Biden to tap Erika Moritsugu as new Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison

President Biden addresses the recent mass shooting in Boulder, Colo.
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President Biden plans to name Erika Moritsugu to a new senior level Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison position in the White House, three people familiar with the choice confirmed.

CBS News first reported that the Biden administration would tap Moritsugu, who has held high-level positions on Capitol Hill and in the federal government, for the role, which the White House announced plans to create in March. Moritsugu will be responsible for outreach to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

A White House official and two other sources confirmed Moritsugu’s selection to The Hill. The White House formally announced her appointment Wednesday evening.

Biden is expected to meet with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus at the White House on Thursday, but Moritsugu is not expected to attend the meeting.

The White House announced plans to create the liaison position last month in response to pushback from Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) over a lack of Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in Biden’s Cabinet. The two senators initially threatened to vote against Biden’s Cabinet nominees in protest but walked back on the threats after the White House announced plans for the new senior liaison position.

Their calls came amid a significant spike in violence against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

Moritsugu currently serves as vice president for congressional relations and economic justice at the National Partnership for Women & Families. She previously worked in several roles on Capitol Hill, including as general counsel to Duckworth and staff and policy director at the Democratic Policy Committee under then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Moritsugu also served as assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development under former President Obama. 

Brett Samuels contributed. Updated at 9:56 p.m.

Tags AAPI Anti-Asian bias anti-Asian discrimination biden appointee Biden cabinet Erika Moritsugu Harry Reid Joe Biden Mazie Hirono Tammy Duckworth

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