In the Assembly, Speaker Jason Frierson, Assistant Majority Whip Sandra Jauregui and Speaker Pro Tempore Steve Yeager represent neighboring districts where the population is 28% to 30% Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.
In the state Senate, Democrats Dallas Harris and Melanie Scheible's abutting districts are 31% and 27% Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander.
Groups like the Asian Community Development Council and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada want the Democratic-controlled Legislature to draw AAPI-majority districts to encourage political participation and ensure the demographic’s voting power isn’t diluted or gerrymandered.
Jeng said non-Asian politicians who represent districts with large Asian American populations often enjoy broad support and champion issues that matter to the community, but he wants districts to be drawn in a way that ensures Asian American candidates won't be deterred from running.
“When people that look like them represent them, then the community gets involved more. When they don’t see people representing who look like them, they don’t really participate,” Jeng said, noting Michelle Wu and Aftab Pureval's victories in mayoral elections last week in Boston and Cincinnati.
The communities that fall under the umbrella “AAPI” — which stands for Asian American and Pacific Islander — are diverse, but survey data shows the group is relatively united about certain political issues, said University of Maryland professor Janelle Wong.
“There’s so much discussion about Asian American diversity," said Wong, who also works as co-director of AAPI Data. "But one of the most critical and astounding features of the Asian American community is that, despite this tremendous diversity, there’s actually a remarkable level of consensus around particular issues.”