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California Labor Secretary Julie Su. Photo: Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) lawmakers are pushing for President-elect Biden to nominate California Labor Secretary Julie Su to head the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why it matters: Biden has been pulled in multiple directions by different stakeholders as he looks to follow through on appointing the “single-most diverse” Cabinet in U.S. history. AAPI lawmakers have escalated their calls in recent weeks, with Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) on Friday urging Biden to include an AAPI Cabinet secretary.

What they're saying: "Including an AAPI at this highest level of government, as Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump have done, is a recognition of the AAPI community’s impact and contributions to our nation," Chu, who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), said in a statement.

  • “Secretary Su has exemplified her fervent commitment to tirelessly fighting for justice on behalf of the poor, the disenfranchised, and the vulnerable,” Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) wrote in a letter to Biden, signed by 14 other members of Congress, earlier this week.
  • Su would make "an exceptional leader" as labor secretary, Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) tweeted Wednesday. "Zero #AAPI Cabinet Secretaries in his administration would be a disappointment for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders."
  • AAPI advocacy groups, immigration and labor organizations and women’s rights groups have also backed Su for labor secretary.

But some say the position needs someone with deeper roots in Washington, Politico reports.

  • Biden is also considering Patrick Gaspard, among others, for the position.
  • Gaspard, who will leave his position as president of the Open Society Foundations at the end of the year, was director of the White House Office of Political Affairs under former President Obama.

Context: Biden courted AAPI voters in the month leading up to the election, promising visibility and representation.

  • AAPI voter turnout jumped significantly this year, especially in critical swing states like Georgia, according to the Washington Post.
  • "Asian American leaders express pride in [Vice President-elect Kamala] Harris’s historic election, but they also chafe at the idea that her presence might give the transition team a pass on naming other AAPIs to Cabinet positions," the Post notes.

Go deeper

Dec 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Tale of two Cabinets: Biden vs Trump

Here's a side-by-side look at President-elect Biden's Cabinet so far, paired with President Trump's debut Cabinet from 2017.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 6 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.