By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – A prominent member of the U.S. Congress is predicting that the Asian American and Pacific Islander vote will provide the “margin of victory” for President Obama in the swing state of Nevada.
Representative Mike Honda, a Democrat from California, said AAPIs can give President Obama a 9,000 vote margin of victory in what is expected to be a very close election.
Writing for the Huffington Post, Honda said the Nevada AAPI vote “is, and will be, the margin of victory in this year’s presidential election and the critical vote to re-elect President Obama and move this country forward.”
He said the community grew at an astounding rate of 116 percent and now comprises nine percent of the state’s population.
Filipino-Americans are the fastest growing Asian group in the state, now estimated at more than 100,000 based on the 2010 census. They are also the largest in Las Vegas at more than 30,000.
“There is no question that President Obama is our first AAPI president. He’s Asian in his upbringing and spent some formative years in Indonesia. One cannot be born and raised in Hawaii and not have an Asian approach to things, ” Honda wrote.
He added that the president’s family is filled with AAPIs: his half-sister Maya, his brother, his brother-in-law Konrad, and his nieces Suhaila and Savita.
“When he fights for AAPIs, he is fighting for his family and ours,” Honda said.
He cited the contributions of AAPIs to the economy, saying that there are over 1.5 million AAPI owned firms in the nation — accounting for more than 2.8 million employed workers.
“Be they banks or bakeries, restaurants or seafood markets, Nevada’s 17,500 AAPI owned firms had sales and receipts of $3.8 billion and employed almost 24,000 people in 2007,” Honda said.
It makes sense for AAPIs to vote for Obama. In 2008, they gave the president a 62 to 35 percent victory over John McCain, he said.
Honda also touted the president’s achievements in education, health care, job-creation, and protection for the poor and the elderly, not only for AAPIs, but for all Americans.
“We cannot afford to be stripped of those hard-fought provisions and solutions secured by President Barack Obama. We cannot afford to revert back to the Bush-Cheney trickle down policies, which the Romney-Ryan plan mirrors,” he said.
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