The following Executive Director’s report was submitted to the Commission at its January 16, 2016 board meeting at the Together Center in Redmond. The report covers a time period from November 22, 2015 to January 16, 2016. View in PDF format.

  • Budget: The Commission is operating within its current fiscal year budget of $222,000. The latest budget projections through November 30 show the agency will end the fiscal year with a balance of positive $1,800. However, future projections are anticipated to decrease to account for higher in-state air transportation costs due to changes in how the agency purchases air transportation. The Commission aims to have a projection of $1,000 or more to avoid overspending its state allocation due to unanticipated costs.


  • Accountability Audit: The Washington State Auditor’s Office has begun its accountability audit of the Commission for fiscal years 2014-2015. An Entrance Conference meeting was held with staff on Dec. 21. Vice Chair Dickinson represented Commissioners via conference call.

    The following areas will be included in the audit: disbursements, donations, travel, and payroll. Upon completion, the auditor will provide the Commission and public with three levels of reporting 1) Findings: Significant deficiencies and material weakness in internal controls; misappropriation; and material abuse or non-compliance with laws, regulations, or policies 2) Management Letters: Control deficiencies, non-compliance or abuse with a less-than-material effect (these are referenced, but not included in the audit report 3) Exit Items: Control deficiencies or non-compliance issues that have an insignificant or immaterial effect.

  • Washington Technology Solutions (WaTech): The Commission utilizes WaTech, which operates the state’s central network and data center, for many of our technology needs such as ListServ and email. WaTech also provides records retention support for email.

    On Aug. 18, the Commission submitted a new retention policy at the request of WaTech staff to switch over to a new email archival system, Virtual Vault. Two months later, on Oct. 19, Commission staff discovered that emails were missing from Outlook that were not consistent with normal operations. Staff immediately contacted WaTech and submitted a help desk ticket on Oct. 19. WaTech staff began troubleshooting efforts and then met with the director on Nov. 2 to report that 28,089 items from the Commission’s email records were inadvertently deleted from approximately August 24, 2013 to March 29, 2015.

    The Commission requested and obtained a letter from WaTech documenting the matter that the deletion of records was inadvertent. The letter was reviewed by our liaison at the Attorney General’s Office. Since the agency was not currently subject to a Public Records Act request or litigation, and the records were inadvertently deleted, courts would generally not penalize state agencies in this situation. This information and a copy of the letter were also communicated to staff from the State Auditor’s Office conducting an accountability audit of the Commission.

  • CAPAA/ACLF Fellowship: The Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation (ACLF) are pleased to announce the selection of the 2016 fellows, Bronson Purcell and Seungkyul Joseph Park.


  • Legislative Session: The 2016 regular session convened on January 11 and is scheduled to adjourn on March 10. The Commission has begun sending out regular e-mail newsletters about upcoming public hearings and items of interest to the public. Visit to sign up.

    Gov. Inslee gave his State of the State address before a joint session of the legislature on January 12 and identified four priorities to accomplish during the session:

    1. Address a serious statewide teacher shortage by raising beginning teacher salaries and providing a 1 percent raise to all other teachers;
    2. Cover the costs for last year’s record-setting wildfires including supporting recovery efforts in communities and preparing for the next fire season;
    3. Continue to reinvest in the mental health system that was devastated by budget cuts during the great recession; and
    4. Pass a framework for future K-12 education investments.


  • Community Connections: Staff met with numerous community leaders and community-based organizations to hear about issues and concerns facing their unique communities. When necessary, casework and policy issues are brought to the attention of the Governor’s Office, federal agencies, state agencies, legislative members, and municipalities.
    • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC): Leaders from APIC will travel to Olympia on January 26 for APA Legislative Day to meet with the governor and legislators about issues of concern. Although APIC is not holding a large rally in Olympia this session, there will be community briefings across Washington that will inform meetings on APA Legislative Day. Pierce County APIC will hold its community briefing on January 20 at noon at Asia Pacific Cultural Center. King County APIC will meet at 5:30 PM on January 21 at Asian Counseling and Referral Service. Snohomish APIC will meet January 22 at 1 PM at Everett Community College.
    • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Advocating Together for Health Communities (APICAT): APICAT submitted a Letter of Intent to the Department of Health to apply for the Youth Marijuana Education Prevention Fund for priority populations.
    • Budget & Policy Center’s Budget Matters Summit: Staff participated on a panel discussion about racial equity in policymaking and budget decisions. Staff highlighted the importance of data disaggregation in ensuring inequities are uncovered and addressed.
    • Racial Equity Team: Staff met with members from the RET to learn about its legislative priorities to improve racial equity.
    • Sikh Coalition: CAPAA and the Sikh Coalition met with OSPI’s Safety Center Supervisor and staff from Equity & Civil Rights Office to raise concerns facing Sikh students in school around harassment, intimidation, and bullying. The Coalition and CAPAA are seeking opportunities to raise the awareness of school staff about the concerns.
    • Tri-County Refugee Planning Committee: Members received a briefing from the Unemployment Law Project, which helps limited English proficient clients navigate the state’s unemployment system.
    • Community Events: Staff attended numerous community events to connect with constituents and learn about community issues and concerns. Events included the Northwest Asian Weekly Top Contributors Dinner, Khmer American: Naga Sheds Its Skin Opening at the Wing Luke, Gurung Lhosar Celebration, and 9th Annual Korean American Day Celebration.
  • Federal Outreach: The Commission continues to maintain relationships with federal agencies to stay apprised of policies impacting the Asian and Pacific Islander communities in our state.
    • White House Initiative on AAPIs (Initiative): Staff and Commissioners are working with the Initiative to host an education roundtable on January 30 in Seattle.
  • Agency Outreach: Staff continues to connect with members of the Commission’s Asian Pacific American State Agency Liaison Network (APASAL Network). These check-ins serve as an important way to cover current policies and programs for the AAPI community, partnership opportunities, assistance requests, recommendations, and policy issues with state agencies.
    • Department of Commerce: Chair Tufono and three community leaders represent the Commission on the department’s Minority Business Roundtable, which convened on Dec. 4. Members met with staff to learn about various programs and services, including the Small Business Credit Initiative and Export Vouchers, to support small business and promote economic development. Members will be doing a deeper dive on select programs to improve access and opportunities for the Roundtable’s stakeholders.
    • Department of Health: The Ethnic Commissions met with DOH staff in response to a letter of concern regarding marijuana public education. The Commissions and DOH discussed ways to work more closely together and plan a follow up meeting with County officials.

      The department released the Washington State Suicide Prevention Plan to reduce the state’s suicide rate, which is 11 percent higher than the national average. More than 5,000 people have died by suicide from 2010 to 2014.

      The Commission’s proposed changes to the next Healthy Youth Survey have been approved. The survey will allow students to choose from among seven Asian sub-population options. This information will provide health departments, schools, and researchers a better picture of the unique needs among the diverse Asian American communities. The Commission will continue to work on solutions to improve data collection for Pacific Islanders and further disaggregation of Asian Americans.

      The Commission received approval of its proposed change to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System; however, one additional review is pending. The proposal would add Cambodian/Khmer to its list of Asian sub-population choices for respondents. The survey currently includes six Asian ethnicities and three for Pacific Islanders.

    • Department of Labor and Industries: Staff attended the first convening of the Language Access Advisory Committee to learn about LNI’s implementation of its language access policy and plan. LNI will utilize a complaint hotline and independent staff to review and solve issues regarding language access.
    • Department of Licensing: The Dept. of Homeland Security announced that Washington will have until January 2018 to fully comply with REAL ID, which will require legislative action.
    • Department of Social and Health Services: Staff presented about the Commission and its work at the January SPE Policy Consortium meeting.
    • Department of Transportation: Earl Key will serve as the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity beginning February 1.

      Staff connected with the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Support Services Program to learn about how it supports DBEs and discussed ways to reach out to API communities.

    • Emergency Management Division: CAPAA and CHA chairs sent a letter urging for the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan to address the needs of limited English proficient communities in regards to emergency preparation and response.
    • Health Care Authority: Staff communicated concerns it heard at its November meeting regarding health equity for Pacific Islanders from the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau. The HCA is assisting CAPAA in obtaining more information about the population size in Washington state.

      Staff participated on the Communities & Equity Health Innovation Leadership Network Accelerator Committee, which is a part of the Healthier Washington initiative. Staff recommended the committee prioritize collection of disaggregated data to better inform policymakers and address hidden inequities.

    • Human Rights Commission: HRC completed its rule-making process and published new administrative rules for sexual orientation and gender identity in Washington State’s Law Against Discrimination. A new chapter, 162-32, is added for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity issues, and additional sections are amended to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.
    • Office of Education Ombuds: Carrie Griffin Basas, director of OEO, will be presenting to the Commission at its January board meeting.
    • Office of the Governor: A summit on race and equity involving state agencies, local government, and community stakeholders will take place on April 15 at Cascadia College in Bothell.

      Reducing Gun Crime and Suicide: The governor signed an Executive Order that launches a statewide public health initiative to reduce and prevent gun-related fatalities and injuries. The order uses the same data-driven approach that has significantly reduced motor vehicle deaths over the past two decades. The initiative will help the state understand the people and places most at risk of gun violence or suicide, determine the best approaches to reducing gun violence and work with its partners to develop strategies and actions to prevent gun violence.

    • Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction: Staff attended meetings for the Attendance Communications Workgroup to discuss chronic absenteeism in the K-12 system and develop a communications strategy.
    • State Board for Community & Technical Colleges: Staff discussed collection and reporting of AAPI disaggregated data including utilization of the data to improve student outcomes. SBCTC has pledged to begin reporting “Asian” and “Pacific Islander” as two separate categories and will recommend that the CTCs report this way.


  • Board Meetings: The next board meeting is on March 19 at Tacoma Community House. The Commission’s 2016 board meeting schedule is posted at


  • Education:
    • Asian American and Pacific Islander Voices in Education Initiative: The Commission continues to support grassroots efforts that were launched during the Asian American and Pacific Islander Voices in Education Initiative.

      Southeast Asian American Education Coalition (SEAeD): The SEAeD Council met in early January to discuss its involvement with the UW SE Asian Advisory Committee, efforts to support closing the opportunity gaps, and its 2016 work plan.

    • Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee (EOGOAC): Sili Savusa and former Commissioner Frieda Takamura are the Commission’s lead representatives on the EOGOAC. Takamura presented the EOGOAC’s 2016 recommendations at a work session before the House Education Committee on Jan. 12 and will update the Commission at its January board meeting.
    • Education Roundtable: The Education Committee is planning an education roundtable on January 30 in Seattle. Members of the public will have the opportunity to share and address their concerns regarding the impacts of student discipline on communities of color with representatives from the U.S. Department of Education, the state Office of the Education Ombuds, OSPI, and other stakeholders.
    • National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE): The Commission and CARE will continue its partnership to advance the iCount: Equity through Representation movement in the state. The CARE team is planning a new report in 2016 about the transition between K-12 and higher education.
    • Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program (TBIP) Accountability Task Force: Dr. Julie Kang, Director of Professional Learning at the University of Washington, represented the Commission on the task force, which concluded its meetings in December. A final report will be submitted to the Legislature in January. More information is available at
  • Health and Human Services:
    • Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities: Commissioner Lori Wada is CAPAA’s representative on the Council. The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 10 in Tumwater.
    • Health Equity for COFA migrants: The Commission has made this issue a top priority and will work with community members and state agencies to improve health equity for migrants from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.
    • Mental Health: Staff attended planning meetings for an API Mental Health Summit that will take place at the University of Washington on Feb. 20. The summit aims to destigmatize mental health in API communities. Staff is assisting in making community connections for facilitators and resources.
    • Preventing Underage Marijuana Use: All of the Commission’s requested translations of the marijuana fact cards have been finalized except for Tongan, which is in the works. The public can order copies online at or contact CAPAA for assistance.
  • Economic Development:
    • Business Diversity Subcabinet: Gov. Inslee convened a subcabinet focused on increasing access for small and minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses to contracting opportunities with Washington state government. The Commission is a member of the subcabinet and is responsible for supporting transparency, reporting, and communication with the community. The next phase of the effort is beginning, including work to conduct a statewide disparity study.
    • Joint Transportation Committee: The JTC requested the Commission’s assistance to find a community perspective regarding minority business contracting in the transportation sector. The Commission selected Frank Irigon from OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates-Greater Seattle Chapter. Irigon expressed concerns about the lack of utilization of funding to support minority small businesses in the transportation sector and ensuring prime contractors are fulfilling their contracts with minority business sub-contractors.
    • Results Washington: CAPAA is participating on the Prosperous Economy Goal Council. One of the goals is to increase access for small and minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses to contracting opportunities with Washington state government. The Goal Council is scheduled to conduct a Results Review with the Governor on Feb. 24.