Linh Song

Ann Arbor 2nd Ward City Council Member (D), 2020- Present

Linh Song was born and raised in the Midwest by Vietnamese refugee parents. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan.

Song briefly taught International Social Work at the University of Michigan before moving to the nonprofit sector and also serving as director of the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation.

Song ran for Ann Arbor City Council in 2020 as the Democratic candidate and went unopposed in the general election. When asked about her platform in running for city council, Song stated that she wanted Ann Arbor to beat the reputation of being the 8th most economically segregated community in the country and to include more Ann Arbor residents in the political process.

Sources:

“About,” Linh Song for Ann Arbor, accessed January 24, 2021, https://songfora2.com/about/.

Lisa Barry, “Ann Arbor 2nd Ward City Council Candidate Linh Song Talks about Her Primary Win,” http://www.wemu.org, accessed January 24, 2021, https://www.wemu.org/post/ann-arbor-2nd-ward-city-council-candidate-linh-song-talks-about-her-primary-win.

Grace Meng (1975- )

U.S. House of Representatives of the 6th District of New York (D), 2013 – Present

Grace Meng is a U.S. congresswoman representing the 6th district of New York encompassing the New York borough of Queens. Meng is the first and only Asian American member of Congress from New York State.

Meng is a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittees on State and Foreign Operations, and Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. Some of her legislative victories include founding the Kids’ Safety Caucus, the first bipartisan coalition in the House that promotes child safety issues, improving access to feminine hygiene products, and creating New York City school holidays for Chinese New Year and Eid.

Born in Elmhurst, Queens, Meng is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. Before entering the House of Representatives, Meng was a member of the New York State Assembly and worked as a public-interest lawyer.

Sources:

“Grace Meng – AABR,” aabusinessroundtable.org, accessed January 24, 2021, https://aabusinessroundtable.org/speaker/grace-meng-2/.“U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng – Biography,” Congresswoman Grace Meng, July 2, 2015, https://meng.house.gov/about.

Nikki Haley (1972 – )

116th Governor of South Carolina (R), 2011 – 2017

Nikki Haley has served as the United States ambassador to the United Nations from January 2017 to December 2018 when she resigned. During her first few months as UN ambassador, Haley dealt with threats from North Korea, Russia, and Iran. She is the first Indian-American to have served in a presidential cabinet.

Haley was also Governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017. At the time she was sworn in, Haley was the youngest governor in the country. She is South Carolina’s first female and Indian American governor.

In 2016, Haley was selected by the Republican Party to deliver the GOP response following President Obama’s State of the Union Address.

Sources:

“Nikki Haley | Biography & Facts,” in Encyclopædia Britannica, 2019, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Nikki-Haley.Nikki Haley, “Nikki Haley,” Biography, December 11, 2017, https://www.biography.com/political-figure/nikki-haley.

Sri Srinavasan (1967 – )

Chief Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit, February 2020 – Present

Sri Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh India and moved to the United States when he was 4. He received his B.A. from Stanford University and later graduated from Stanford Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

Srinivasan serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was appointed by President Obama in 2013 and began serving as Chief Judge in February 2020. 

Srinivasan is the first person of South Asian descent to lead a federal circuit court.

Sources:

Ann E. Marimow, “Merrick Garland Passes Gavel to Sri Srinivasan to Lead Influential Appeals Court,” Washington Post, n.d., https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/merrick-garland-passes-gavel-to-sri-srinivasan-to-lead-influential-appeals-court/2020/02/13/2bb5e316-4e77-11ea-b721-9f4cdc90bc1c_story.html.

“Asian American Judges on the Federal Courts | Federal Judicial Center,” Fjc.gov, 2020, https://www.fjc.gov/history/judges/search/asian-american.

“U.S. Court of Appeals – D.C. Circuit – Sri Srinivasan,” http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov, accessed January 10, 2021, https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/home.nsf/content/VL+-+Judges+-+SS.

Jacqueline Nguyen (1965 – )

Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, May 14, 2012 – Present

Jacqueline Nguyen was nominated by President Obama for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. She was appointed in 2009 and served until 2012. 

She was once again nominated by Obama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and she has been serving as a judge on the Court of Appeals since 2012. 

With her appointment, Nguyen became the first Vietnamese American woman to serve on the California Bench and the first Asian American woman to serve as a federal appellate judge.

Sources:

“Choy, Herbert Young Cho | Federal Judicial Center,” Fjc.gov, 2020, https://www.fjc.gov/node/1379086.“Occidental College :: Jacqueline Nguyen ’87 Appointed to Federal Bench,” web.archive.org, December 13, 2009, https://web.archive.org/web/20091213033455/http://www.oxy.edu/x9275.xml.

Denny Chin (1954 – )

Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, April 23, 2010 – Present

Chin was nominated by President Clinton to the Southern District Bench in 1994. He served as the district judge for the Southern District of New York until 2010.

In 2009, Chin was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by President Obama. He has been serving on the Court of Appeals since 2010. 

With his appointment to the Second Circuit, Chin became the first Asian American appointed as a District Judge outside of the Ninth Circuit. Currently, Chin is also one of two active federal appellate judges of Asian American descent.

Sources:

“Asian American Judges on the Federal Courts | Federal Judicial Center,” Fjc.gov, 2020, https://www.fjc.gov/history/judges/search/asian-american.

“Denny Chin ’75 Profile,” http://www.princeton.edu, accessed January 10, 2021, https://www.princeton.edu/~alco/CTNAT/2007/chin.html.

Denny Chin, “A View From the Bench: A Conversation With Judge Denny Chin,” Howard and Iris Kaplan Memorial Lecture, September 10, 2012, https://scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/lectures_kaplan/10/.“Hon. Denny Chin,” http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov, accessed January 10, 2021, https://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/judges/bios/dc.html.

Robert Takasugi (1930 – 2009)

Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, May 7, 1976 – August 4, 2009. Senior Status: September 30, 1996

Robert Takasugi was born on September 12, 1930, in Tacoma, Washington. Because he was of Japanese descent, his family was sent to an internment camp in Tule Lake, California following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Takasugi was 11 at the time, and his father passed away in the camp. 

Takasugi was nominated by President Ford to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in 1976. Takasugi began serving in 1976 until his death in 2009. He assumed senior status in 1996.  

Takasugi was known for his strong stance in defense of “individual rights and for working to expand the presence of women and minorities in the legal system”. Notable cases Takasugi worked on are the 1980 case that led to the Los Angeles Police Department banning chokeholds and when he threw out an indictment against several L.A. residents accused of fundraising for an Iranian opposition group listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department in 2002.

Sources:

Bruce Weber, “R. M. Takasugi, Pioneering Asian Judge, Dies at 78 (Published 2009),” The New York Times, August 8, 2009, sec. U.S., https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/08/us/08takasugi.html.

Facebook et al., “Robert M. Takasugi Dies at 78; Japanese American Federal Judge Had Been Interned in World War II Relocation Camp,” Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2009, https://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-robert-takasugi7-2009aug07-story.html.“Takasugi, Robert Mitsuhiro | Federal Judicial Center,” Fjc.gov, 2020, https://www.fjc.gov/history/judges/takasugi-robert-mitsuhiro.

Herbert Y.C. Choy (1916 – 2004)

Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, April 23, 1971 – March 10, 2004. Senior Status: October 3, 1984

Herbert Y.C. Choy was born on the island of Kauai, Hawaii in 1916. His parents were Korean immigrants.

Choy joined the Army during World War II, and following the war, he began to practice private law with Hiram Fong. 

In 1971, President Nixon nominated Choy to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. When Choy was appointed, he made history as he became the first Asian American and Hawaiian to serve on the federal bench.

Sources:

“Herbert Y.C. Choy, First Asian American to Serve On Federal Bench, Dies at 88,” http://www.metnews.com, accessed January 10, 2021, http://www.metnews.com/articles/2004/choy031504.htm.“Takasugi, Robert Mitsuhiro | Federal Judicial Center,” Fjc.gov, 2020, Takasugi, Robert Mitsuhiro.

Tammy Duckworth (1968 – )

U.S. Senator from Illinois (D), 2016 – Present

Tammy Duckworth served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Illinois’s 8th Congressional District beginning in 2012. In 2016, Duckworth was elected to the U.S. Senate. 

Before her time in office, Duckworth served in the Iraq War. In 2004, her helicopter was hit and Duckworth lost her legs and partial use of her right arm. She received a Purple Heart for her service. Following her recovery, she became Director of the Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs and later appointed by President Obama as Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Duckworth is the first Thai American woman and the first person born in Thailand to be elected to Congress. She is also the first woman with a disability elected to Congress and the first senator to have given birth while serving in office. She is also the second (of three) Asian American women to have ever served in the United States Senate. 

Sources:

“About Tammy | U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois,” Senate.gov, 2014, https://www.duckworth.senate.gov/about-tammy/biography.“Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress – Retro Member Details,” bioguideretro.congress.gov, n.d., https://bioguideretro.congress.gov/Home/MemberDetails?memIndex=D000622.

Mazie Hirono (1947 – )

U.S. Senator from Hawaii (D), 2013 – Present

Mazie Hirono has been serving as U.S. Senator from Hawaii since 2013. Hirono is the first female elected female senator from Hawaii, the first Asian American female senator, the first U.S. senator to be born in Japan, and the first Buddhist U.S. Senator.

Hirono founded the Patsy T. Mink PAC in 2004 to help other women running for office. Her previous elected positions include Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii (1994 – 2002), U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district (2007 – 2013), and member of the Hawaii House of Representatives (1981 – 1994).

As a member of the Senate Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committee, Hirono works on legislation that supports Hawaii’s critical role in the Asia-Pacific region and honors Filipino World War II veterans, families of service members, and small business owners.

Sources:

“About Mazie | Mazie K. Hirono – A Voice for Hawai’i in the U.S. Senate,” http://www.hirono.senate.gov, n.d., https://www.hirono.senate.gov/about.

“Mazie Hirono,” Ballotpedia, n.d., https://ballotpedia.org/Mazie_Hirono.