, and keeps regular close contact with the San Diegans in his district. As an Assemblymember, Gloria authored legislation dealing with issues of election reform and housing solutions, and served as the Majority Whip and the Vice Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus. Gloria previously served on San Diego City Council and was elected as Mayor of San Diego in 2020.

Tyler Diep

Tyler Diep served as Assemblymember from 2018-2020 representing the 72nd Assembly District. He served as the Vice Chair of the Committee on Housing and Community Development and the Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media. Diep is a taxpayer advocate, and opposes new and higher taxes. His priorities included common sense infrastructure spending, promotion of job growth and creation, strong commitment to public safety, and protection of access to healthcare.

Rob Bonta

Rob Bonta is a lawyer and politician. In 2021, Bonta was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom and became the first Filipino-American Attorney General of California. Before his role as Attorney General, Bonta served as an Assemblymember for the 18th district from 2012-2021. Bonta is also the first Filipino-American to enter the California State Legislature. During his time in the legislature, Bonta also chaired the California Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.

David Chiu

David Chiu is an American politician currently serving as the City Attorney of San Francisco. Before assuming his role as City Attorney, Chui served in the California State Assembly, representing the 17th Assembly District. Before serving in the Assembly, Chui was the President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Supervisor for District 3. Chui is the first Asian American to serve as board president and District 3 supervisor.

Edwin Chau

Edwin “Ed” Chau is an American politician who served in the California State Assembly representing the 49th District from 2012-2021. Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Chau to be a judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court in November of 2021.


Get to Know Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris

Right now is an urgent and crucial period of recovery for small businesses. To ensure recovery is inclusive, equitable, and realistic for small businesses, it is vital that their concerns and ideas are shared with their representatives.

On Thursday, October 28, from 10:00-11:00 a.m., we will host a Listening Tour with Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris, who represents California’s 74th Assembly District – Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach, and portions of Irvine & Huntington Beach. Small businesses located in the district are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to share their thoughts, problems, and suggestions on how to make the State of California more friendly for the small business community.

Assemblymember Petrie-Norris wants to have an honest dialogue with business owners about what the State needs to do to support them. This Listening Tour provides a community space for small business owners to be frank about what resources and opportunities could be game changers for their businesses.

As Chair of the Select Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Assemblymember Petrie-Norris has experience addressing the needs of small businesses, making this Listening Tour a collaborative, discussion-based event. Assemblymember Petrie-Norris also has an extensive history supporting businesses, even prior to being elected to the Assembly. After graduating from Yale University, she led a career in finance and technology, helping build businesses and lead teams at both Fortune 500 corporations and small start-ups.

She also serves on the Assembly’s committees for Banking & Finance; Revenue & Taxation; Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy and Veterans Affairs. In her first term, Assembly Petrie-Norris secured millions in funding for projects within her district and introduced legislation to combat sea level rise, improve veterans’ services, and help small businesses.

This sweeping background lays a solid foundation for small businesses to have a productive and honest conversation with the Assemblymember on October 28. Join us as we talk about the future of our small business community! RSVP here: https://bit.ly/2YFOnpP