The following Executive Director’s report was submitted to the Commission at its March 18, 2017, board meeting at the City Hall in Lynnwood. The report covers a time period from January 22 to March 17, 2017. View in PDF format.


  • Budget: The Commission is operating within its current fiscal year budget of $231,000. The projected ending balance on June 30, 2017, is $1,231. The non-state allocation amount is $17,906, which reflects a $200 sponsorship of the upcoming Asians Collaborating Together Conference.


  • 2017-19 Budget: The Commission is awaiting the outcome of the 2017 legislative session regarding its funding request to conduct an AAPI needs assessment and expanded statewide outreach.


  • Legislative Session: The 2017-19 regular session is more than half-way through and is scheduled to conclude on April 23.
  • Ethnic Legislative Reception: More than 250 community members joined commissioners and representatives from tribal communities to meet the governor, lieutenant governor, and other public officials on February 7 in Olympia. Information was provided about the commissions and state agency programs and services.
  • Day of Remembrance: The Legislature observed the Day of Remembrance on February 15. Governor Inslee greeted veterans, JACL and community members, and legislators at a reception to reflect on and remember the impact of the signing of Executive Order 9066 in 1942. Commissioner Gurung and staff attended on behalf of CAPAA.
  • APA Legislative Day: More than 1,700 APAs from across the state rallied in Olympia on February 23 to engage with their legislators and the governor about budget and policy concerns. The event was organized by the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition. Commissioners Gaur and Nguyen attended.


  • 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 Directors Coalition (APDC): Members of APDC recently convened for a strategic planning retreat and brainstormed priorities for 2017.
    • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC): APIC chapters are continuing to advocate for their 2017 legislative agenda, which includes policy and budget priorities to support APA immigrants, refugees, residents, and citizens.
    • Internship in honor of Ruth Woo: Former Seattle City Council member Dolores Sibonga and former CAPAA Director Ellen Abellera are working to honor the late Ruth Woo, who impacted state politics for decades and mentored governors and other elected leaders. Dolores and Ellen would like to create internship opportunities for local and state governments to continue Ruth’s efforts to open doors and foster diversity in government.
    • Korean American Hotel Association: Staff from the Department of Labor & Industries attended an association meeting and answered questions from members. LNI is working to increase outreach and awareness of its services to assist business owners.
    • Northwest Association of Pacific Americans: Staff attended the NAPA meeting on March 13 and gave updates about legislation impacting Pacific Islanders this session.
    • Radio Hankook: Commissioner Wada’s twice a month program on Korean language radio informs listeners about state government programs and services, which recently featured Department of Health, Office of the Education Ombuds, and Labor & Industries.
    • Republic of the Marshall Islands Ambassador to the United States: Staff attended a meeting with the Honorable Gerald Zackios to learn about nationwide efforts to support the Marshallese community. Staff provided an update on legislation to create a premium assistance program for COFA Islanders.
    • Tri-County Refugee Planning Committee: Staff attended the March 9 meeting to hear a “Know Your Rights” presentation from OneAmerica, issues interacting with the Department of Licensing, and an update from the DSHS Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance. In the fiscal year 2016, Washington state settled 3,907 refugees.
    • Community Events: Staff attended numerous community events to connect with constituents and learn about community issues and concerns. Events included the OCA Golden Circle Awards, Seattle Chinese Culture & Arts Association Lunar New Year Celebration, Asia Pacific Cultural Center 19th Annual New Year Celebration, Asian American Engineer of the Year, the Center for Asian Pacific American Women Meet & Greet, and a Peace Vigil in honor of Srinivas Kuchibhotla.
  • 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 Minority Business Roundtable. The Roundtable met on March 17 to discuss the department’s Collateral Support Program.
    • Department of Health: The 2016 Healthy Youth Survey results were released on March 15. The survey was taken by more than 230,000 teens across the state last fall. In addition, the CDC released the first Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander National Health Interview Survey.
    • Department of Labor and Industries: Staff met with the department’s new outreach director, Uriel Iniguez, and discussed strategies to reach out to API communities. In addition, the Language Access Advisory Committee convened on March 3 to hear updates on and discuss language access outreach strategies and activities.
    • Emergency Management Department: The Whole Community Subcommittee convened for a briefing on the ADA Toolkit and to discuss its 2017-2018 work plan.
    • Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation & Assistance: The Small Business Liaison Team released their 2016 Annual Report last month. The SBLT updates and maintains the state Small Business Guide, which is available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
    • Office of Education Ombuds: Staff met with Director Basas and Lua Pritchard, executive director of Asia Pacific Cultural Center, to discuss opportunities to connect with Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans and inform them about OEO’s programs and services.
    • Office of Homelessness Youth Prevention & Protection: Governor Inslee is establishing an Interagency Workgroup on Youth Homelessness and has invited the Commission to participate in developing strategies to prevent youth from experiencing homelessness.
    • Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises: Director Berntsen provided an update on the Diversity Subcabinet Workgroup’s efforts to develop effective ways to measure progress and launch best practices that can be shared across the enterprise.
    • Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction: An advisory committee is being convened on March 20 to begin work on the AAPI Data Disaggregation Initiative grant, which aims to utilize disaggregated data to close opportunity gaps for AAPI English learners and increase AAPI school and family partnerships.


  • Board Meetings: The Commission’s 2017 board meeting schedule is posted at The Commission will be convening a special meeting on May 6 for the purpose of holding a board retreat. The meeting is open to the public. The next regular board meeting will occur on June 17. The locations for both meetings will be posted on the website and via the Commission’s email newsletter.


  • Education:
    • Asian American Studies at UW: The University of Washington is in the process of filling two faculty positions in the Asian American Studies (AAS) program. The Commission and community leaders will be sending the UW a follow-up letter regarding a third faculty position related to the three retirements in AAS last year.
    • Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee (EOGOAC): Sili Savusa and former Commissioner Takamura represent CAPAA. The committee released its 2017 Annual Report, which includes strategies to achieve eight overall objectives. The next meeting is March 21.
    • Educator Workforce Development Workgroup: Commissioner Guerrero represents CAPAA on this workgroup to recruit, retain, and diversify Washington’s educator workforce.
    • Graduation: A Team Effort (GATE): Staff attended a meeting on March 16 to learn about and discuss best practices in engaging students in civics education.
    • Race and Ethnicity Student Data Task Force: CAPAA representatives on the RESD Task Force hosted and attended four focus groups in February and March with community members to gather feedback for the task force’s guidelines. The next meeting is scheduled for April 5 in Renton. Visit for more information.
  • Health and Human Services:
    • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Advocating Together for Healthy Communities (APICAT): Staff attended an APICAT meeting on January 24 and learned about efforts to develop culturally-relevant marijuana education messages for Asian and Pacific Islander youth. APICAT will be hosting focus groups with API youth in March to gather input for their education messages. Staff provided an update on legislation impacting Asian Pacific Americans this session.
    • Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities: Commissioner Wada is CAPAA’s representative on the Council. The Council met on February 8 to learn about the Business Diversity Subcabinet’s work and on February 27 to discuss a possible letter to Attorney General Ferguson.
    • Health Equity for COFA migrants: Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos’ legislation, SHB 1291, to improve health equity for COFA migrants passed the House 51-47. This week, the bill received a public hearing in the Senate Health Care committee and was passed to the Ways & Means Committee. More details at In addition, staff and Commissioners Nguyen and Gaur met with COFA constituents from Vancouver and Spokane when they were in Olympia for APA Legislative Day to hear their concerns and update them on the legislative process.
  • Economic Development:
    • Business Diversity Subcabinet: Members of the subcabinet and a workgroup are continuing to meet to achieve Gov. Inslee’s goal of increasing access for small and minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses to contracting opportunities with Washington state government. A disparity study on goods and services will launch in March.
    • Results WA: The Governor reviewed efforts to repair or replace the state’s bridges, ferry vessels, and ferry terminal systems to ensure reliability and safety.
    • Snohomish County Economic Development meeting: The state ethnic commissions are co-hosting a meeting with leaders from Snohomish County and the Economic Alliance Snohomish County to connect business owners with programs and services to support small business growth.