Advocacy groups urge Newsom to “prioritize” AAPI issues

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CA Gov. Gavin Newsom sworn into office, puts forth statewide single-payer healthcare plan, reinvention plan for DMV

As California Gov. Gavin Newsom was inaugurated this week, a coalition of 40 advocacy groups is urging the new governor to “prioritize” the concerns of the vast Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community.

In a statement released by legal and civil rights organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, these groups acknowledged the historic oversight of the AANHPI community — which makes up 17 percent of the state’s population — and urged the new leadership to double down on specific issues that affect the growing community.

“Historically, the needs of AANHPI communities have been overlooked while their impact on the state has grown by leaps and bounds over recent decades,” said Anthony Ng, Immigrant Rights Policy Manager at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles. “The AANHPI community is critical to California’s shared future and should be considered and prioritized by the incoming Governor. We recommend policies that will uplift our most marginalized communities, and as a result, will lift us as a whole.”

Most importantly, the coalition emphasized the need to cater to low-income and limited English communities which exist in droves within the AANHPI community.

According to the massive APIAVote and AAPIData survey released in October 2018, Asian Americans remain one of the larger groups to support more government funding of public services such as health care access for undocumented immigrants, for which Newsom pledged his support.

Among the long list of recommendations the coalition directed to Newsom include: doubling down on inter-community relations (especially institutions’ protocol concerning school bullying), expanding protections to low-wage immigrant workers and taking down barriers to voting for the vast limited-English proficient voters in the AANHPI community.

“As someone who regularly looks to increase the leadership representation within communities of color, what will be his commitment to including the perspectives that comprise California’s diverse electorate?” Kim Yamasaki, executive director of the Center for Asians United for Self-Empowerment, told the Sacramento Bee on Nov. 5, 2018, before Newsom was declared the new governor.

File photo shows Gavin Newsom — then state lieutenant governor and candidate for governor — campaigning with Gil Cisneros around AAPI businesses in California’s 39th congressional district on Saturday, October 27, 2018. (AJPress photo by Klarize Medenilla)

“Particularly, within the Asian Pacific American (APA) community, I want to see APA community outreach being prioritized,” Yamasaki added. “And this outreach should be prioritized for all APA communities, including our South, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Efforts to engage the APA community should be matched in labor and dollars.”

Newsom moves forward with single-payer health care, “modernizing” the DMV
Just hours after his inauguration on Tuesday, Jan. 8, Newsom announced that he was moving forward with his ambitious, long-awaited plan to convert California into a single-payer healthcare system.

Also known as “Medicare for all,” the system would comprise of a single public agency that handles health care financing. Under the single-payer system — versions of which the United Kingdom and Canada have adopted countrywide — all residents of the United States would be covered for all medical services.

In a dramatic show of his ambition, Newsom formally asked for the federal government’s permission to allocate federal dollars and state funds into a single-payer system, which would replace existing public and private insurance programs into a single system run by the state government.

The sweeping plan would expand coverage to more Californians, including health coverage for eligible undocumented immigrants.

“Every person should have access to quality, affordable health care,” Newsom said in an address on Facebook Live. “Far-away judges and politicians may try to turn back our progress. But we will never waver in our pursuit of guaranteed health care for all Californians.”

Considering the Trump administration’s animosity toward the State of California on a variety of issues, it’s unlikely it will grant Newsom’s request.

However, Newsom is currently working with members of the Democratic-majority U.S. House of Representatives to hopefully propose and pass a bill that would give states permission to establish their own health care systems with federal funding.

Newsom also seeks to double down on the “chronically mismanaged” California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). On Wednesday, Jan. 9, Newsom appointed California Government Operations Agency Secretary Marybel Batjer to helm Newsom’s DMV Reinvention Strike Team for six months.

Newsom’s goal is to revamp the state’s DMV, which continues to struggle with lengthy wait times, mismanaged voter registration and problems related to the issuance of Real ID cards, identification cards used for air travel in lieu of a valid passport or other federally-approved documents.

“By any metric, California DMV has been chronically mismanaged and failed in its fundamental mission to the state customers it serves and the state workers it employs,” the governor said in a statement. “It’s time for a reinvention and I’m grateful to Secretary Batjer for agreeing to take on this tremendous responsibility on behalf of California taxpayers.”

Klarize Medenilla

Klarize Medenilla is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]

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