AAPI leaders organize reception for Maryland Democrats ahead of 2018 election

The reception was co-hosted by Maryland Democratic Party AAPI Leaders Bel Leong-Hong, Devang Shah, and Dipak Thakker.

Prominent Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) gathered in Bethesda on July 24 to celebrate the cultural, economic and political contributions of the AAPI community and to hear from state and national Democratic Party officials.

The reception was organized by AAPI leaders one year ahead of the 2018 election took place at a private home of prominent Maryland business owner, Mei Xu, co-founder and CEO of Chesapeake Bay Candle, which manufactures in Glen Burnie, Maryland.

The reception was co-hosted by Maryland Democratic Party AAPI Leaders Bel Leong-Hong, Devang Shah, and Dipak Thakker.

Headlined by special guest Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Congresswoman Grace Meng, the event honored the eight members of the Maryland Legislative AAPI Caucus, including Senator Susan Lee and Delegates Kumar Barve, Mark Chang. Jay Jalisi, Clarence Lam, Aruna Miller, David Moon, and Kris Valderrama.

Maryland Democratic Party leaders Bel Leong-Hong, Devang Shah, and Dipak Thakker, co-hosted the event.

“I am honored and excited to join Maryland Democrats to celebrate the many achievements and contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to our nation. Democrats are committed to tackling key issues important to the AAPI community; issues that will move our nation forward such as immigration reform, education, health care, creating jobs and helping small businesses,” Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Congresswoman Grace Meng said. “I thank the Maryland State Democratic Party and Chairwoman Kathleen Matthews for organizing this event, and I look forward to a terrific evening.”

“Maryland’s AAPI community through their hard work and talent have contributed much to the political and economic vitality and cultural richness of America, and we must play an important role in shaping the future of our state,” State Senator Susan Lee (D-Montgomery) said. “Our community has one of the fastest rates of growth across the nation and it’s critical that we have a strong voice standing up for our priorities in the political process.”

Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews said, “Democrats are united with Maryland’s AAPI community to promote individual opportunity and ensure that families can succeed in our society.” She added, “That’s why Democrats are fighting to level the playing-field to support small business owners, improve public schools, pass comprehensive immigration reform, protect civil rights and make sure health care is affordable to all. With Republicans like Donald Trump and Governor Larry Hogan threatening to undo the Democratic policies that help so many Maryland families do well in our society, it’s critical that all Marylanders get involved now more than ever.”

Touting his Democratic roots, Mei Xu, who opened her Glen Burnie factory six years as a part of an initiative to “make in it America” said, “As a Chinese American immigrant, I am a proud Democrat who has been able to build my business here in Maryland, and I support the policies that enabled my success and can help other immigrants realize the American dream.”

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