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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.

Go deeper

Updated Apr 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden accepts Pelosi's invitation to address Congress in late April

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden has accepted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's invitation to address a joint session of Congress on April 28, the White House confirmed Tuesday night

Why it matters: This will be Biden's first speech to both the House and Senate since taking office.

Pelosi's Republican playbook

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Republicans fight among themselves, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is showing the myriad ways she deals with the GOP herself.

Between the lines: We've seen Pelosi cut opponents off at the knees, like she did with President Trump, or pretend to forget their names, as she did to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Now she's feeding oppo research against her House counterpart, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), so others can use the same harsh rhetoric to frame the Republicans as the party of dysfunction.

Exclusive: Houston mayor to lead Black mayors group

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks during a private funeral for George Floyd. Photo: Godofredo A. Vásquez/Pool/Getty Images

The mayor of the city where George Floyd was raised is taking over a group that represents 500 Black mayors in the U.S. amid national pressure to revamp police departments.

Why it matters: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will become the new president of the African American Mayors Association as municipalities across the country examine police reforms and deal with the economic fallout from the pandemic.

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