API Coalition announces the inaugural roster of Asian Pacific Islander elected officials
San Francisco, CA (May 25, 2023) – After two years of rigorous effort and countless hours of hard work, API Coalition announces the successful creation of the inaugural roster of Asian Pacific Islander (API) elected officials today. This meticulously compiled roster represents the most comprehensive and accurate compilation of API elected officials in California, according to the announcement.
Andy Li, President, API Coalition and Board Member of Contra Costa Community College District point out: California’s government system is intricate, encompassing numerous elected positions at different levels. At the federal level, California is home to two U.S. Senators and 52 members of Congress. On the state level, there are eight state-wide elected offices, four boards of equalization member, and a legislative body including 40 senators and 80 assembly members. Furthermore, California consists of 58 counties, which collectively host 470 county supervisors, assessors, district attorneys, and sheriffs. Additionally, there are 482 cities with a total of 2,530 mayors and council members. The state also has 997 active public school districts with approximately 5,000 trustees, 72 community college districts with 440 college trustees, and around 2,000 special districts housing approximately 10,000 elected officials. In certain counties or cities, there may be additional elected positions such as clerks, treasures, or auditors. Taking all these positions into account, the estimated total number of public elected officials in California, excluding judges, amounts to approximately 20,000.
Regrettably, the current record indicates just over 500 API elected officials. While it is possible that some may not be included in this count, the total number of API elected officials in California is unlikely to exceed 550, less than 3% of the total. In contrast, API population is 15% of California’s. Achieving fair representation necessitates a five-fold increase in the number of API elected officials, which poses a significant challenge.
In summary, the representation of API individuals among these officials remains disproportionately low. It is imperative to close this gap in order to attain equitable representation in California’s government.