The following Executive Director’s Report was submitted to the Commission at its March 19, 2016, board meeting at the Tacoma Community House in Tacoma. The Report covers a time period from January 17 to March 18, 2016. View in PDF format.


  • Budget: The Commission is operating within its current fiscal year budget of $222,000. The latest budget projections through February 29 show an ending balance of $4,650. The fiscal year ends on June 30. The Commission aims to have a remaining projected balance of at least $1,000 to avoid overspending its state allocation due to unanticipated costs. The non-state allocation amount is $18,600, which reflects a decrease of $500 to co-sponsor the API Health and Wellness Summit at the University of Washington.


  • Accountability Audit: The Washington State Auditor’s Office (SAO) completed its accountability audit of the Commission for the period July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2015. The Accountability Audit Report was issued on February 11, 2016. In the areas the SAO audited, Commission operations complied with applicable requirements and provided adequate safeguarding of public resources. The Commission also complied with state laws and regulations and its own policies and procedures in the areas the SAO we examined.


  • Legislative Session: Today is day 10 of the special session. Legislators concluded the regular session on March 10 without passing a supplemental budget. The Governor immediately called a 30-day special session that evening and later vetoed 27 bills due to the Legislature’s failure to complete its work on time. A separate document summarizing legislative action will be provided.
  • General Government & Information Technology Committee Work Session: Staff provided an update to the members of the committee on the Commission’s mission, strategic goals, and budget on January 22.
  • Day of Remembrance: On February 18, the House of Representatives acknowledged the seventy-fourth anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 and recognized and honored the heroism, sacrifice, patience, and loyalty of the Japanese American World War II veterans, internees, and civil rights activists. Many leaders traveled to Olympia to observe the Day of Remembrance. Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos prime sponsored House Resolution 4660 to remember the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II so that similar injustices never happen again.


  • 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): Staff provided an update on the legislative session to AAPI directors and leaders.
    • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC): Leaders from APIC met with the governor and legislators on January 26 for APA Legislative Day. Numerous issues were discussed including climate change, the opportunity gaps, naturalization services, the Asia Pacific Cultural Center project, and legislation.CAPAA and APIC will hold a joint Legislative Session Report Back to the community on April 7 at Asian Counseling and Referral Service from 5:30 – 7:30 PM on issues impacting AAPI communities. Staff provided a legislative update to APIC South Sound Chapter on March 16.
    • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Advocating Together for Health Communities (APICAT): Staff attended the APICAT planning meeting to discuss objectives for the upcoming year and receive updates on tobacco and marijuana issues. Staff provided educational materials from the Liquor and Cannabis Board.
    • Racial Equity Team: Staff met with members from the RET to hear updates on its legislative priorities to improve racial equity.
    • Community Events: Staff attended numerous community events to connect with constituents and learn about community issues and concerns. Events included the OCA Lunar New Banquet, Filipino Community of Seattle Reception for UW President, Asia Pacific Cultural Center 18th Annual New Year Celebration, Vietnamese Mutual Assistance Association Lunar New Year event, Panel on Seattle’s Vibrant Ethnic Media Community, Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber Lunar New Year Banquet, Sexualization of API Women Panel, Remembrance Day with the Marshallese Community, and the 3rd Annual Herman McKinney Economic & Business Development Summit.
  • Federal and Local Outreach: The Commission continues to maintain relationships with federal and local 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 partnered with WHIAAPI to host an education roundtable on January 30 in Seattle.
    • King County: Staff met with the new External Relations Specialist for King County Executive Constantine about AAPI issues including data disaggregation, language access, early learning, and access to grants.
  • 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, which convened on March 4. Members received an update on outreach metrics for Associate Development Organizations and information on an Economic Gardening program for second-stage companies.
    • Department of Health: The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System telephone-based survey is underway and includes the Commission’s addition of Cambodian/Khmer as an Asian ethnicity option for respondents. The Technical Advisory Committee met on March 17 and discussed survey response rates and methodology. Regarding health data, the Commission’s objective is to ensure data is collected for limited English proficient populations who may not be represented in the BRFSS sample since the survey is conducted in English and Spanish.
    • Department of Social and Health Services: Staff attended the March SPE Prevention Policy Consortium meeting to receive updates on workgroups that reduce underage substance abuse and addresses mental health issues.
    • Emergency Management Division: In response to a letter from the Commission on Hispanic Affairs and CAPAA, EMD sent a letter to its local counterparts about providing emergency information before and during times of disasters and complying with Title VI.
    • Human Rights Commission: HRC will convene on March 24 at Seattle City Council Chambers from 5:30 to 8:30 PM to discuss and hear public comment on its new administrative rules for sexual orientation and gender identity in Washington State’s Law Against Discrimination. A new chapter, 162-32, was added for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity issues, and additional sections were amended to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.
    • Office of Education Ombuds: Staff assisted OEO in distributing opportunities to work at OEO to API communities. Staff has directed each Commissioner to determine ways to inform API communities about OEO services.
    • Office of the Governor: Registration is open to attend the Governor’s Race & Equity Summit involving state agencies, local government, and community stakeholders on April 15 at Cascadia College in Bothell. Details are available on CAPAA’s website.
    • Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises: Inslee appointed Teresa Berntsen as the executive director of OMWBE, effective February 4. She has served as acting executive director of OMWBE since September 2015 and was previously the deputy director of the Department of Licensing. Staff has briefed the new director regarding AAPI issues.
    • Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction: Staff attended the GATE Partnership Advisory Community Meeting to discuss Social and Emotional Learning in the K-12 system.
    • State Board for Community & Technical Colleges: In follow up to a meeting with CAPAA staff, SBCTC is working on an issue brief to its 34 colleges recommending that accountability metrics about AAPIs should be disaggregated data.


  • Board Meetings: The next board meeting is on June 18 at the Filipino Community Hall in Wapato. 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 Coalition is continuing planning efforts for a summit in the fall at Highline Community College.
      • Our Future Matters: Staff attended the initial planning meeting for the UPRISE Summits, which will take place on October 8 at Highline College and October 29 at Clover Park Technical College.
    • Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee (EOGOAC): Sili Savusa and former Commissioner Frieda Takamura are the Commission’s lead representatives on the EOGOAC. Staff has notified OSPI that Julie Kang will join Mele Aho as an alternate. Staff provided an in-depth briefing to the EOGOAC on February 16 about the Commission’s activities and its efforts with state agencies to advocate for AAPIs. The Legislature passed House Bill 1541 on March 10. The bill was based on the EOGOACs recommendations
    • Education Roundtable: The ethnic Commissions held a joint Education Committee on School Discipline at El Centro de la Raza on January 30 in Seattle. More than 50 members of the public attended to discuss concerns and learn about ways to prevent the school-to-prison pipeline. The Seattle Times, Northwest Asian Weekly, and International Examiner wrote about the event.
    • Every Student Succeeds Act Consolidated Plan Team: CAPAA has appointed Mele Aho and Julie Kang to represent AAPIs in an effort to redesign Washington’s Accountability Plan for K-12 public schools.
    • 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. Staff will provide an overview of efforts to form regional partnerships to align data at an iCount meeting on March 31 at Highline College.
    • OSPI Language Access Advisory Committee: Commissioner Lori Wada represents CAPAA on the committee to develop sample materials for school districts to disseminate to school employees and parents regarding parents’ rights to language access services for limited-English proficient parents, as well as the resources available to assist parents and guardians in accessing language access services. The Committee must complete its work by July 1, 2016.
    • Southeast Asian Advisory Committee: Staff attended the meeting on January 27 to discuss the structure and role of the committee moving forward. The committee was formed through advocacy efforts by the community to increase access to higher education for Southeast Asian American students.
  • Health and Human Services: 
    • Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities: Commissioner Lori Wada is CAPAA’s representative on the Council. The Council met on February 10 to hear about race and equity initiatives by local and state government. The next meeting is scheduled for May 11 in Wenatchee.
    • Health Equity for COFA migrants: Staff attended a Solidarity Ceremony at the Burke Museum with Marshallese leaders to remember the day the U.S. government detonated the Bravo bomb on Bikini Atoll. A top priority of CAPAA this year is to 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: In response to a suicide by an Asian American UW student, an API Mental Health & Wellness Summit was organized by AAPI students at the University of Washington on Feb. 20. The summit aimed to destigmatize mental health in AAPI communities and provide a safe space for healing and sharing. Staff assisted in making community connections for facilitators and resources and Commissioner Dinh presented a breakout session on religion and spirituality as it related to mental health.Staff facilitated a meeting with UW students and Forefront, a non-profit based at the UW that advances innovative approaches to suicide prevention through policy change, professional training, campus- and school-based interventions, media outreach, and support for persons affected by suicide. Discussion included ways to ensure culturally competent mental health services are available on college campuses.
    • Pacific Islander Health Board: Staff attended planning meetings with the PIHB to coordinate the upcoming Community Meeting on March 24 at White Center CDA from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.
  • Economic Development:
    • Business Diversity Subcabinet: Inslee convened a subcabinet focused on increasing access for small and minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses to contracting opportunities with Washington state government. Members of the subcabinet met to discuss scope and methodology for an upcoming disparity study.
    • Results Washington: Gov. Inslee met with Goal Council 2 on February 24 to discuss state efforts to boost small-business employment. Staff from WA Tech and the Governor’s Office of Innovation and Regulatory Assistance discussed their work on projects such as the Washington Business Hub and the standard cost model. Two small business owners, one from Olympia and one from Tacoma, also provided their perspectives.