‘Our diverse yet united AAPI community has strong voice’
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres believes a culturally diverse yet united Asian American Pacific Islanders community will have a stronger voice under the administration of President Donald J. Trump. Torres co-chairs the AAPI advisory committee with Gov. Eddie B. Calvo of Guam.
Torres, during his speech in last week’s AAPI-hosted 58th Presidential Inauguration Gala, recalled a time when then-presidential candidate Trump called him a week before the CNMI Republican Party primary in March last year.
“The conversation said a lot about the man he is and the President said he will be for all of us. As you know, I serve as governor of the CNMI—a relatively unknown footnote in our American political family—but our President has pledged to give us a seat at the table,” Torres told the crowd gathered at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. “To have a voice in the discussions that shape our country, to be true members of this family. That’s why I supported him and really I believe he will make that same pledge, to give this community a true voice in our political process and take our country to greater heights: Make America great again.”
He told the crowd that the AAPI community represents different backgrounds, cultures and heritage that cover the world. “Our voice is strengthened by the diversity of the AAPI community and together, we can accomplish great things.”
He added that the AAPI community—made up of business leaders, doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, teachers, small business owners, law enforcement officials, and a significant number serving in the armed forces—“is among the fastest growing minority in the U.S.”
“Our families may come from different countries, speak different languages, or like me—as someone from the islands, who has the privilege and honor to be living on the land that belonged to my ancestors. But beyond that, we all come from families with goals of having a better life for ourselves and for our children,” said Torres.
“Look around you, this is what diversity looks like. We are the fastest growing minority in the country and we can make such a big impact politically on the issues that matter the most to us, like entrepreneurship.”
Torres said the AAPI community should work together to make sure small business owners are rewarded for their hard work. He then spoke of how AAPI-owned businesses contribute to the U.S. economy, citing statistics provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.
“There are 1.9 million Asian American-owned businesses that generate $699.4 billion in revenue, employ more than 3.6 million people, and support payrolls totaling $110.5 billion. We have to ensure that small businesses have easy and affordable access to the capital they need to grow and prosper without necessary regulations. Let’s work to protect these folks for making the risky, but rewarding investment for their communities.”
He added the investments small businesses make are the lifeblood of the country’s economic values. “Asian Pacific American values are Republican values and, in turn, American values. We believe in hard work, family, personal responsibility, and self-reliance. Let’s work on strengthening those values by getting more Asian Pacific Americans elected across all levels of government and making sure they are Republicans.”
Torres encouraged his colleagues in the AAPI community to exercise their right to vote and also encourage their family and friend to do their share in the democratic process. He said Trump, in the last election, received twice the number of votes from the AAPI community in Pennsylvania alone compared to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in 2012.
Pennsylvania is a swing state and played a vital role on the former businessman’s victory, along with Nevada, where the AAPI’s votes increased for the Republicans. “The shift shows that our party’s message is resonating within the AAPI communities in key battleground states and we should work to keep the momentum going,” said Torres.
“At the end of the day, we all want what’s best for the AAPI community—our community—a vital part of the American family. From Pennsylvania to Nevada, to the CNMI and Guam, let’s work together to promote AAPI and American interests in collaboration with our President.”
The AAPI worked closely with the campaign team of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in making sure the concerns and other issues of one of the diverse communities in the United Statesis heard. They made sure the AAPI community would support the GOP ticket.