Bera captures U.S. House seat

President Barack Obama with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – With an Asian Pacific American winning one of the remaining contested seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, the largest ever APA delegation will be on hand when the 113th Congress convene next year.

Ami Bera, an Indian-American physician, bested incumbent Republican Daniel E. Lungren to represent a redrawn Sacramento-area congressional seat in one of the most expensive races in the nation.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Lungren, a nine-term congressman and former state attorney general, conceded on Friday, more than a week after the Nov. 6 election.

Bera garnered 51.1 percent of the vote to Lungren’s 48.9 percent in the preliminary results.

In a statement, Lungren said he hopes Bera approaches the job with “a humble heart” and a “desire to perform his duties in the best interest of the people he represents …”

The 7th Congressional District race was among the most expensive House contests in the nation. Outside groups spent more than $8.3 million, the Bee reported.

With Bera’s victory, the largest Asian Pacific American congressional  delegation ever will be on hand next year, with two U.S. Senators and 13 in the House of Representatives.

“The 113th Congress will include more women and minorities than ever before, which means that the people making decisions for Americans will look more like America, ” said Judy Chu, a Democrat from California, who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).

“I am thrilled to welcome our newly elected Asian American and Pacific Islander members, and I look forward to working with all of my colleagues to move our nation forward, ” she said.

In the general election in which the APA community voted 73 percent for President Obama, history was also made.

  • Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (D- HI ), Chair of CAPAC’s Education Task Force, won her Senate race to become the first Asian immigrant, first Buddhist, and first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. Senate. She will also be the first woman senator to represent the state of Hawaii.
  • Grace Meng iss the first Asian American member of Congress elected to represent the state of New York.
  • Tammy Duckworth from Illinois is the first Thai-American woman and woman veteran injured in combat to serve in Congress.
  • Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii is the first Hindu American and first Pacific Islander woman to serve in Congress.
  • Mark Takano from California is the first openly gay candidate of color to win a Congressional seat.

“The next Congress will see more Asian American and Pacific Islander members of Congress than ever before, ” said Mike Honda, who kept his seat as California representative from Silicon Valley. “Congress is slowly, but surely, starting to better represent America.”


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