Updated Apr 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden names Erika Moritsugu as senior AAPI liaison

Picture of Erika Moritsugu
Erika Moritsugu. Photo courtesy: National Partnership for Women & Families

President Biden has named Erika Moritsugu as deputy assistant to the president and Asian American and Pacific Islander senior liaison, the White House announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: The decision follows weeks of pressure from AAPI leaders to include more Asian American representation at the Cabinet level and in senior administration roles.

  • Last month, Democratic Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) threatened to oppose Biden's "non-diversity" nominees unless he made a commitment to appoint AAPI voices in senior executive branch positions.

Details: Moritsugu, the vice president at the National Partnership for Women & Families, will be responsible for outreach to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

  • "Moritsugu will bring her experience and expertise to the Biden-Harris Administration where she will be a vital voice to advance the President and the Administration’s priorities," the White House said in a statement.

What they're saying: "I applaud President Biden for swiftly addressing my concerns and creating a new senior-level AAPI liaison position at the White House," Duckworth said in a statement Wednesday.

  • "I know first-hand that President Biden will benefit from her counsel, policy expertise and strong relationship-building skills, especially as his Administration seeks to make sure AAPI leaders are present at the highest levels of government."

Background: Moritsugu has previous experience in the federal government and on Capitol Hill, including serving as general counsel to Duckworth and as deputy legislative director to former Senator Danny Akaka (D-Hawaii), CBS News reports.

  • She was also an assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama administration.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with Sen. Duckworth's statement.

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