The election of Vice President Kamala Harris marks the first time an Asian American has been elected to hold office in the executive branch of the United States government. As first in line to the highest office in the country, Harris’s vice presidency is significant to the fastest growing minority population. In 2020, three Asian Americans emerged out of the presidential candidate pool. On the state level, there is currently one Asian American governor. Several Asian Americans have served in the executive branch of the federal government in cabinet positions appointed by the President. Asian/Pacific Islander Americans’ recent participation in seeking executive leadership is promising as more A/PIA leaders can be expected to run for executive office.
January 20, 2021
was sworn in as the Vice President of the United States alongside President Biden. Harris is the first female, African American, and Asian American Vice President of the U.S. and the first woman of color to be a on a major party’s presidential ticket.
January 31, 2017
assumed office as the 18th United States Secretary of Transportation, appointed by President Trump. Chao is the first Asian American woman and first Taiwanese American to be serve in a presidential cabinet.
January 12, 2011
assumed office as the 116th Governor of South Carolina. Haley is South Carolina’s first female and Indian American governor and the first Indian American to serve in a presidential cabinet.
January 25, 2001
became the only Democratic Cabinet Secretary in the Bush administration and is first Asian American in a presidential cabinet.
January 15, 1997
assumed office as the 21st Governor of Washington. Locke is the first U.S. governor of East Asian descent and the only Chinese American governor in U.S. history.
December 2, 1974
assumed office as the 3rd Governor of Hawaii and of the longest serving governors in United States history. Ariyoshi is the first elected non-white governor of Hawaii and the first Asian American governor of any state.