Executive Director’s report to the Commission covering activities, progress, and updates from March 18 to June 16, 2018.


  • Budget: The Commission’s projected ending balance on June 30 is $3,000. Other fund sources total $15,478. The Commission will begin a new fiscal year on July 1, 2018.
  • Board Meetings: The Commission will convene next on September 15 in Spokane, WA.
  • Ruth Woo Fellow: The Governor’s Office and the Commission have selected Olyvia Salter as this year’s Ruth Woo Fellow. Olyvia will participate in the Governor’s Leadership Academy during the summer of 2018 and meet with leaders connected to the late Ruth Woo’s work.
  • Commissioners: Governor Inslee appointed Sina Sam to serve on the Commission. Commissioner Sam represents Whitman County and is a 1.5 generation Cambodian American. The Commission is grateful to Commissioner Lakshmi Gaur and Commissioner Roslyn Leon Guerrero for their service to the community. They will conclude their service as Commissioners this month. The Commission recently completed recruitment for one position and will begin a new process for the other position soon.
  • New Office: The Commission moved to a new office, located at 1110 Capitol Way South, Suite 220, Olympia, WA 98501, due to the closure of the General Administration Building.


The Commission advises and collaborates with policy- and decision-makers in government and community-based organizations to achieve its 2015-18 Strategic Plan. Activities include examining and defining issues, informing and empowering stakeholders, and formulating and advocating solutions.

Education: Close the educational opportunity gaps that impact Asian Pacific American students.

  • Early Learning Advisory Council: The Council met in April and June to discuss its 2018 work plan, hear from the Department of Children, Youth, and Families’ Office of Innovation, Alignment and Accountability, and receive an update on standards alignment.
  • Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee: The EOGOAC met in March and April on Feb. 20 to hear about issues such as training for new school board members and the Professional Educator Standards Board equity initiative. Co-Chair Sili Savusa and Frieda Takamura are CAPAA’s lead representatives. The next meeting is June 19 in Renton.
  • WSSDA Equity Conference: Staff and Commissioner Dinh attended the conference to learn how the education system is adopting strategies to improve equity and access and improve outcomes for students.

Health & Human Services: Identify health disparity issues specific to the Asian Pacific American community and support identification and promotion of solutions.

  • Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention: Members are working together to develop a funding proposal for the next state budget.
  • Council on Health Disparities: The Council met at Asia Pacific Cultural Center on May 10 and invited APCC and CAPAA to present about their efforts to improve the lives of AAPIs. Commissioner Wada is the Commission’s representative on the Council. Their next meeting is September 13.
  • Health Equity for COFA communities: Substitute Senate Bill 5683 was signed by the Governor on March 22 in Olympia before COFA community members, legislators, and advocates. The bill signing ceremony was covered by TVW and Spokane media.The Health Care Authority convened the first meeting of the COFA Advisory Committee in May to collaborate with COFA community members on implementation. A webpage is now available at hca.wa.gov with more details about the new COFA Islander Health Care Program.

Economic Development: Support Asian Pacific American business owners and those seeking to start and maintain a business with the knowledge, tools, and resources required to be successful.

  • Liquor and Cannabis Board: A restaurateur contacted the Commission about challenges in obtaining a liquor license due to outdated regulations. LCB received the concern and changed the requirements for a “complete meal” to no longer require a side dish and expanded the list of entrée examples to better reflect the state’s diversity.


The Commission meets with community leaders, community-based organizations, and coalitions to hear about issues and concerns and promote solutions. When necessary, casework and policy issues are brought to the attention of the Governor’s Office, federal and state agencies, legislative members, and municipalities.

  • API Heritage Month Celebration: APDC hosted its annual celebration at the Seattle Center on May 6. CAPAA staff and Commissioners attended and tabled at the event to engage community members.
  • Green Card Reforms: Staff met with local advocates seeking reforms to reduce wait times for residents seeking a Green Card. CAPAA connected the community members to the Attorney General’s Office.
  • Asian Pacific Directors Coalition: The Coalition convened in April and June to hear presentations regarding Seattle Public Schools, City of Seattle’s Families and Education Levy, Best Starts for Kids, and the King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight’s report by the Brechner Center. The next meeting is Sept. 12.
  • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition: APIC convened to discuss implementation of Initiative 940, legislative updates, and federal policy changes and met with Michael Byun, the next executive director of Asian Counseling and Referral Service.
  • COFA Communities: Chair Tufono-Chaussee attended a community event in Spokane with the Governor in April to celebrate the passage of SSB 5683 and meet with COFA community members.
  • Korean Women’s Association: CAPAA and KWA discussed ways to promote mental health awareness during Mental Health Awareness in Communities of Color Month in July.
  • Community Events: Staff attended numerous community events to connect with constituents and learn about community issues and concerns. Events included the Refugee Women’s Alliance Raise the Roof Celebration, Honoring Higher Education Leaders, FilVetRep ceremonies in Olympia and Renton, Rainier Valley Community Development Fund Annual Meeting, and the WA Mental Health Summit.


The Commission maintains relationships with state agencies and local and federal government to learn about programs and services that may impact AAPIs. The Commission advises and makes recommendations to government agencies on the development and implementation of policies, plans, and programs to support the unique needs of AAPI communities.

  • Department of Children, Youth, and Families: Staff received an update on the progress of launching the new agency and discussed strategies to support equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Department of Commerce: Inslee approved 139 census tracts in 36 counties for “Opportunity Zone” status, enabling them to offer special federal tax breaks to encourage development and job creation. CAPAA worked with the agency to engage stakeholders during the process. Visit www.commerce.wa.gov to see a map of designated Opportunity Zones.
  • Department of Licensing: Inslee appointed Teresa Berntsen as director of the Department of Licensing effective July 1. Berntsen is currently the director of the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises where she led the state’s efforts in increasing diversity in state procurements.
  • Department of Social & Health Services: Staff met with Justin Chan, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Administrator in the Developmental Disabilities Administration to learn more about their programs and services and how their work intersects with CAPAA and AAPI communities.Staff met with Economic Services Administration to discuss ways to improve language access and customer service for limited English proficient communities.
  • Office of the Education Ombuds: Results Washington and OEO facilitated a training to increase awareness of disability issues and how to make meetings more accessible.
  • University of Washington – Tacoma: Staff met with Patrick Pow, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology, to learn about the campus’ efforts to support first generation and underserved communities and share CAPAA’s work to close opportunity gaps.