Kerry on Asian-American Issues







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Of 13,660 respondents in exit polls, Asian Americans were 2% of the electorate. 
44% voted for Bush and 56% for Kerry.
  Survey conducted for the Associated 
Press and television networks by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International.  
The margin of error is plus or minus 1 percentage point for overall sample, 
larger for subgroups. (80-20's questionnaire to candidates) 

News stories appear after issue 13.

1) The number of Asian Pacific Americans ("APA") the candidate has appointed or supported for appointment or election to positions in his administration, state, or company.  APA's now comprise 14% of the students attending America's most selective colleges and 8% of the students attending law schools.  Many APA's are opposed to illegal employment discrimination and want to ensure that APA's are treated fairly in hiring.

4/22/04: Victoria Lai moves to the Kerry Campaign after serving as DNC Deputy Director of Party Affairs and Delegate Selection. She will handle Asian Pacific Islander American issues for the campaign, building on her experience as the DNCs Asian Pacific Islander American Outreach Liaison.  Denise Lee will direct the DNC's outreach efforts to Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) communities. For the past three years, Ms. Lee served as a Legislative Aide and Legislative Correspondent for Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31), an Executive Committee Member of the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus (CAPAC).

4/15/04 World Journal: "Democrats mobilize APIA vote for Kerry." 
    DNC Party Affairs Deputy Director Victoria Lai in San Francisco on April 1 stated that the DNC is currently fully behind presidential candidate Kerry and proceeding with campaign activities, including strengthening APIA message and hopes that in this November's presidential election to mobilize more APIAs to vote for and elect Kerry. 
    Lai says, APIAs constitute 10% of all employees at the DNC 's Washington headquarters - a relatively high proportion - which demonstrates the Democratic Party's recognition of the APIA community. 
    Lai emphasized that Kerry strongly considers APIA rights. Kerry's national campaign headquarters already includes a Korean American in a prominent position. 
    (full story appears toward bottom of page)

2) legislation increasing penalties for hate crimes. Many APA's favor the passage of laws increasing the penalties for crimes motivated by racial animus.

- Voted to close debate to allow consideration of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act (LLEEA) would have given federal prosecutors more authority to assist state and local authorities with hate crimes, and the Act would have covered hate crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, and disability. Currently, federal hate crime law covers crimes based on race, national origin, and religion. 
6/11/02, Roll call vote 147, S. 625.  60 votes were required to close debate. In a 54 to 43 vote, the Senate declined to close debate, blocking consideration of the bill.   
- Sponsor of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act (LLEEA), S.625, previously known as the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, introduced in the Senate on March 27, 2001.
- Voted to strengthen federal hate-crime law by extending protections to include violence based on gender, sexual orientation and disabilities.
June 20, 2000.  Rollcall Vote No. 136 Leg. Amendment No. 3473 to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001; Congressional Record, June 20, 2000, Page S5410-S5435. 

- Co-sponsor of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1999, S.622.IS, introduced 03/16/99.

5/5/03 Civil Rights
Throughout Senator Kerry's career, he has been a consistent and loud supporter of Hate Crimes legislation. As an original cosponsor of the Hate Crimes Prevention Bill, he firmly believes that we should extend federal jurisdiction over these vicious acts of intolerance. 

3 Civil Rights
    Throughout Senator Kerry's career, he has been a consistent and loud supporter of Hate Crimes legislation. As an original cosponsor of the Hate Crimes Prevention Bill, he firmly believes that we should extend federal jurisdiction over these vicious acts of intolerance. 

5/5/03 Civil Rights
    Throughout Senator Kerry's career, he has been a consistent and loud supporter of Hate Crimes legislation. As an original cosponsor of the Hate Crimes Prevention Bill, he firmly believes that we should extend federal jurisdiction over these vicious acts of intolerance. 

3) immigration

a) decreasing the backlog of applicants for citizenship.  Many APA's favor increasing the budget of the Immigration and Naturalization Service or making it more efficient in order to reduce the backlog of applicants for citizenship.

9/4/03: favors amnesty for illegal immigrants who have lived here for 5 years, have paid their taxes, and have not been arrested.  Favors citizenship for permanent residents who serve in the armed forces.


b) maintaining family reunification immigration.  Many APA's favor retaining
current law which allows American citizens to sponsor their relatives for immigration to the U.S.

4/16/04 John Kerry believes that we should unite and not divide families by making family reunification the cornerstone of our immigration system. John Kerry supports allowing immigrants who are eligible for permanent resident visas to be processed in the United States rather than processed in their home country. He also supports restoring the discretion of immigration judges to evaluate cases on an individual basis and grant relief to deserving immigrants and their families.

4) government benefits, such as welfare, for legal immigrants.  Many APA's favor the restoration of government benefits, such as welfare, for legal immigrants, especially the disabled and elderly.  Legal immigrants, unlike illegal immigrants, pay taxes and serve in the armed forces.

Voted to restore $818 million in food stamps for legal immigrants.  Restored food stamps to 250,000 of the over 900,000 legal immigrants who were cut off by the 1996 welfare reform law.
Vote 129, May 12, 1998: Approved the conference report for bill S.1150 by
92-8.  The Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Act of 1998. 

4/16/04 John Kerry supports efforts to restore benefits to legal immigrants. The 1996 welfare reform law made most legal immigrants, including those already in the United States , ineligible for welfare, health care and other essential programs. In the years since, some of these benefits have been restored and John Kerry remains committed to fighting for the full restoration of benefits for legal immigrants.

5) voting rights and providing ballots in different languages.  Many APA's favor retaining current law which requires that ballots be printed in different languages.

6) making English the official language of the U.S.  Many APA's oppose proposed laws making English the official language because they fear such laws would make it easier to unfairly discriminate against APA's.

Kerry is co-sponsor of Healthcare Equality & Accountability Act of 2004 - the purpose of this Act is to improve minority health and healthcare and to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health and healthcare. Among other measures, the Act would do the following:
-- "to the extent possible, (recipients of federal funds must) offer and provide language assistance services, including bilingual staff and interpreter services at no cost to each patient with limited English Proficiency at all points of contact, in a timely manner during all hours of operation."
-- Create a "Center for Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Healthcare" which would "develop quality guidelines and standards for the training of medical interpreters and translators."

7) ceilings or quotas limiting the number of APA's at universities.  Many APA's oppose any such ceilings or quotas.  When affirmative action at universities was banned in California and Texas, the number of APA
students admitted to universities in those states increased by 20-40%.

Race neutral admission policies resulted in an increase of Asian-American students.  See Statistics on Reverse Discrimination.
3/5/04 The New York Sun: "Kerry Defends Race-Based Set-Asides.  Bush Camp Says Senator Fli-Flopped,"

    In an interview scheduled for broadcast on Super Tuesday, Senator Kerry of Massachusetts touted his support for programs that set aside government contracts for members of particular racial groups.
    I have been involved from the civil rights movement of the 1960s. I have fought consistently for affirmative action, for set-aside programs, for housing, for inner-city school money, and after-school programs, the senator told Tavis Smiley, a National Public Radio journalist who formerly hosted a talk show for Black Entertainment Television. I fought to hold on to the setaside programs for minority-owned businesses.
    The senators comments this week represent the unambiguous end to his flirtation with changes to affirmative action and other government programs that take race into account. Its an issue,
like many others, on which Mr.Kerrys tune has changed. President Bush has already signaled a willingness to attack Mr. Kerry on that count, saying, Senator Kerry has been in Washington long enough to take both sides on just about every issue.
    An early and overlooked episode in the senators political education on race came in May of 1989. Affirmative action was in trouble. The Supreme Court had just struck down a race-based set-aside program for construction contracts in Richmond, Virginia. In some quarters, there were fears that all race-conscious programs at every level of government were about to be dismantled.
    Against that backdrop, Mr. Kerry strode into a meeting of minority contractors in Boston.
    Mr. Kerry was then and is now a proponent of programs that set-aside government contracts for minorities, but on that day he appeared to attempt to educate the largely black audience about what he said were white attitudes on the subject.
    Youre dealing with a lot of people who came into this country 60, 70 years ago, 80 years ago, 100 years ago, whatever.Didnt speak a word of language in this country. Nobody helped, Mr. Kerry explained. Ill tell you, there werent any Yankee bankers lending a lot of money to Irishmen and Italians in those early years and they kind of struggled along. Correct?
    Some in the audience clearly believed the senator was taunting them.
    We dont want to offend them? To hell with them! shouted Robert McCoy, the African-American owner of a landscaping firm.
    What I tried to describe to you is the politics of the situation and how people feel. Now, you can ignore how they feel, or you can decide you want to walk over how they feel, or you can decide its irrelevant how they feel, Mr. Kerry said.
    What about how we feel? Im not worried about how they feel, an exasperated Mr. McCoy declared.
    Mr. Kerry chided him. Well, if you dont worry about how other people feel, were in trouble, he said.
    The exchange was captured by a crew from the local public television station, WGBH.
    In an interview yesterday with The New York Sun, one of the organizers of the event disputed the notion that the crowd turned on the senator but acknowledged that it was a heated meeting.
    I wouldnt say it was hostile. It warmed up a little bit, said Walter Williams, an African-American who remains active in Boston construction circles.
There were some people there that obviously were in some disagreement, he recalled.
    Three years later, Mr. Kerry stirred up a much larger political hornets nest with a speech raising questions about affirmative action. In the carefully prepared address delivered at Yale University, the senator said, just as the benefits to America of affirmative action cannot be denied, neither can the costs. Too many politicians, particularly in my own party, have not acknowledged those costs for fear of undermining the very goals of affirmative action.
    The truth is that affirmative action has kept American thinking in racial terms, Mr. Kerry said, adding, Somewhere within that vast apparatus conjured up to fight racism there exists a reality of reverse discrimination.
    The speech touched off a political firestorm. Several prominent Democrats repudiated Mr. Kerrys comments. Some of his African-American supporters denounced him. Others dismissed the speech as an effort by Mr. Kerry to position himself as a possible vice presidential pick. A top civil rights leader, Mary Frances Berry,
accused Mr. Kerry of using racial innuendo.
    Within days, Mr. Kerry retreated from his remarks,
while also blaming the press for failing to put his comments in the context of his long support for programs aimed at helping minorities.
    The Yale speech has haunted Mr. Kerry and become fodder for his political opponents. In this years Democratic primary contest , General Wesley Clark and Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri both suggested that Mr.
Kerrys Yale speech indicated that he had wavered in his commitment to affirmative action. Mr. Kerry steadfastly denied the charge.
    Mr. Kerry has been chairman or ranking member of the small business committee
since 1997. It oversees the Small Business Administration, which runs the governments largest set-aside program, known as 8(a) for the section of the law that authorized the program.
    Aides to Mr. Kerry say he has voted repeatedly to preserve minority contracting programs and has repeatedly pressed agencies to set aside more contracts for firms owned by minorities and women.
    A spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, Heather Layman, said she was not sure whether Mr. Bush planned to challenge Mr. Kerry over his position on set aside programs. However, she said Mr.
Kerrys various statements on affirmative action indicate a tendency to vacillate on important questions.
    This is one of a long line of issues where John Kerry has tried to have it both ways, she said. This fits the same pattern.

8) the Department of Education's proposal under Clinton Administration to abolish the use of standardized tests for admission to
college.  Some APA's believe this proposal may lead to reverse discrimination against APA's.

Voted for President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act in 2001.

Fall 2003 "A Call to Service" by John Kerry: "It bothers me that some Democrats have resisted the idea of making educational outcomes - the skills and knowledge our kids obtain from the educational system - as important as educational inputs - the adequate funding, the good facilities and the higher teacher pay we all want."

5/5/04 Kerry would fight to change the No Child Left Behind law to assure that our schools focus on teaching high standards to all children, and do not become drill and kill test prep institutions. John Kerry has already proposed the most comprehensive higher education plan of any candidate. Today, he is outlining a plan to assure every child has the skills to be ready for college. 

9) employment discrimination, such as "glass ceilings".  Many APA's are opposed to employment discrimination and want more resources devoted to combating it, particularly "glass ceilings" which prevent APA's from being promoted.

5/5/03 Civil Rights
    Senator Kerry has an outstanding record fighting against discrimination in the workplace. 
    Senator Kerry has cosponsored measures to ensure equal pay for equal work. 
    Senator Kerry has worked to provide remedies for employees who are discriminated against in the workplace on account of gender, race, age, religion or sexual orientation. Kerry has agreed, in writing, that he would enforce Executive Order 11246 for APAs if elected President.
Executive Order 11246 forbids any organization from receiving federal funds if they engage in discrimination.  It is enforced through the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). 

10) discrimination against APA's in wake of Los Alamos spying scandal.  Many
APA's are opposed to illegal discrimination based on race or national origin.

5/5/04 (African Americans for John Kerry):
John Kerry believes that the practice of racial profiling should be prohibited and that remedies should be established for its victims. It is more important than ever that the nation's laws are enforced without resort to discrimination.

11) affirmative action.

4/16/04 John Kerry believes in an America where we take common sense steps to ensure that our schools and workplaces reflect the full face of America . He has consistently opposed efforts in the Senate to undermine or eliminate affirmative action programs and supports programs that seek to enhance diversity, for example, by fostering the growth of minority small businesses.

12) Using scientific methods to adjust census data.  Such data could be used to draw state legislative districts and to distribute government funds.  The President will decide whether to release adjusted census data.

5/5/03 Civil Rights
    Senator Kerry also has fought hard to ensure that all Americans are counted. He pushed for realistic census numbers that use modern statistical methods. This would have adjusted funding levels for critical programs in every state. The Bush Administration instead chose to rely on a system that leaves millions of poor and minority Americans uncounted. "How are we going to leave no child behind if we aren't even willing to count every American?" asked Sen. Kerry. 

13) Like Americans of African, Cuban, Greek, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Mexican, and Polish descent, many APA's are interested in American foreign policy toward the country of their ancestors.

a) U.S. policy toward China.

    Voted for permanent Normal Trade Relations status for China.  (Bill HR.4444 ; vote number 2000-251 on Sep 19, 2000).  
    Voted  to table [kill] an amendment that would have required sanctions against China or other countries if they sold weapons of mass destruction.  (Bill HR.4444 ;
vote number 2000-242 on Sep 13, 2000).
    5/31/04 Led floor fight against amendment that would have required U.S. review of China's human rights practices.  

Senator Kerry also worked on the issue of U.S. relations with South Korea and the future of our policies toward North Korea. The Senator met with South Korean President Kim Dae Jung during his March 2001 visit to Washington, and pressed the Bush administration to continue to support President Kims efforts to normalize relations with Pyongyang. In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Kerry also outlined the importance of continuing talks with North Korea begun during the Clinton administration, which were aimed at freezing Pyonyangs long-range missile program.

b) U.S. policy toward Taiwan 


As the senior Democrat now Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, Senator Kerry continued his leadership on the question of U.S. relations with China and Taiwan. Following up on a major speech on U.S.-China relations in 2000, Senator Kerry addressed the question of U.S. relations with Taiwan. In a speech on the Senate floor, he reiterated the importance of the long-standing U.S. one China policy to maintaining stability across the Taiwan Strait. While emphasizing the U.S. national interest in preserving democracy in Taiwan, he outlined the dangers of abandoning the strategic ambiguity that serves both to deter a cross-Strait attack by China as well as a precipitous declaration of independence by Taiwan that could provoke a war.

5/31/04 In a major speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center on 30 March 2000, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) acknowledged that Taiwan was a very different place than it was in 1972 when the Shanghai Communique laid out the cornerstone of American policy on the question of Taiwan. Stated Kerry forcefully, Let me be clear: the United States will never accept a rollback of democracy and freedom in Taiwan.

c) does the candidate support the IMF's handling of the Asian economic crises in countries such as South Korea?

d) U.S. policy toward North Korea.

4/16/04 12/3/03 speech: As President, I will engage Iran and renew bilateral negotiations with North Korea on the nuclear issue and I will seek a new international protocol to track and account for existing nuclear weapons and to deter the development of chemical and biological arsenals.

4/16/04 He fought against withdrawal from the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which he viewed as a step backwards in our efforts to promote an international non-proliferation regime.  U.S. rejection of the Treaty would undermine the credibility of U.S. leadership on non-proliferation, he said in a floor statement, which will jeopardize U.S. work to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weaponsand to block the sale of sensitive technologies that could contribute to proliferation. 

Senator Kerry also worked on the issue of U.S. relations with South Korea and the future of our policies toward North Korea. The Senator met with South Korean President Kim Dae Jung during his March 2001 visit to Washington, and pressed the Bush administration to continue to support President Kims efforts to normalize relations with Pyongyang. In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Kerry also outlined the importance of continuing talks with North Korea begun during the Clinton administration, which were aimed at freezing Pyonyangs long-range missile program.

e) U.S. policy toward Japan

f) Does the candidate support building a missile defense system to protect Japan? Taiwan? South Korea?

Continuing to play a major role in the debate on U.S. National Missile Defense policy, Senator Kerry gave two major floor statements on NMD developments in the Bush administration. He restated his concerns about the rush to deploy a system that has not been fully tested, but reiterated his support for the deployment, in cooperation with U.S. allies and other nuclear powers, of an effective, limited NMD system. He urged the Administration to seriously engage Russia in discussions on ways to amend the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) and to consult closely with U.S. allies in Europe and Asia, as well as China, to prevent changes in U.S. strategic policies from destabilizing the international environment

g) U.S. policy toward Vietnam

4/16/04 As chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, Senator Kerry traveled frequently to Southeast Asia to investigate the fate of missing American soldiers, laying the groundwork for normalization of diplomatic and trade relations with Vietnam. He has continued to play a prominent role in formulating U.S. policy in the region in his role as ranking Democrat on the East Asian and
Pacific Affairs Subcommittee.

4/16/04 He was also instrumental in facilitating the creation of the UN genocide tribunal in Cambodia, travelling to the country several times to mediate negotiation of its governing statute, and was a strong proponent of U.S. participation in the NATO intervention that put an end to the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.  A longtime supporter of the pro-democracy efforts of Myanmars Aung San Suu Kyi, whom he has met with personally, Kerry recently co-sponsored bipartisan legislation imposing sanctions on that countrys military regime for detaining the activist and repressing her National League for Democracy party.

5/31/04:  Following up on the significant role he played with Vietnamese officials at the highest levels to encourage conclusion of the U.S.-Vietnam trade agreement in July 2000, Senator Kerry managed the floor debate on the accord, which passed the Senate on October 3, 2001 and was signed into law by President Bush later that month.

8/21/02 Associated Press: "Vietnamese Americans to Protest at Mass.
Senator's Office,"
Boston - Vietnamese Americans, angered by U.S. Sen. John Kerry's opposition to a bill that ties U.S. non-humanitarian aid to Vietnam with the government's human rights performance, plan protests outside Kerry's Boston office this week.
Activists accuse the Massachusetts Democrat of coddling Vietnam's communist regime and are calling on Kerry to drop his opposition to the Vietnam Human Rights Act.
Nam Van Pham, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Commission for Human Rights for Vietnam, has called on activists to attend the daily protests. Kerry is not expected to be at his Boston office this week.
Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran and chairman of the Foreign Relation Committee's Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, put a hold on the aid bill last September after the U.S. House approved it by a 410-1 vote. He and Sen. John McCain, also a Vietnam veteran, argue that denial of aid would hinder improvements.

h) U.S. policy toward India

After visiting New Delhi in December 2000, Senator Kerry addressed the Senate on the importance of U.S. relations with India, the worlds largest democracy. He spoke about the importance of U.S. humanitarian assistance to the Indian people in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes in the western state of Gujarat, and he emphasized the great potential for the United States and India to develop a strong, cooperative relation across a broad range of issues.

Internment of Japanese-Americans

3/6/03 Statement of John Kerry
"It's discouraging to see that [Congressman] Richard Burr [R-NC] 
believes that to be loyal to North Carolina you have to remain silent about 
Howard Coble's indefensible remarks. When John Edwards spoke out 
yesterday he was acting in the best North Carolina traditions of Senators 
like Sam Ervin and Terry Sanford. Instead of beginning his Senate race 
appealing to the worst in our politics, Richard Burr should join John 
Edwards in speaking up for common sense and decency. 
If Richard Burr still isn't sure whether Rep. Coble's remarks were
wrong, I'm happy to make it clear to him. I proudly stand by what I
said two weeks ago. Howard Coble's suggestion that the internment of
Japanese Americans was necessary for our national security takes us 
backwards - and calls into serious question not just his judgment, but his 
ability to serve as Chairman of the newly organized House Subcommittee 
on Homeland Security. 
Representative Coble still needs to apologize for his comments, 
he needs to explain his views, and the Republican leadership needs to 
determine whether they believe he's the right man for this important 
committee leadership responsibility."
"There's an old saying: those who can't admit the mistakes of 
history are doomed to repeat them.
Twenty years ago, the federal government rightly apologized to 
the 60,000 surviving Japanese-Americans for the indignities and civil 
rights violations of the internment camps. 
Howard Coble's suggestion that the internment of Japanese 
Americans was necessary for our national security takes us backwards - 
and calls into serious question not just his judgment, but his ability to 
serve as Chairman of the newly organized House Subcommittee on 
Homeland Security. 
It shouldn't take public outrage to make a public official realize 
that it's unacceptable to put patriotic Americans behind barbed wire 
under the watch of machine guns. Untold numbers of Asian Americans 
who have served in the military -- including World War II hero Daniel 
Inouye -- know that the home of the brave is worth fighting for because 
it's the land of the free.  Why would Howard Coble allow us to believe 
he doesn't understand the meaning of their service?
Statements which justify discrimination like the internment of 
Japanese Americans are an insult to American ideals.
Representative Coble needs to apologize for his comments, 
he needs to explain his views, and the Republican leadership needs 
to determine whether they believe he's the right man for this important 
committee leadership responsibility.  Is this really the face they want 
to put on their homeland security agenda?" 

John Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, is the Senior Democrat on the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee's Asia Subcommittee. He was a two term
member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and author of a 1997 book
on global terrorism and international crime, The New War. 

10/22/04 NY Times: :"Guessing Begins on Judgeships in a Kerry Term,

    The issue in assessing how a Kerry administration would approach the issue of choosing judges is a straightforward one: Would John Kerry, as president, try to be the mirror image of Republican presidents?
That is, would he name candidates who are progressive and liberal to counterbalance the conservative appointments of his Republican predecessors? Or would he follow the path of President Bill Clinton and avoid confrontation on the issue, generally naming moderates who would not attract sharp opposition?
What is likely to matter most is whom Mr. Kerry would nominate to the Supreme Court. With no vacancies on the court in more than a decade, there is heightened expectation that the next president will have one or more opportunities to choose justices and shape the court for years to come.
Some people who could be considered for the Supreme Court, according to interviews with several Democratic advisers:
    - Harold Hongju Koh, the dean of Yale Law School . Professor Koh, a widely admired scholar who has worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations, would be the court's first Asian-American member.
    - Kathleen M. Sullivan, a professor and former dean at Stanford Law School .
    - Diana Gribbon Motz, a federal appeals court judge in Baltimore who has been a powerful dissenter on a largely conservative court.
- Sonia Sotomayor, a federal appeals court judge in New York .
Other candidates include Walter E. Dellinger and Seth P. Waxman, both former solicitors general; David S. Tatel and Merrick Garland, federal appeals court judges in Washington; Elena Kagan, the dean of Harvard Law School; and Dennis Archer, who has served as a Michigan Supreme Court justice, mayor of Detroit and president of the American Bar Association.

10/18/04 Associated Press 
Kerry issues statement supporting Akaka Bill 
    Honolulu (AP) -- Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and his vice presidential candidate support federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, according to a written statement from the candidate.
    ``John Edwards and I are committed to improve the lives of Native Hawaiians,'' Kerry says in a statement posted on the Hawaii Democratic Party's Web site.
    ``Once elected, we will work to support their right to self-determination as a Native people.''
    Under the bill named for Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka, its primary sponsor, the federal government would recognize Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people, similar to American Indians and Native Alaskans.
Hawaii 's Democratic congressional delegation has been working to get the bill passed before Congress adjourns for the year.

9/21/04 Associated Press: Kerry Fund-Raisers Met With South Korean,
Washington - A South Korean man who met with John Kerry's fund-raisers to discuss creating a new political group for Korean-Americans was an intelligence agent for his country, raising concerns among some U.S. officials that either he or his government may have tried to influence this fall's election.
    South Korean officials and U.S. officials told The Associated Press that Chung Byung-Man, a consular officer in Los Angeles , actually worked for South Korea 's National Intelligence Service.
    A spokesman for the South Korean consulate office said Chung was sent home in May amid "speculation" he became involved with the Kerry campaign and Democratic Party through contacts with fund-raiser Rick Yi and that his identity couldn't be discussed further.
    "According to international tradition, we cannot identify, we cannot say who he is, because he is intelligence people," spokesman Min Ryu said.
    The State Department said it has discussed Chung's reported activities with the South Korean government and has no reason to doubt Seoul 's representations he was an intelligence agent.
    The department believes Chung's contacts with donors and fund-raisers, if accurately described in reports, were "inconsistent" with the 1963 Vienna Convention that prohibits visiting foreign officials from interfering in the internal politics and affairs of host countries, a spokesman for its legal affairs office said.     Kerry campaign spokesman Chad Clanton said the campaign did not know Chung was an intelligence agent or that Yi, one of the campaign's key fund-raisers in the Asian-American community, was meeting with him until it was brought to light by the AP.
    The AP first reported this spring that Yi and other Kerry fund-raisers and donors had met with Chung, but at the time Chung was only identified as a diplomat. Yi resigned from the Kerry campaign after the story, and Kerry returned $4,000 in donations he had solicited because of concerns about their origins.
    AP was alerted to the meetings and Chung's identity as an intelligence agent by Democratic donors and fund-raisers who said they were uncomfortable with the activities.
    A South Korean government official in Seoul and two longtime U.S. officials in Washington, both speaking on condition of anonymity because Chung's intelligence work is classified, told AP that Chung worked for South Korea's NIS, the country's CIA equivalent.
    The U.S. officials said Chung had registered with the Justice Department as a friendly foreign intelligence agent on U.S. soil, and that his activities had raised concern he or his government had tried to influence the fall presidential election through "extracurricular activities."
    The FBI has not begun a formal counterintelligence investigation because Chung left the United States in May, the officials said.
    The NIS dismissed any suggestion the South Korean government tried to influence American politics as a "totally groundless rumor and all fiction."
    South Korea has been frustrated over the deadlock in talks on North Korea's nuclear activities, while at the same facing the Bush administration's planned withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops from the tense region. One expert said Chung's actions were consistent with Seoul 's concerns with the Bush administration even if he didn't get a direct order.
    "It is certainly possible that these actions would not reflect an order from the top but rather point to the unaccountability of a rather high-ranking officer to pursue their own agenda or what they perceive to be the agenda of their superiors," said Nicholas Eberstadt, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute.
    "But, nonetheless, this sort of intervention certainly provides a faithful reflection of the general attitude of Roh Moo-hyun's administration toward the presidential race," Eberstadt said. "There's an awful lot of people in this (South Korean) government who can't stand the Bush administration and would love to see Bush lose."
    South Korean officials said Yi and Chung had known each other for some time. Before moving to Los Angeles , Chung worked in South Korea 's consular offices in Atlanta , where Yi was working for a high-tech company.
    Yi had worked in the Clinton White House as a military attache, and eventually went into business in the Atlanta area with the son of disgraced former South Korean president Chun Doo-hwan. Yi began raising money for Kerry in 2003 and raised about $500,000 for Democratic causes.
    Yi told AP that he met with Chung at least three times in California to discuss starting a political action group for Korean-Americans. "He contacted me to ask me to help him set up a Korean-American Leadership Council," Yi said, adding he turned down the offer because he was too busy.
    Before the discussions with Chung in California , Yi had started a Korean-American political group in the Atlanta area called the Pacific Democratic Alliance, according to incorporation papers filed in March 2002 with the state of Georgia .
    South Korean officials said Yi asked Chung to help introduce him to Korean-Americans in California as Yi began fund-raising in the state. Chung made some personal introductions but never directly solicited political donations, Ryu said.
    A leader in Los Angeles ' large Korean-American community who met with Yi and Chung said it was common knowledge within the community that Chung worked for intelligence.
    "He's coming from the intelligence, I know it, what we call the Korean CIA. ... It's not secret," said Kee Whan Ha, president of the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles and a donor to both Kerry and Republican candidates.
    Ha said Yi solicited him once for a $25,000 donation while Chung was present.
    "Mr. Chung actually (did) nothing to encourage any money from me. Because he knows even though he tries hard on me I'm not going to listen," Ha said. "I don't have to listen. I have no business with the Korean government. ... So he was kind of quiet at the meeting."
    Yi told those at the meeting that he held a high position in the Kerry campaign and "since he has good connections, if the Korean community (is) helping him then he can help the Korean community," Ha said.

9/15/04 Los Angeles Times: "Asian American Voters Tilt to Kerry: But the first national poll during a presidential election of a growing segment of the U.S. electorate finds one in five are undecided."
- Asian American voters favor Democratic candidate John F. Kerry over President Bush, a new poll shows, although a significant number - one in five - is undecided.
   And although these voters largely supported the Democrats in the 2000 presidential contest, the poll suggests that the Democratic edge has thinned. Kerry has a 7 percentage point lead over Bush among Asian American voters, half of what Al Gore had over Bush among that group in 2000.
    The poll - the first national survey of Asian American voters in a presidential election - spotlights a small but growing segment of the American electorate.
   The study, found that Asian American voters favored Kerry over Bush by 43% to 36%, with 20% undecided. The survey was conducted in nine languages just before the Republican National Convention by the Tarrance Group, Bendixen & Associates and New California Media.
   "Traditionally, neither party has spent much effort reaching out to Asian Americans.... As a result I think you have a very large untapped population," said David Lee, executive director of the Chinese American Voters Education Committee, which helped support the poll.
   More than half of the 6 million eligible Asian American voters are expected to register to vote in the presidential election, up by almost 1 million from the 2.4 million registered in 2000.
   A largely immigrant-based population, Asian Americans are still "undergoing a process of political acculturation" with the American system, said Don T. Nakanishi, director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center .
   Indeed, about one-third of the registered voters surveyed said their vote in this year's election would be their first.
   About 22% of the likely Asian American voters - 525,000 - live in battleground states, and their numbers have the potential to shift the election in Florida (86,000 likely voters), Washington (84,000 likely voters) and Michigan (65,000 likely voters), among others.
   But some analysts are skeptical about the Asian American community's reach on the national electoral stage. Because they are heavily concentrated in non-swing states, including California and New York , their broad political influence remains small, Nakanishi said.
   The Asian American vote remains fractured, split along key issues, age and ethnicity , the poll found.
   Chinese, South Asian and Japanese Americans tended to weigh more heavily toward Kerry while Vietnamese, Korean and Filipino Americans were more in favor of Bush.
   The economy was the key issue for these voters, the poll found. About 47% of those surveyed said jobs and the economy were the single biggest issue for the next president. Only 22% picked Iraq or terrorism.
   The poll surveyed 1,004 registered voters across Asian American communities in 47 states during the 10 days leading up to the GOP convention. Its overall margin of error was 3%, although it was as high as 9% among some subsets of Asian Americans.

9/1/04 Kerry Speaks Out in First-ever Interview With Asian American Press
By Samson Wong and Kathleen Richards
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry was in the Bay Area last Friday for a fundraising event in San Francisco and a town hall meeting at Westmoor High School in Daly City . About 300 supporters gathered for the town hall meeting where Kerry discussed consumer protection and creating a stronger middle class.
During his political career, Kerry has had a tenuous relationship with the Asian American community. On the one hand, he has been a vocal supporter of civil rights issues and pushed for tougher laws against hate crimes. He has advocated for an immigration policy that supports families and has provided additional funding for minority-owned businesses.
Yet Kerry's antiwar history has strained his relationship with the Vietnamese American community. In addition to promoting diplomatic relations with Hanoi , the senator blocked a bill against human rights violations in Vietnam . According to a Cali Today poll released in July, 90 percent of Vietnamese Americans said that they will be voting for President Bush.
In his first-ever interview with the Asian American press, the lanky Massachusetts senator sat down with AsianWeek Editor-In-Chief Samson Wong to discuss some pressing issues for the APA community.
AsianWeek: Last month about 30 Asian American media outlets expressed concern about the outreach being done, in light of your campaign spending $3 million in the Latino and African American community. What kind of progress has your campaign made toward Asian American outreach?
Sen. John Kerry: We will be spending it. I know we have plans to do it. We have been working with [Congressman] Mike Honda and other leaders in the community to figure out when and where it's best.
AW: During your town hall meeting, you talked about a "housing trust fund." From the standpoint of the Asian American community, there are a lot of homeowners, but it's become much more of a challenge especially here in the Bay Area with median housing prices [of more than $500,000].
JK: There are a number of different avenues for housing. There are some good existing programs in housing. The section 8 housing, the [section] 236, the different programs in HUD today, which this administration has not been particularly involved in supporting.
But more importantly, we've got to get additional revenue into some of the incentives that create low- and moderate-income housing. It's not doing the things we do. I've been a big believer in housing. I don't think housing is simply [about] housing. Housing is education policy. Housing is drug policy. Housing is community building.
AW: Just weeks before the Democratic National Convention, a Vietnamese American was killed in Boston , presumably as a result of a hate crime. And then not too long ago, [in San Francisco ], there were five [Asian American] teenagers who were assaulted by a gang of youths. What can you as president do to prevent these [hate crimes]?
JK: Pass hate-crimes legislation, number one. Number two, hire an attorney general who is viewed as nonpolitical and enforcing the law strictly according to the Constitution. Guarantee we have enough cops on the streets to help maintain order ... and have a president who speaks to America 's best instincts - [who] doesn't try to divide people on racial lines, doesn't attack affirmative action, doesn't try to rile up people's emotions, but appeals to the diversity that makes America who we are. And I intend to do that.
AW: Since Ronald Reagan's presidency, the number of Asian American appointments in the White House has been steadily increasing. President Clinton made the breakthrough of appointing Norman Mineta as cabinet secretary. Of course, on the other side, there was Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki ...
JK: They didn't treat [Shinseki] very well.
    AW: No. And his [congressional] warnings are still haunting us.
    JK: I find that disgraceful. I think they dishonored General Shinseki in a disgraceful way. His advice was correct. His advice was honest. No professional military officer should be shunted aside because they give their honest opinion in a [partisan atmosphere].
AW: Along those lines, this current administration has appointed quite a few Asian Americans to the White House. And I believe there have been 20 to 23 Senate-confirmed presidential appointees. What can you say about your administration, as far as the number of Asian Americans?
JK: I am determined, and I have always had that diversity in all my staffs as a senator, as a lieutenant governor, as a prosecutor. I've always had a policy of proactive outreach for diversity. I think my campaign right now is the most diverse presidential campaign in history, without question.
AW: On a personal note, I believe that one member of your family adopted an Asian American?
    JK: Yes, my sister adopted a young Chinese girl when she was 3 years old. And she's now, gosh, almost 7. My sister went to Guangzhou in China . She spent three weeks and brought her back from China . ... It's a shame that they put a premium on boys. ... [My niece] has a good home and a good life. And that's what's important.
A Look at Kerry's Record on APA Issues:
Hate Crimes:
* Co-sponsored a congressional resolution condemning the post-9/11 bigotry and violence against Sikh Americans.
* Supported laws that require harsher penalties for hate crimes committed against South Asian Americans after 9/11.
* Co-authored bill that would prohibit on-the-job religious discrimination and offer protection to Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.
Civil Rights:
* Supports "mend it, don't end it" approach for affirmative action.
* Voted YES on setting aside 10 percent of highway funds for minorities and women.
* Voted NO on ending special funding for minority- and women-owned businesses.
* Voted NO on prohibiting same-sex marriage.
* Voted NO on banning affirmative action hiring with federal funds.
* Shifted from group preferences to economic empowerment of all.
* Restored immigrant benefits lost in 1996 welfare reform.
* Earned legalization for immigrants to keep families together.
* Earned legalization for undocumented immigrants.
* Supports amnesty to anyone here over five or six years.
* Voted NO on allowing more foreign workers into the United States for farm work.
* Voted NO on visas for skilled workers.
* Voted NO on limiting welfare for immigrants.
* Sponsored bill to increase assistance for small manufacturers.
* Sponsored bill to amend the Small Business Act to provide adequate funding for women's business centers.
* Believes it is unfair to have tax laws that reward companies for taking jobs overseas.
Relations With Asia:
* As ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, he helped improve America's relations with Asia - from normalizing relations with Vietnam to setting up a genocide tribunal in Cambodia.
* Blocked the Vietnam Human Rights Act. Kerry claimed that the best way to eliminate abuses in Vietnam is to engage the communists, not punish them.
* Leader in the fight against AIDS globally, including in South Asia .
* Voted YES on ending Vietnam embargo.
* Voted to table (kill) an amendment that would require sanctions against China or other countries if they were found to be selling illicit weapons of mass destruction.
* Believes that minorities and low-income individuals are undercounted.
* Urged Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans to use adjusted numbers to calculate federal funding and intrastate redistricting and convened a hearing within the Commerce Committee to explore releasing adjusted data.
Voting Rights:
* Introduced legislation to make election day a federal holiday.

8/3/04: Democrats Wrap Up Convention & Asian Americans Applaud Kerry / Edwards Ticket 
By Sam Chu Lin 
    Standing on the dais with other supporters, Representative Mike Honda (D-San Jose, CA) and Washington State Governor Gary Locke shook hands and congratulated Senator John Kerry as the new Democratic presidential nominee concluded his acceptance speech and told the crowd, "Our best days are still to come. " The audience broke into thunderous applause as his running mate John Edwards and their two families walked on the stage and 100 thousand red, white, and blue balloons and confetti poured from the ceiling of Boston's Fleet Center Thursday night. 
    "John Kerry was on his game (plan) with his speech," Honda commented. "It was an honor and a privilege to be invited to be on the stage with him. He addressed all the questions that the President has spent sixty to eighty million dollars to knock him down in the polls. Kerry did a real good job of letting the people know what his whole life's story is all about and the choices he's made. He chose to serve while many people didn't do that. When he did, he reenlisted."
    Separated by only a portable backdrop, Locke and Honda stood only a few feet away from Kerry as he delivered his speech. When he finished, the panel was raised, and the audience broke into cheers. 
    The governor thought Kerry was right on target with the issues. "So many Asian Americans are part of the growing middle class," Locke pointed out. "The middle class was growing under President Clinton, but it's under attack under President Bush. There's been record high unemployment all across America. The economy is beginning to recover, but it's recovering with jobs that pay significantly less than the jobs that were lost." Locke predicted Kerry's speech would inspire Democrats and Asian Pacific Americans to return home and to get out the vote. "Now that we've had this convention," Locke added, "the choice is Kerry versus Bush. For those who thought it didn't make a difference between Gore and Bush four years ago, I think they will clearly see a difference and know that it does matter who becomes President of the United States. I think people will come out of this convention very committed, very united, energized, and work very hard over the next one hundred days to insure a Kerry victory." 
    Representative Bob Matsui (D-Sacramento, CA), who is trying to help the Democrats to win back a majority in Congress, also applauded Kerry's acceptance speech. "The purpose of the whole convention in this situation is for Senator Kerry to define himself and who he is," Matsui stated, "And I think he has accomplished that. I thought Senator Kerry's speech was tremendous. He drew from his personal experiences and military record, and he stated his position on the issues facing our country today. He has taken the fight directly to President Bush and made clear that national security is an important issue in this election."
    Matsui also predicted that Kerry would do very well in the upcoming presidential debates and especially on the topic of terrorism; a subject that Kerry's critics say Bush maintains the lead. "There is no question at all about Kerry's ability to debate someone like George Bush," the veteran Sacramento lawmaker commented. "Bush is robotic and basically scripted. It's absolutely stunning how he has no intellectual curiosity. That's why we had 9/11 because he didn't ask the right questions from the August 11 Memo that basically said there was going to be an attack. Secondly the 9/11 Commission came up with its report and recommendations. It's stunning to me that President Bush through an Executive Order has so far implemented none of the conclusions that they reached on this bi-partisan committee." 
    Randy Okamura, a Silicon Valley political activist, volunteered to serve as co-chair of the operations committee for the API caucus and attended the convention. The SBC lobbyist said that he was "jazzed" to see both Honda and Locke on the dais with Kerry as the 4-day convention concluded. He was also impressed with the senator's speech. "When anyone on the Kerry / Edward's team mentions 'all Americans,' I really feel included," Okamura offered. "And not so when the Bush campaign says it. What resonated with me was a lot of the social justice issues, who Americans are and what America can be." As a result of participating in the convention and hearing Kerry outline his hopes and dreams, Okamura said he is returning to the San Francisco Bay area with new enthusiasm. He wants to talk with other Democrats and "particularly those who are still trying to determine who should be president." He says he's considering using some of his vacation time to serve as a volunteer in a battleground state. "I'd like to share my enthusiasm as to why I support John Kerry," he said. "I'd like to ask them what they're looking for and tell them why they think they should support the Kerry / Edwards' ticket." 
    Congressman Honda is hopeful that other Asian Pacific American delegates will share the same enthusiasm. Honda credited many API volunteers for helping to make the convention a success. He also thought that some members of the Democratic Party leadership helped to generate positive feelings with words of encouragement and appreciation. "Teresa Kerry talked with the API caucus and said, 'I'm an immigrant, and I understand the issues of being alone in a country and making my way here.'" Honda recounted. "She made no bones about being outspoken. 'This is who I am.' She was very well received." Honda also mentioned that former presidential hopeful Howard Dean "electrified them." He said, "We all have to be behind Kerry and make it happen." 
    Representative Matsui is also very happy about the outcome of the Democratic National Convention especially as it relates to Asian Pacific Americans. He sees more API political involvement, and he predicts that will impact the polls this November. "There were 211 API delegates at this convention, the highest number we have ever had," Matsui noted. "That's 4% of the delegates, which is larger than the overall population. " He concluded, "The Asian Pacific American community is more politically active, and the activists are more involved. In the year 2000, 62% of the Asian Americans voted, and in 1996, 43% voted, and in 1992, 31% voted. In a period of eight years, we've doubled our number of people that went out and voted. I expect even a bigger ratio this year." 
    With the convention concluded, Kerry and Edwards have launched a campaign swing through 21 states.

7/29/04.  CAPAC Chair Mike Honda Delivers Address at Democratic National Convention 
Boston, MA - Last night, US Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), delivered a prime-time, televised address at the Democratic National Convention. The text of the address is as follows: 
    Sixty-two years ago, American soldiers landed on my parent's California doorstep. They rounded up my family, shipped us to an internment camp in Colorado and incarcerated us behind tall barbed wire fences. Our government did this to us and to over 120,000 other loyal Japanese Americans during a time of war hysteria because for us there was no political leadership. They told us we could not be trusted solely because of the color of our skin, and the shape of our eyes. They took our homes. They took our belongings. They tore apart our families - all because of racial prejudice. 
    Back then, no one in a position of leadership had the courage or strength of character to stand up and condemn the bigotry and hatred leveled against my family. No one. 
    My name is Michael Makoto Honda. I am a husband, a father, a Peace Corps volunteer, a teacher, a survivor of an internment camp, a U.S. Congressman, and a proud, proud American. 
    I'm here to support a man for President whose entire life has been defined by courage and leadership. 
    As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I support John Kerry because he understands the lessons from the dark chapters of our nation's history. He has listened to our community's priorities, and has made them part of his campaign. 
    John Kerry is serious about battling health care disparities, reforming immigration, creating jobs, and providing educational opportunities for Asian American, and all, communities. 
    John Kerry has spent his lifetime fighting for the American dream: as a soldier, halfway around the world, as a prosecutor, and as our advocate in the U.S. Senate. 
    John Kerry has always lived the gospel of American values. John Kerry's life choices can be summed up in one word: service. And service is the foundation on which true leadership is built. 
    Answering John F. Kennedy's call, I learned about service as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador. And I know that, for John Kerry, service is not about self-benefit. It's about self-sacrifice. It's about putting yourself in the line of fire.

7/27/04 The New Republic 's Democratic Convention Blog, 7/27/04 "Clinton xenophobia,"
    BORROWED: One of the few flaws in Bill Clinton's masterful speech was a dollop of gratuitous, demagogic xenophobia. During his discussion of the budget deficit, Clinton was careful to note that some other countries might be profiting from Bush's economic policies. "[T]hey have to go borrow money. Most of it they borrow from the Chinese and the Japanese government. Sure these countries are competing with us for good jobs, but how can we enforce our trade laws against our bankers? ... [I]f you believe it is good policy, if you believe it is good policy to pay for my tax cuts with the Social Security checks of working men and women, and borrowed money from China and Japan, you should vote for them. If not, John Kerry's your man." This may be true, but there's something unseemly about resurrecting the Yellow Peril this way. Then again, it does feel like fair payback: When Republicans were pushing for the Bush tax cut in 2001, one of their key lines of argument was that if America paid off its debt ahead of schedule, as Democrats were saying we should use the then-huge budget surplus to do, we'd be forced to buy back Treasury bills at needlessly high rates from ... you guessed it: Asian bankers. As my all-knowing colleague Jonathan Chait informs me, one Wall Street Journal editorial addressed this argument to former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, punctuating it with the classy line: "Arigato, Rubin-sahn."
Clinton 's line was no quirk. When I asked a Democratic speechwriter about it last night, he told me that with polls showing economic-competition issues like outsourcing to be "off the charts," as the campaign progresses "there's going to be a lot more of that." What comes around goes around, it seems.
--Michael Crowley
posted 11:57 a.m.

7/23/04 Bucks for Kerry, But APAs Hunger for More Substance: APAs hold gala and 70 house parties from Hawaii to Georgia,
    With about a weeks notice, more than a thousand Asian Pacific American political activists from across the country converged in Washington, D.C. for a June 18 fundraiser supporting Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry. Hundreds more listened to Kerry via telephone hookup at house parties in 24 states.
The Democratic National Committee did not release any official figure, but one organizer estimated more than a million dollars was raised for the Massachusetts senators bid for the White House.
Afterwards, Rep. Michael Honda (D-San Jose) underscored the evenings accomplishments.
    We raised money for Sen. Kerry. We let the Democratic Party know that we have built a structure to support a candidate that we want to support. We also let the DNC know that we have the structure that also provides policy and a talent pool. We know that Kerry has said that Asian Americans will not be an after thought, said Honda.
    At the DC event, the crowd packed a rock and roll and dim sum gala inside the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel. Then Kerry, Locke and Honda on the telephone exhorted supporters at 70 house parties from Honolulu , Hawaii to Atlanta , Georgia . Kerry, running late, spoke by cellular phone from his car after Locke and Honda reintroduced him from the hotel. Both are members of Kerrys national steering committee.
Were showing just how important we are and how seriously we are to be considered, Governor Locke told the audience. We as Asian Pacific Islanders can not just sit out. Weve got to figure out what is the best for our children and is America at its best. Thats why we have to work even harder to raise money and to get our friends to register to vote and to turn out to vote.
Honda meanwhile reminded listeners that a handful of votes in Florida determined the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. However, 2.5 million registered APA voters and a similar number if they register could determine Novembers presidential election.
After greeting the audience with Aloha, Kerry ripped Bushs conduct of the war in Iraq .
    I believe the United States of America should never go to war because it wants to. We should only go to war because we have to. And I dont believe the President followed that standard in Iraq , said Kerry.
Kerry also talked about immigration.
    With respect to immigration reform, there are countless numbers of families that are seeking reunification. Countless numbers of Americans are finding it very difficult when they are racially profiled and separated, he said.
He then emphasized putting America back to work, providing health care, fixing our education system, creating a tax code thats fair, having immigration reform, and most importantly we need to reach out to the rest of the world.
What APAs said about Kerry:
    When [Kerry] came into the main hall, he was well received. For an Asian American crowd, it was quite boisterous and loud. Sen. Kerry seemed to enjoy himself. It wasnt a canned speech. He made a lot of references to the Asian American community and the community really appreciated that. Bruce B. Lee, Washington D.C. , attorney and DNC finance vice chair
Im 24 years old, and I feel like hes trying to reach out to my group. Its been a momentous occasion for me to finally feel that Im part of this campaign. Nancy Bui, Sacramento , Calif. , software systems designer for Deloitte & Touche
    Sen. Kerry needs to have a better analysis of our population. Since the Clinton administration, youve got a fairly sophisticated [APA] population. We care about a more refined analysis of affirmative action in this country. We care about international relations because technology has pushed us [beyond that]. Immigration reform is far more complex than the reunification of families. It is about global capital, globalization of justice movements and globalization of human rights concerns. Angela Oh, Los Angeles , Calif. , attorney and a former board member of President Clintons Initiative on Race
For the most part I agree with the positions he has taken on a number of domestic issues, but I would like to see more in terms of his positions with respect to APA issues and international particular Asia issues. Alice Young , New York , attorney and vice chair of the Committee of 100
It would be good if [Kerry] wasnt too timid about making a few more progressive types of statements. Instead of being overly cautious with the conservative wing of the Democratic Party, he might say, Were in support of American ideals such as diversity. We support more affirmative action for the citizens who can use the help. Kerry has already won the Hawaiian Islands , but we can help win the national election. Anson Chong, Honolulu , Hawaii , educator and a former politician
Sen. Kerry, with his military record, people respect him. But the way the Democratic Party is shaping him and his campaign is too centralistic. I think thats a mistake. All of the things that are going on in the country, people dont like it. They dont like this war [in Iraq ]. They dont like anything that this administration has done. Sen. Kerry is really in a good place to advocate his policies. I think he needs to be himself and somehow convey his message with more passion to the public. Sabina Lee , New York , host of house party
It would have been nice if he would have addressed a few more specifics concerning our community. We had sent over a number of questions to his campaign, and it would have been nice if he had answered some of them. This is considered a first step in terms of working together with our community. Curtis Chin, Los Angeles , Calif. , political activist for Asian Pacific Americans for Progress
How the API Vote Will Make a Difference:
    People might think that Georgia will go to Bush, but theres a lot of work going on here to make Georgia a swing state. I dont have a poll, but based on my experience, I think a majority of Asian people here are going to vote for Kerry. Hai Ying Huang, Atlanta , Ga. , aerospace engineer
John Kerry needs every vote that he can get. The APIA vote in California will make a big difference. That vote will resonate with other APIA s in such critical states like Texas , Nevada , and up north in Washington and Oregon . The money that we will raise will be used in other critical states to help Kerry. Fel Amistad, Daly City , Calif. , realtor and a leader of Filipino Americans & APIAs for John Kerry.

7/22/04 San Francisco Chronicle: Asian media rip Kerry strategy: They say $3 million ad campaign snubs their community,
by Vanessa Hua

    Last week, Democrat John Kerry launched $3 million worth of campaign ads targeting Hispanics and African Americans to shore up the minority vote in the presidential race. 
    On Wednesday, Asian American media leaders complained that the advertising campaign excluded their publications and programming -- giving the impression that the Asian community's vote has been taken for granted and does not count. 
    "It sends a message to ethnic communities that some are more important than others," said Lito Gutierrez, publisher of the Philippine News, at a press conference in San Francisco convened by New California Media, a coalition of ethnic media. 
    Asian media play a strong role in speaking for and advocating for the community that politicians should acknowledge, said Sandy Close, executive director of New California Media. 
    The coalition of Asian media has asked for a public meeting with the Kerry campaign to discuss more specifics, and it also plans to approach President Bush's camp. 
    In a letter dated July 16, Kerry's campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill wrote to New California Media: 
    "It has always been the intention of the campaign to advertise in APIA (Asian Pacific Islander American) media, and we have been working closely with APIA advisers, elected officials and community leaders to determine the best ways to invest our resources to communicate with the APIA community." 
    Kerry spokesman Luis Vizcaino did not return calls or e-mail requesting specifics on the campaign's Asian Pacific Islander communications strategy. 
    Gutierrez said the Philippine News would cover the presidential campaign objectively and fairly -- regardless of whether the candidates purchased advertising. 
    Lack of advertising, however, could affect the editorial endorsements, said Joseph Leung, editor of Sing Tao, one of the largest Chinese-language dailies in the Bay Area. 
    The dollar amount of advertising does not matter as much as its symbolic message, he said. 
    Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, said Kerry had shown a strong interest in Asian Americans and promised the community would not be an afterthought in his campaign. 
    Kerry's campaign previously asked Honda's office for assistance in putting together an Asian media outreach, which is complicated because the different ethnic groups within the community speak many languages, Honda said. 
    Kerry is spending $1 million on Spanish-language ads and another $2 million in advertising on radio stations, newspapers and television stations targeted toward the African American community. 
    Where money is spent on advertising also has much to do with battleground or swing states, notes Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York . Fung was selected by the state Democratic Committee to serve as a Kerry delegate to next week's Democratic National Convention. 
    Swing states have a high percentage of voters without strong party affiliations and are heavily courted by presidential candidates. 
    Media -- both mainstream and ethnic -- in states like California or New York , where there is little doubt the Democrats will win, are apt to receive less political advertising.

6/20/04 Associated Press: Kerry Took Money From Arrested Korean,
    Washington - John Kerrys campaign collected a maximum $2,000 check from the recently arrested son of South Korea's disgraced former president, and some of its fund-raisers met several times with a South Korean government official who was trying to organize a Korean-American political group.
The Kerry campaign said it did not know about the $2,000 donation from Chun Jae-yong or his background until informed by The Associated Press and has decided to return the money to avoid any appearance of impropriety.
"We are sending the check back," spokesman Michael Meehan said.
South Korean government officials told the AP that a top official in its Los Angeles consulate office returned home last month amid "speculation" he had engaged in Democratic politics, but they do not believe any laws were broken.
    Chun Jae-yong was arrested in February by South Korean authorities on charges of evading taxes on $14 million in inheritance money. His father, former president Chun Dooh-hwan, was convicted in 1997 on bribery charges.
Chun Jae-yong was business partners last year with Rick Yi, one of Kerry's major fund-raisers in the Asian-American community. Yi acknowledged soliciting the donation from Chun last summer before learning of his legal problems.
"I didn't think anything wrong of it," said Yi, who has raised more than $500,000 for Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, and Democratic causes. Yi is listed as one of the campaign's fund-raising vice chairmen. "If I had known who he was at the time I probably would not have taken the money," he said.
Yi, a former military attache in the Clinton White House, said he was business partners with Chun for about six months last year in a Duluth , Ga. , company called OR Solutions Inc. When making his donation Aug. 11, Chun listed himself as the company's president and chief operating officer.
The same day, Yi also made a $2,000 contribution to Kerry, listing himself as chairman and chief executive of OR Solutions. Yi said Chun had asked him to help set up the company and that he ended his affiliation late last fall.
Yi said Chun showed him a Social Security card before making the donation to prove he was a legal U.S. resident allowed to donate to political campaigns. By law, the maximum individual donation is $2,000.
Yi also confirmed that while on Kerry fund-raising trips to California he met at least three times with Chung Byung-man, the South Korean government's vice consulate in Los Angeles and that they discussed forming a political group to organize influential Korean-Americans that would be called The Korean-American Leadership Council.
"It generically was being called a political action committee for the Korean-American community," Yi said. "He (Chung) asked me to spearhead this council. I rejected his proposal. I don't have time."
South Korean-U.S. relations have been strained over the North Korean nuclear weapons program and the Bush administration's decision to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Seoul .
Yi said his conversations with Chung never centered on fund raising and that many of the people Chung was suggesting for the group were Republicans. He said, however, that he found it odd that a South Korean diplomat was trying to organize an American political group.
"I asked him that, 'Is this appropriate for a diplomat to do?' He said he was only starting this up because there was no Korean-Americans to do it. Once two or three candidates were identified, he would hand it over."
Yi said he and Chung never discussed using the group to help Kerry and that he never solicited donations for Kerry in Chung's presence. But he acknowledged that Chung introduced him to some in California as one of Kerry's main fund-raisers.
"I don't doubt somewhere down the line, Chung said, 'This is Rick Yi, he is one of the persons helping John Kerry.' That is normal in their culture, but that never led to Chung or I asking for money."
Yi wasn't the only Kerry fund-raiser approached by Chung.
California lawyer David K. Lee said he was asked to dinner by one of Yi's fund-raising deputies and was surprised when Chung showed up. He said Chung talked to him and others present about creating a group modeled after the Group 100, which has become a strong political voice for Chinese-Americans.
    "Whatever agenda that he had, whether it was political or personal or governmental, I really don't know," Lee said. "I just thought the most basic assumption for me was that he was doing something good for the community."
    The South Korean government said Friday that Chung had returned home on May 16 as part of a regular rotation.
The Los Angeles consulate's office has heard "speculation" that Chung was supporting the Democratic Party and Kerry but hasn't investigated and doesn't believe Chung violated the Geneva Convention's prohibition against foreign involvement in politics or any U.S. law, spokesman Min Ryu said.
Lee said there is heightened sensitivity in the Asian-American community after the 1996 fund-raising scandal involving it and the Clinton White House.
"I think the people who are experienced in this field know the repercussions and the impact that that had on the Chinese-American community and overall on the Asian-American community and they don't want to repeat that mistake," Lee said.
    Bruce Lee, a top Democratic National Committee fund-raiser who helped organize a major Asian-American fund-raising event Friday night for Kerry, said he, too, began to hear concerns in the community, looked into them and concluded nothing wrong had occurred.
Bruce Lee dismissed the allegations as rumors among rival camps of fund-raisers. "I treated it as gossip. And I didn't think much more of it," he said.
    The Democratic Party markedly increased its vetting of fund-raisers and donors in the late 1990s after the fund-raising scandal centered mostly on Asian Americans. More than a dozen Democratic fund-raisers or donors were convicted of federal crimes, and the Clintons were forced to acknowledged they used White House coffees and overnight stays in the Lincoln bedroom as rewards to lure large donations.
Kerry has been raising record amounts of money for his presidential campaign as he tries to level the playing field with President Bush, who has collected an unprecedented $218 million for his re-election. Kerry's campaign checks the backgrounds of all fund-raisers and requires non-citizen donors to show proof they are legal residents allowed to donate.
Kerry has been forced on several occasions to answer questions or return donations after media reports that he accepted money from donors with unsavory backgrounds.
For instance, Kerry received $10,000 in donations in the 1990s through controversial Democratic fund-raiser Johnny Chung after his Senate office arranged a tour for Chung at the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Johnny Chung later pleaded guilty to making illegal straw donations, including some to Kerry.

6/18/04 "Honda, Locke Added to the Kerry Campaign Team,"

    by Sam Chu Lin
Washington state Gov. Gary Locke and Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) drew more than 600 people at two San Francisco Bay Area events last Sunday in a national effort to mobilize Asian Pacific American support for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. The two, joining Rep. Robert Matsui (D-Sacramento) on Kerrys national steering committee, will mobilize support for the Massachusetts senators two upcoming Bay Area rallies on June 23.
    Locke and Honda took aim at the Bush administration in San Francisco s Chinatown and in San Jose .
    I just came back from a trip to Germany and France, Locke said, and all of the political leaders in Europe have a very low respect for America. Thats absolutely unheard of.  While the people of Europe appreciate Americans, they do not have much appreciation for our government. On foreign policy, on domestic issues, America is headed in the wrong direction and we need a change.
    For Honda, the Bush administrations fate will come down to a familiar presidential campaign refrain.
    President Reagan asked the American people [24] years ago, Are you better off today than four years ago? I think we can ask that question again, and I think that answer would be a resounding No.
    What we need to do is to understand that [APAs] are not being taken for granted by Senator Kerry, Honda said.
    Both political leaders pointed out that APAs have an important role in the upcoming election. With polls showing a close race between Kerry and Bush, APA voters have become increasingly important in toss-up states like Lockes Washington, as well as Oregon, Nevada and Minnesota .
    We had a meeting with Senator Kerry about two weeks ago where he said that he knew many people looked at the [APA] community more of as an afterthought. But not with him. Kerry has made a commitment that when he wins the election, [APAs] will be on his transition committee. What that means is [APAs] will be in his administration, Honda said.
    A greater APA presence in a Kerry campaign increases the possibility that their views will be better represented in a Kerry administration.
    Our community is a rich resource for this new administration. What that does is, it refocuses the White House to look at the globe in its entirety rather than just being Eurocentric. If we have more of us there, we can help the White House with our input to be more precise about domestic and international issues, Honda said.
    A Kerry administration could open up an examination of immigration, which has slowed down since Sept. 11.
    We all care about reunification of families in terms of immigration policies, Locke said. Weve not seen progress in that area by the administration. [APAs] are like every other American, and we deserve to be at the table. We deserve to have our priorities met.
    Many attendees at the San Jose and San Francisco functions felt that strong community support could push Kerry to appoint APAs to the cabinet if he became president. Chief among Kerry cabinet possibilities were Locke and Honda.
    In a lighter moment, reporters suggested that Locke be considered as a vice presidential candidate on a Kerry ticket. The Washington state governor, who is not running for a third term this November, announced that would not be possible. He repeated himself when it was suggested that both Locke and Honda be considered for secretary of commerce and secretary of education in a Kerry administration.
    Locke proudly pointed out that he and his wife, Mona, are expecting their third child in November, and he simply wants to be a good father.
    This weekend APAs around the country plan to hold house parties to raise money for Kerry. In the two Bay Area events next week, the Democrats hope to raise a total of $10 million for Kerry  

6/14/04 San Jose Mercury News: Demos seek Asian American votes:
Honda, Washington Governor Hold Fundraisers, Criticize Bush policies, Urge Support for Kerry,
wo prominent Asian-American Democrats, Rep. Mike Honda of San Jose and Washington Gov. Gary Locke, appeared in the Bay Area Sunday to promote presidential hopeful John Kerry by raising money and urging Asians-Americans to vote for him.
    Honda and Locke, both of whom were appointed to Kerry's national steering committee Sunday, criticized President Bush's record on education, the economy and immigration, although they gave little indication of what Kerry would do differently.
    The Democrats singled out the Bush administration's family reunification policy, an immigration issue of deep concern for many Asian-Americans with relatives abroad, for particular criticism. In the past, a limited number of family members were allowed to come to the United States to reunite with their relatives. But since Sept. 11, 2001, that has slowed.
    ``It is getting so difficult for people to visit the United States -- as tourists, as students or as business people,'' Locke said. ``And it's particularly hard to reunify families under the administration's immigration policies.''
    In attacking Bush, Honda appropriated a line that Ronald Reagan used in his 1980 campaign against Jimmy Carter.
    ``Are you better off today than you were four years ago?'' Honda asked, suggesting that the obvious answer was no.
    Kerry will be in San Jose and San Francisco next Wednesday to raise money. It will be his last appearance in the Bay Area before the Democratic national convention at the end of July, when he will receive federal matching campaign funds and will no longer need to make fundraising trips here.
The San Jose fundraiser will be at Parkside Hall at the Tech Museum of Innovation downtown. Speakers include Rob Reiner, a prominent Hollywood Democrat. Musical performers will include Carole King and the Flying Other Brothers, a rock band started by venture capitalist Roger McNamee.
On Sunday, the Kerry campaign held two small events for Asian donors, a reception at the San Jose Hyatt and a luncheon at the Gold Dragon in San Francisco 's Chinatown . The campaign did not have figures Sunday for how much was raised.
After next week's fundraisers, Kerry is expected to have raised about $10 million in Northern California , according to Mark Gorenberg, a partner with the venture capital firm Hummer Winblad who has been Kerry's chief Bay Area fundraiser. Kerry, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts , was a frequent visitor to Silicon Valley early on in the primary.
This weekend, Asian-American supporters of Kerry will hold house parties around the country to raise money for him, a tactic borrowed from former Democratic contender Howard Dean that President Bush's campaign has also adopted.
Locke said the Kerry campaign decided to launch a national campaign for Asian-American votes in the Bay Area because it is where many national Asian media outlets are located and is the natural place to rally Asians nationwide.
Honda said Asian-Americans could be a big help to Kerry if they rallied for him in other states, such as Washington , where the election is expected to be much closer than it in California . But, he acknowledged, half the 5 million Asian-Americans who are eligible to vote are not registered

5/28/04: Kerry meets with Asian Pacific Islander American leaders, Highlights his agenda for educational opportunity to build a stronger America
    Washington, DC - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry met with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and other Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) leaders to discuss educational opportunity and other issues of importance to the community.
    Kerry outlined his strategy to mobilize APIA voters and criticized George Bush for ignoring the concerns of the APIA community.
    He also praised the many contributions of the APIA community in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. "Since the earliest days of our country, Asian Pacific Islander Americans have made a positive impact on our country and have been a beacon of the American dream. However, too many Asian Pacific Islander Americans have been forgotten by the Bush Administration," said John Kerry. "Today's meeting with Members of Congress, state and local elected officials and APIA leaders was a great opportunity to share our common vision for an America that celebrates diversity, embraces inclusion and opens doors of opportunity. I look forward to our continued dialogue as we work together to build a stronger America.
    During the one-hour meeting, John Kerry noted that while higher education has been a ladder to success for many in the APIA community, under George Bush's administration, access to college has become unaffordable. Average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges increased from $3,487 in 2000-2001 to $4,694 in 2003-2004, a 28 percent increase after inflation. This jump in tuition has resulted in an estimated 222,000 students unable to attend college due to cost.
   While George Bush has turned a blind eye to the risings costs of higher education, John Kerry has proposed a comprehensive approach to tackling this issue by creating a college opportunity tax credit and simplifying the financial aid process.
    Kerry also criticized the Bush Administration's failure to address critical immigration issues and the unfair treatment that many minorities of Asian Pacific Islander descent endured under Bush's immigration registration program.
    Kerry pledged to make immigration fairer, ensure family reunification as a priority and implement policies that respected civil rights while maintaining security. He also stressed his support for reinstating benefits to legal immigrants, many of whom are Asian Pacific Islander American seniors.
    "This meeting reinforced our belief that John Kerry is the best presidential candidate for the APIA community, and indeed, for all Americans. He has demonstrated that he understands the needs and concerns of this community," said Congressman Michael Honda, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. "I know everyone at the meeting and in the APIA community at large is committed to doing everything in their power to make John Kerry our next president."
    In addition, John Kerry voiced his alarm over the recent Executive Order that drastically reframes and restricts the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The original Executive Order issued by President Clinton had a broad mandate to "improve the quality of life of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through increased participation in Federal programs where they may be underserved (e.g., health, human services, education, housing, labor, transportation, and economic and community development)."
    The Executive Order signed by George Bush on May 13, 2004 narrows the mandate to focus principally on business and forgoes previous collaboration between government agencies. Kerry stated his support to reinstate the mandate laid out in the original Executive Order and indicated the need for data collection and cross-agency collaboration on numerous Asian Pacific Islander American issues. Kerry also praised the efforts of the many APIA organizations that worked together to produce the report, Call to Action: Platform for Asian Pacific Americans National Policy Priorities, and expressed his agreement with many of the principles and policies outlined in the report.

4/15/04 World Journal: "Democrats mobilize APIA vote for Kerry." 
    DNC APIA representative Victoria Lai meets the press in San Francisco emphasizing support for APIAs in areas of immigration reform, education, and hate crimes. 
    DNC Party Affairs Deputy Director Victoria Lai in San Francisco on April 1 stated that the DNC is currently fully behind presidential candidate Kerry and proceeding with campaign activities, including strengthening APIA message and hopes that in this November's presidential election to mobilize more APIAs to vote for and elect Kerry. 
    Born in Houston, Texas, her father from Hong Kong and her mother from Singapore, Lai is a second-generation Asian American. At the DNC Headquarters in Washington, DC, she is responsible for Party Affairs and Delegate Selection, and also manages APIA affairs. 
    Coming from Washington DC to San Francisco, Lai will represent the DNC at the "National APIA Health Forum-sponsored presidential election symposium on April 2. Lai is scheduled to meet with San Francisco's APIA press on April 1 to explain to the APIA community information regarding the presidential election. 
    Lai says, APIAs constitute 10% of all employees at the DNC 's Washington headquarters - a relatively high proportion - which demonstrates the Democratic Party's recognition of the APIA community. 
    Massachusetts Senator Kerry has won the support of most states in the national primary and has already begun to aggressively implement his post-primaries campaign activities in order to defeat Republican incumbent president Bush's attempt at a second term. 
    Lai admits, before the primaries, Kerry did not focus his campaign activities on APIA voters. She explained that primaries are different from the national election. During primaries, Kerry had to focus on several Midwestern states in order to win the party's nomination, but after the primaries, Kerry will adopt a different strategy to win the presidential election. 
    Lai said that the DNC is working with Kerry and in the national elections, including messages aimed at the APIA community, and for the DNC national convention in July held in Boston, the DNC has already specifically set aside 40 party delegate seats in addition to the regular seats, for APIA applications, in order to ensure that the APIA voice is heard at the National Convention. 
    Lai emphasized that Kerry strongly considers APIA rights. Kerry's national campaign headquarters already includes a Korean American in a prominent position. 
    Kerry supports the APIA community's position on immigration reform, education, hate crime legislation etc. issues. 
    Prior to the primaries, of the 9 candidates for the Democratic nomination, Kerry, Edwards, and Dean received the greatest APIA support. Lai said, Kerry plans to bring together Edwards and Dean's APIA supporters to consolidate the APIA community's force. 
    Lai noted that, the DNC has already begun spreading information about Kerry's campaign activities within the APIA community, including promoting the new DNC APIA website The website provides a wealth of information relevant to the APIA community regarding the DNC and the presidential election. 
    In addition, Lai said the DNC plans on introducing campaign activities in multiple languages, and will translate information regarding the presidential election in various Asian languages, to encourage all APIAs to support and vote for Kerry, who closely watches issues involving APIA rights.

2/4/04 Associated Press: WA Gov. Locke Endorses Kerry for President,
    Seattle (AP) -- Gov. Gary Locke
announced Sunday his endorsement of Sen. John Kerry, the Democrats' national front-runner for the presidential nomination.
    ``John Kerry has the right priorities for Washington state,'' Locke said in a news release. ``He understands that the people of Washington want good jobs, affordable health care, public schools and universities that are second to none. His experience and leadership skills will get our state and our country back on track.''
    Kerry is scheduled to visit the Seattle area on Tuesday, campaign spokeswoman Alixandria Wade said Sunday.
    On Friday, Kerry picked up endorsements from Washington 's senior House member, Rep. Norm Dicks, and Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash.
    Democratic Sen. Patty Murray has said she will stay out of the pre-convention battle among the seven presidential hopefuls.
    Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., and much of the state Democratic leadership, including party Chairman Paul Berendt, have endorsed Howard Dean.
    The former Vermont governor visited Seattle on Saturday, welcomed by a crowd of more than 1,400 people.
    Washington 's precinct caucuses, which begin the process of electing 78 national convention delegates, will be held Feb. 7.

1/22/04 Associated Press: Senator Inouye Supporting Kerry for President,
    Honolulu (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said he is supporting the presidential campaign of fellow war veteran Sen. John Kerry, who came from behind to win the Iowa caucuses this week.
   Inouye, D-Hawaii, said Tuesday he told the Massachusetts Democrat two weeks ago that he would support Kerry's presidential campaign.
    ``I have watched him develop into a great leader,'' Inouye said.
    Inouye said he made his decision to support Kerry before polls showed him gaining strength over the other Democrats seeking the nomination.
    ``I told this fellow two weeks ago 'You will have my help,''' Inouye said of Kerry.
    ``There is a special kinship, we both served in battle -- he has a Purple Heart and I have a Purple Heart,'' said Inouye, lost his right arm in World War II and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his acts of bravery.
    Kerry was awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam . He later came to oppose the Vietnam War and was a spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
    Sen. Daniel Akaka has not said who he will endorse.

Indo-American Demos Back Kerry in Presidential Bid
Special to 6/1/01 India-West
    Los Angeles -- Massachusetts Senator John Kerry's serious consideration that he will challenge George W. Bush for the presidency in 2004 has prompted two prominent Indo-American Orange County Democrats to mount a fundraiser this coming June.
    Dr. G. Nanjundappa and Chopin Chopra, both members of the Orange County Democratic Party Central Committee, learned of Kerry's intentions, though he has not formally declared his candidacy, during a May 5 meeting with him and other select Democrats at the Antonello restaurant in Santa Ana.
    At the meeting Kerry "gave me the impression he is quite capable of providing leadership and he is very interested in developing a good relationship with India," Nanjundappa, who ran for election last year for the 72nd Assembly District, told India-West.
    Chopra was similarly impressed. "We asked him a lot of questions about Kashmir and Pakistan, and he reiterated that he will be supporting India's cause in the Senate," he remarked to India-West. "He was very knowledgeable and detail oriented."
    Kerry had been a candidate for president in the last election but deferred to vice-president Al Gore's bid for the presidency since "he didn't want to rock the boat," Chopra said, adding that, unlike Gore, Kerry "is a very eloquent speaker."
    But now that Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords has defected from the Republican party and declared himself an independent, the Democrats will have control of the Senate on June 5, and Kerry "will definitely be a force in the Senate," Nanjundappa said.
    Kerry will be watching closely how the Bush Administration will maintain ties with India. "The seeds have been sown for a new Indo-American relationship," the senator stated Feb. 7 on the floor of the Senate. "It is up to the Bush Administration to nurture them."
    Although the speech was made before President Bush's meeting with Jaswant Singh, the Bush Administration must nevertheless "devote time and attention to the relationship -- and to developments in the region -- on a consistent basis, not on a crisis only basis," Kerry declared.
    Nanjundappa and Chopra, the party's co-chairman for information and technology, are currently planning a fundraiser for Kerry to be held in the third week of June at a Southern California location yet to be determined.
    If Kerry does announce his candidacy, he will need to hit the ground running, "and it takes time in terms of fundraising and to reach out to the people all over the nation," Nanjundappa said. So a June fundraiser "is not too early; time goes fast."
    Furthermore, "we will be raising as much money as we can from the Indo-American community, both here and in Northern California," Chopra added.
    Those who wish to participate in the fundraisers or in Kerry's campaign once he officially announces his bid for president should contact Dr. Nanjundappa at (714) 970-0505 or Chopin Chopra at (714) 998-2225.

5/5/03 on Foreign Policy and Defense
    "We have learned many lessons from recent tragic events. The lingering effects of September 11th have caused some to shrink from our global responsibilities, to argue that the world is a dangerous place and that is why America should turn inward. They are wrong. The world is a dangerous and unpredictable place-and that is why we must lead. In fact, in light of recent events, it has become even clearer that the preservation of American liberty is not only linked to the expansion of democracy, but dependent upon it. As a global leader in an ever-shrinking world, the United States has a duty to protect human rights and human life, both inside our borders and out."
   "During my tenure on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I have actively pursued a policy that reflects these values. I am focused now more than ever on recognizing the new challenges that now face our great nation."
   The promotion of American involvement in East Asia has also been a priority of Senator Kerry. As the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, he has helped improve America's relations with this critical part of the world-from normalizing relations with Vietnam to setting up a genocide tribunal in Cambodia to bring to justice those responsible for the horrors of the Killing Fields.

2/19/04 Los Angeles Times: "Kerry Lobbied for Contractor Who Made Illegal Contributions,"
Washington Sen. John F. Kerry sent 28 letters in behalf of a San Diego defense contractor who pleaded guilty last week to illegally funneling campaign contributions to the Massachusetts senator and four other congressmen.
Members of Congress often write letters supporting constituent businesses and favored projects. But as the Democratic presidential front-runner, Kerry has promoted himself as a candidate who has never been beholden to campaign contributors and special interests.
Between 1996 and 1999, Kerry participated in a letter-writing campaign to free up federal funds for a guided missile system that defense contractor Parthasarathi "Bob" Majumder was trying to build for U.S. warplanes.
Majumder's firm, Science and Applied Technology Inc., was paid more than $150 million to design and develop the program in the 1990s. But the program ran into some stumbling blocks at the Pentagon.
Kerry's letters were sent to fellow members of Congress and to the Pentagon while Majumder and his employees were donating money to the senator, court records show. During the three-year period, Kerry received about $25,000 from Majumder and his employees, according to Dwight L. Morris & Associates, which tracks campaign donations.
Court documents say the contractor told his employees they needed to make political contributions in order for him to gain influence with members of Congress. He then reimbursed them with proceeds from government contracts.
Federal prosecutors initially determined that $13,000 of the donations were illegally reimbursed, but they now say that nearly all of the money was tainted. They said there was no evidence Kerry or other members of Congress would have known that.
Asked what he did to repay the money, Kerry's campaign said Wednesday he had donated $13,000 to charity on Feb. 9 which was two days before Majumder's guilty plea.
Kerry's campaign said the candidate's actions had nothing to do with the campaign contributions. One of the subcontractors working on the guided missile project, Millitech Inc., was based in Northampton, Mass.
Campaign senior advisor Michael Meehan said Kerry was concerned that the military project was on hold and might jeopardize work for people in his home state.
"Kerry has made a career of going to bat for Massachusetts companies and bottlenecks they might have with the federal government. It's part of his job," Meehan said.
"It was a small company. It wasn't a big military firm that had all kinds of influence at the Pentagon."
Millitech specializes in the design, engineering and manufacture of components and systems needed in satellite communications, radar and remote sensing. According to a statement last year by the company, Millitech employs 80 people.
In the mid-1990s, Kerry visited the primary contractor in San Diego that Millitech had teamed up with on the guided missile project. And some employees at Science and Applied Technology attended a fundraiser for Kerry.
Kerry sent at least 21 letters to the secretary of the Navy, the secretary of Defense, the Defense Department comptroller and to members of the House and the Senate committees that control and finance military contracts.
Court files show Kerry had sent copies of some letters to seven other people.
All include Kerry's appeal that the project be funded, and each year, the letters seemed to produce results. The federal money followed.
"It obviously raises questions about whether the campaign contributions bought action from Kerry," said Steven Weiss, communications director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit research group in Washington that tracks the effect of money on elections and public policy.
"It also poses a situation that all elected officials face: raising questions about what effect, if any, campaign contributions have on the actions of lawmakers."
Last week Majumder, 52, pleaded guilty to two counts of illegal campaign contributions. He could be sentenced to six years in prison. The government dropped 38 other counts.
Majumder admitted giving illegal contributions to Kerry and Reps. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-San Diego), Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon), John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) and former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.), totaling more than $95,000. To settle a civil suit, Majumder has agreed to repay $3 million to the federal government.
U.S. Atty. Carol Lam, declining to be interviewed about the case or answer questions submitted in writing, issued a one-sentence response through a spokeswoman: "The investigation did not reveal any evidence that the elected officials were aware of Majumder's illegal activity."
Majumder, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in India, began working on the missile program in 1989 and established his company with a $50,000 grant from the federal government. Federal funding increased over time. But in 1996, the Defense Department proposed rescinding $35 million for the project and not funding it in the future.
Kerry joined with other senators to protest. Congress reinserted the money into the budget, but the Navy held onto the funds.
"Mr. Secretary, I ask that you advise me immediately on the grounds on which the Navy refuses to release these funds," Kerry wrote to then-Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton on Aug. 13, 1996.
"Development of this important program already has been delayed by the unnecessary delays in funding. This not only is resulting in our air forces being unable to benefit from the protection the AARGM has the potential to offer them, but also soon will require the contractor to terminate its personnel associated with this project."
In 1997, funding for the program was put on hold again. Kerry joined Sens. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Dianne Feinstein of California in writing to then-Undersecretary of Defense John Hamre on March 10, 1997.
"We would appreciate your informing us of the current status of the funding. If it is being held by your office, we request that you release it to the Navy for program execution as soon as possible."
The letter from the three Democrats seemed to work. On March 27, Hamre wrote back to say he had released the money.
Kerry wrote other letters to Republican and Democratic senators on the appropriations committee, asking that they include $55 million in the 1998 spending bill for "an important military research and development program that will greatly improve the self-protection capability of our close air support aircraft."
He wrote again in 1998, urging that senators give the program an additional $15 million.
Meehan, his campaign advisor, said Wednesday that Kerry felt that, as a Massachusetts lawmaker, he should question why the money was being held up.
"Congress had appropriated funds, but the Pentagon was slow to release the money. Kerry and others wrote to ask why," Meehan said, characterizing the letters as "the battle of the legislature vs. a particular branch of the government."
John Valkus, a close friend of Majumder, said the contractor turned to making political contributions "so he could play in the same league as the big boys: Lockheed and Raytheon."
"It's very hard for the little guy to get noticed," Valkus said. "If he had stayed with small components he would have been fine, but he wanted to do something big. He knew how the weapon-system prime contractor game is played."
But Majumder told his employees, subcontractors and friends that he would pay them back for their contributions, which is illegal. Some employees got bonuses, court records indicate.
One employee who gave Kerry two $1,000 contributions got two envelopes in return from Majumder each with 10 $100 bills, the indictment said.
Judy Sherman contributed $2,000 to Kerry at Majumder's request. Her husband was a subcontractor on the missile project.
"Part of your contract was he reimbursed you. It wasn't any money out of your pocket," she said. "You wouldn't keep your contract if you didn't do it."
She said she remembered having to go to a Kerry fundraiser because she was a Republican.
"My husband said, 'There's a lunch we have to go to.' I said, 'Who for?' He said Kerry. I said, 'Kerry?' He said, 'Yeah.' I said, 'Does Dr. Bob want us to?' He said, 'Yeah.' Basically that was it."
Majumder hired lobbyists in Washington, who advised him that it was smart politics to curry favor with both Republicans and Democrats.
One of the lobbyists was James Dykstra, the former deputy assistant Defense secretary for legislative affairs. Kerry's staff wrote to Dykstra in 1999, records show, sending him copies of all the correspondence the senator had with the committees that oversaw Majumder's project.
"I look forward to working with you on these and other issues of mutual interest,'' wrote Celes E. Hughes, Kerry's legislative assistant for defense and foreign policy.
The Majumder case isn't the first time that Kerry received tainted campaign money.
In September 1996, Taiwanese American entrepreneur Johnny Chung held a fundraiser for Kerry in Beverly Hills. He later pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign contributions, including $8,000 raised at the Beverly Hills event.
Kerry's Senate office arranged a high-level meeting for Chung at the Securities and Exchange Commission within a few days of the fundraiser.
The contract to Majumder's firm involved an effort to improve technology to allow missiles to destroy ground-based radar systems even after those systems have been switched off and are no longer emitting radiation.
Missiles now can be struck "dumb" and veer off course from their targets when radar-equipped anti-aircraft systems are turned off.
Knowing of this shortcoming of U.S. weaponry, adversaries, including Iraq under Saddam Hussein, use a "shoot and scoot" strategy of firing at U.S. warplanes and then rapidly moving their missile launchers.
The U.S. has long wanted a missile that will eliminate this threat to U.S. warplanes. By the mid-1990s, Majumder's project had gained a sympathetic hearing from two local members of Congress, both of whom specialize in matters of defense and military technology.
"He came up with an idea to solve a problem that the big boys [such as Lockheed and Raytheon] couldn't," said Hunter, now chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
Cunningham, a decorated Navy pilot in Vietnam, said the technology is crucial to saving the lives of pilots and ensuring the success of combat missions that include air strikes.
The Department of Defense has continued to fund the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile to Alliant Techsystems, the Minnesota defense firm that bought Majumder's company after the government began its investigation into illegal contributions. Work has continued and tests on the system are set for next year.