About the Commission

The Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs is a state agency with an advisory board of 12 commissioners who are appointed by the governor to be a voice for Washington’s diverse Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.

Our mission is to improve the lives of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander in Washington State by ensuring their access to participation in the fields of government, business, education, and other areas (Chapter 43.117 RCW). We work in partnership with our communities and state leaders to respond to concerns and bring about positive change and long-term solutions. Our staff and commissioners:

  • Ensure community voices are heard in state government.
  • Inform communities about laws and policies that affect their well-being.
  • Advocate for policies and services that support the unique needs of our communities.

Agency Rules

CAPAA Administrative Policies October 23′

Focus Areas

  • Civil Rights & Justice: Advocate for racial equity and civil rights, including justice for immigrants and refugees.
  • Education: Develop strategies to ensure every child has access to a quality education that values diversity and mutual respect.
  • Health & Human Services: Promote solutions to improve access to quality, affordable, and culturally-appropriate health and social services.
  • Economic Development: Increase opportunities to participate in entrepreneurship and the workforce.


In order to meet its mission, the Commission serves several functions and roles. Among them are:

  • Research and analysis: To examine and define issues pertaining to the rights and needs of ANHPIs, and make recommendations to the governor, legislators, and state agencies with respect to desirable changes in program and law.
  • Advisory and Advocacy: To advise the Governor and state and local public officials on the development and implementation of comprehensive and coordinated policies, plans, and programs focusing on the special problems and needs of ANHPIs.
  • Education: To educate ANHPI communities about laws, programs, and policies that affect its well-being.
  • Conduit and consultant: To make government more accessible by serving as a conduit and consultant between ANHPI communities and state agencies.
  • Resource: To serve as a resource through research and educational materials, technical assistance, agency referrals, casework, and community forums.

Informational Brochures

The Commission produced and printed informational brochures that are translated into the following Asian and Pacific Islander languages.



Due to pervasive discrimination and barriers in accessing government services, a group of local Asian American and Pacific Islander community activists met with the Governor in 1971 to examine a broad range of issues facing the AAPI population in the areas of employment, education, social services, community development, immigration, and civil rights.

In January 1972, Governor Dan Evans created The Governor’s Asian Advisory Council by executive order. On February 26, 1974, the 43rd Washington State Legislature formally created The Washington State Commission on Asian American Affairs as a state agency. On April 17, 1995, Governor Mike Lowry signed a bill to change the Commission’s name to The State of Washington Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs to include Pacific Islanders.

45thAnniversary Photographs by Sam Le

45th Anniversary Event Program Booklet (PDF)

45th Anniversary News Stories:

40th Anniversary Event Program Booklet (PDF)

  • Greeting messages from President Obama and Governor Jay Inslee
  • History of the Commission
  • List of Directors, staff, and Commissioners

40th Anniversary photographs byEugene Tagawa