8 AAPI RFS Candidates Running in 2023
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the country’s fastest-growing demographic, and the least represented in all levels of government. That has to change, and it starts with young AAPI progressives running for state and local office. Below, we have eight Run for Something candidates doing just that — read more about them and their political journeys below:
Aurin Chowdhury — Minneapolis City Council, Ward 12
Aurin is a first-generation Bengali-American, the daughter of working-class immigrants, organizer, renter, and experienced policy aide. She is running to fight for working families, deliver progressive change, and work collaboratively to move the city forward. Aurin grew up on the Southside, went to Minneapolis Public Schools, and developed a deep appreciation for the community. She has always been passionate about public service and community building because she believes that the community has the power to create the world they deserve. She has experience challenging the status quo through organizing, fighting alongside workers, and supporting progressive candidates for public office.
Read more about Aurin here.
Hwa Jeong Kim — Saint Paul City Council, Ward 5
Hwa Jeong is a Korean American non-profit executive director, organizer, former Legislative Aide, and resident of Saint Paul’s North End. She is running for Ward 5 in Saint Paul because she believes in a city that prioritizes healthy homes, community safety, clean air, neighborhood jobs, and transportation options that meet residents’ changing needs. Hwa Jeong has previously served Ward 5 residents on the Saint Paul Planning Commission and its Zoning Committee, where she represented shared values. During her tenure as a Legislative Aide, she fought for progressive policies that protect marginalized neighbors and organized with communities to achieve them.
Read more about Hwa Jeong here.
Darwin Leuba — Allegheny County, County Controller
Darwin is the current Auditor of O’Hara Township in Pennsylvania and has been in office since 2017. He has a proven track record of uncovering tax evasion schemes, particularly by exposing University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s private parking lot tax evasion that amounted to millions of dollars.
Darwin has also been successful in his efforts to demand greater transparency in contract compliance, winning 13 cases against the current County Controller. Darwin is a second-generation Taiwanese American who graduated from Fox Chapel Area High School and earned a degree in Computer Science from Yale.
Read more about Darwin here.
Katrina Eames — Bellevue School Board
Katrina, a School Board Director for Northgate School District, has a strong commitment to the Northgate community. As a graduate of Northgate High School in 2012, they were asked to fill a vacant seat on the School Board a decade later. Katrina stepped up to serve the community and prioritize the well-being of Northgate students. With a unique perspective as an alumni, community organizer, queer person of color, and someone who grew up in the disability justice movement, Katrina brings a fresh approach to the school board.
Read more about Katrina here.
Neil Makhija — Montgomery County Commissioner
Neil is an election lawyer and voting rights advocate running for Commissioner in Montgomery County, which has a population larger than four states. As a Commissioner, he would oversee 3,000 county employees and a $500M budget, as well as manage the Board of Elections in Pennsylvania’s third-largest county, a critical role at a time when voting rights are under attack.
Born to immigrant parents, Neil earned a scholarship to Harvard Law School after working in the Obama White House. Neil is running for the seat formerly held by PA Governor Josh Shapiro, and if elected, he would be the first Indian American or AAPI Commissioner in the entire Commonwealth.
Read more about Neil here.
Adele McClure — Virginia House, District 2
Adele, a fierce advocate for vulnerable populations, is the daughter of a resilient early childhood educator and a Filipino immigrant who served in the U.S. Army. She grew up in Northern Virginia where she experienced poverty and periodic homelessness, an experience that has shaped her into the dedicated community activist she is today. Through her activism and lived experiences, Adele has worked with advocates and members of the Virginia General Assembly to draft, pass, and implement legislation that breaks down systemic barriers, expands human rights, and improves access to services for people in Arlington and across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Read more about Adele here.
Irene Shin — Virginia House, District 8
As the first Korean-American woman to serve in the Virginia General Assembly, Irene takes pride in her immigrant roots. In Richmond, she advocates for a fair economy that benefits all Virginians, affordable healthcare, a greener environment, increased funding for public education, and a democracy that includes all communities. Irene serves on the Committees of Counties, Cities and Towns, and Communications, Technology and Innovation, as well as on the Commission on Youth. Irene, her husband Peter, and their goldendoodle, Mookie, reside in the Town of Herndon.
Read more about Irene here.
Suhas Subramanyam — Virginia Senate, District 32
Suhas is a lawyer and businessperson who serves as a representative for Loudoun County in the Virginia General Assembly. In 2019, he became the first person of South Asian or Indian heritage ever elected in Virginia at the state or federal level. Previously, he worked as a White House technology policy advisor for President Obama. He is a co-founder and co-Chair of the Commonwealth Caucus, a Member of the Virginia Small Business Commission, co-Founder of the Virginia Minority Business Commission, co-Founder of the Virginia AAPI Caucus, and a Member of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science.
Read more about Suhas here.
Run for Something is committed to supporting candidates from underrepresented communities running for state and local office. If that is something you identify with, consider running for office. We can help you — sign up at runforwhat.net.