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White House Names Erika Moritsugu as Asian American and Pacific Islander Liaison

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On Wednesday, the White House announced that Erika Moritsugu will be named as the deputy assistant to the President and Asian American and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison.

What We Know:

  • President Joe Biden created the new role in response to rising Anti-Asian hate crimes amid the pandemic and pressure from Democratic lawmakers Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. The representatives claimed that the president’s cabinet lacked Asian American and Pacific Islander representation.
  • In March, the two senators threatened to oppose any of Biden’s non-diverse nominees until Asian American voices were granted more senior roles. After the nomination, Duckworth congratulated Moritsugu in a statement.

“I know first-hand that President Biden will benefit from her counsel, policy expertise and strong relationship-building skills, especially as his Administration seeks to make sure AAPI leaders are present at the highest levels of government,” Duckworth said. “I look forward to working with her to build on and expand the Biden’s Administration’s efforts to protect and empower the AAPI community.

  • According to CBS News, Moritsugu has had a diverse experience working in the federal government. In the past, she served as general counsel to Duckworth and was the deputy legislative director to former Senator Danny Akaka of Hawaii. She worked in the Senate Democratic Policy Committee under former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada. During the Obama administration, Moritsugu was also confirmed by the Senate in 2014 to become assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Outside of Capitol Hill, Moritsugu was recently working as vice president at the National Partnership for Women & Families where she led the organization’s economic justice program and was a leader on the congressional relations team.

Although Moritsugu is not expected to attend, Biden is meeting Thursday with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus at the White House to address AAPI concerns.

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