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08/11/2012: PH Welcomes Election Victory of 18 FilAm Candidates

8 November 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippine Embassy today welcomed the election of 18 Filipino-Americans, saying their successful bids for various elective positions in the United States bring pride and honor not just to their fellow Filipino-Americans but to the entire Filipino race.

In a statement, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., congratulated the winning candidates in Monday’s national, state and local elections led by Democrat Rep. Robert Scott who made a successful bid for an 11th term as representative of the Third District of Virginia.

“We congratulate our good friend, Congressman Bob Scott, and our other Filipino-American candidates for their election victories,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “Their success has brought pride and honor not just to their fellow Filipino-Americans here in the United States but to the entire Filipino race.”

“Slowly but surely, Filipino-Americans are making their presence felt in US politics,” said the envoy who had actively campaigned for a stronger participation of the Filipino-American Community in the elections.

“We are confident that in the next elections, we will see more Filipino-Americans make successful bids for elective positions that would allow them to not only help advance the interests of the more than 4 million Filipinos in the US but also shape American policy towards the Philippines.”

Ambassador Cuisia said Filipino-American candidates fared well in Monday’s elections with 18 of the 29 candidates wining their respective electoral races in Virginia, Hawaii and California. Except for Dr. Marisha Agana who made an unsuccessful bid for the US House of Representatives as Republican candidate for the Third District of Ohio, all the other candidates ran under the Democratic Party.

Congressman Scott, whose maternal grandfather is Filipino, is the most prominent among the Filipino-American election winners. He is the first American of Filipino descent to become a voting member of the US House of Representatives.

In California, Vice Mayor Rob Bonta of Alameda made history by becoming the first Filipino-American to be elected to the State Assembly. He will represent the 18th District. Other successful Filipino-American candidates were Jose Esteves who successfully ran for reelection as Mayor of Milpitas and Jim Navarro who won a seat in the Union City Council.

In Hawaii, nine of 11 Filipino-American candidates were successful in their bids for seats in the House of Representatives and Senate. Former Gov. Ben Cayetano, the first Filipino-American to be elected governor, failed to get himself elected as Mayor of the state capital, Honolulu.

Elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives were: Gilbert S. Keith-Agaran (9th District); Della Au Belatti (24th District); Romy Cachola (30th District); Henry Aquino (38th District); Ty Cullen (39th District) and Rida Cabanilla-Arakawa (41st District).

Elected to the Hawaii State Senate were:  Donna Mercado Kim (14th District); Will Espero (19th District); and Donovan Dela Cruz (22nd District). Also elected were Kymberly Marcos Pine, Joey Manahan and Ron Menor as members of the Honolulu City Council; Greggor Ilaga as member of the Hawaii County Council; and Don Guzman as member of the Maui County Council.

Ambassador Cuisia, at the same time, thanked and congratulated election volunteers from the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) who were instrumental in ensuring a larger turnout from the Filipino-American electorate.

He cited, in particular, the role of the non-partisan Filipino American Vote Coalition of Hampton Roads (FAVCOHR), an ad hoc coalition of community activists, students and business leaders that was formed with the sole purpose of increasing voter participation among Filipinos in the Virginia Beach area.

FAVCOHR was able to register more than 1,200 new voters, the third highest in the US, next only to New York and Hawaii, according to the Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIA Vote), which worked with NaFFAA for this undertaking.###