Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator

Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator
© Greg Nash

Members of Congress on Tuesday called on the Democratic National Committee to ensure that at least one of the party's presidential debates features an Asian American-Pacific Islander moderator.

In a letter to DNC Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE, lawmakers writing on behalf of the ASPIRE PAC, which serves as the political arm of Asian American-Pacific Islander (AAPI) members of Congress, argued that having representation among the moderators would reflect the demographic's role in the 2020 elections.

"We believe that the DNC could take a big step forward in reaching these voters by ensuring that there is an AAPI moderator for at least one of the debates. We ask that you make this request to the networks that are competing to televise the debates," the lawmakers wrote.

"Next year, there will be 11 million eligible AAPI voters, which will account for 5% of the electorate. AAPIs increased their participation rate in the 2018 midterm elections by the largest amount of any racial group, and are poised to be the difference makers in key battleground states," the lawmakers wrote.

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They further noted that three Asian American and Pacific Islanders are running for the Democratic presidential nomination: Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisOutsider candidates outpoll insider candidates Poll: Buttigieg leads Democratic field in Iowa Press: Another billionaire need not apply MORE (D-Calif.), who is of Indian and Jamaican descent; Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardNew Quinnipiac poll finds Biden leading in New Hampshire Gabbard lawyers demand retraction of Clinton's 'defamation' Krystal Ball praises former McConnell aide's historic win in Kentucky MORE (D-Hawaii) and entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangNew Quinnipiac poll finds Biden leading in New Hampshire Intercollegiate athletics just got a two-minute warning AI and automation will disrupt our world — but only Andrew Yang is warning about it MORE.

The letter was signed by Democratic Reps. Grace MengGrace MengHillicon Valley: Ocasio-Cortez clashes with former Dem senator over gig worker bill | Software engineer indicted over Capital One breach | Lawmakers push Amazon to remove unsafe products Lawmakers call on Amazon to safeguard against unsafe products Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator MORE (N.Y.), Judy ChuJudy May ChuDemocrats see whistleblower report as smoking gun Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator US must stay true to its values and fight the public charge rule MORE (Calif.), Ed CaseEdward (Ed) CaseMORE (Hawaii), TJ Cox (Calif.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalProgressive House Democrat unveils bill to allow state-based 'Medicare for All' Progressives press Democrats to rethink Israel policy Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law MORE (Wash.), Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeCongress should lift the ban on medical cannabis access for military veterans House Democrats launch process to replace Cummings on Oversight panel Democratic lawmakers, 2020 candidates pay tribute to Conyers MORE (Calif.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuWyden urges FCC to secure 5G networks against cyber threats Democrat hits White House spokeswoman after Trump appointee changes testimony PETA asks DOJ to stop conducting training that harms animals MORE (Calif.), Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiDemocrats demand FCC act over leak of phone location data Blood cancer patients deserve equal access to the cure Hillicon Valley: Tech grapples with California 'gig economy' law | FCC to investigate Sprint over millions in subsidies | House bill aims to protect telecom networks | Google wins EU fight over 'right to be forgotten' | 27 nations sign cyber rules pact MORE (Calif.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyTrump administration unveils new plan for notifying public on 2020 election interference Overnight Health Care: House Dems clash over Pelosi drug pricing bill | Senate blocks effort to roll back Trump ObamaCare moves | Number of uninsured children rises House Democrats clash over Pelosi's drug pricing bill MORE (Fla.) and Mark TakanoMark Allan TakanoHillicon Valley: Google buying Fitbit for .1B | US launches national security review of TikTok | Twitter shakes up fight over political ads | Dems push committee on 'revenge porn' law Progressives urge end to mass phone data collection program Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Impeachment inquiry overshadows Trump at UN | Veterans push VA to follow through on reforms | Iranian leader open to changes in nuke deal MORE (Calif.), as well as Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoRand Paul blocks Senate resolution backing protection for whistleblowers Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics MORE (D-Hawaii).

Meng serves as chairwoman of the ASPIRE PAC, and as a DNC vice chairwoman.

"I am hopeful that this can happen and look forward to Chairman Perez responding to our request. I am confident that host networks will not have trouble finding qualified and talented AAPIs to include in their moderator panels," Meng said in a statement.

The DNC did not immediately return a request for comment.

The DNC has already committed to ensuring that at least one woman and one person of color serves as a moderator at each of its primary debates for the 2020 cycle.

"The DNC is committed to an inclusive and fair debate process," DNC senior adviser Mary Beth Cahill told Refinery29 in May. "That means that all 12 DNC-sanctioned debates will feature a diverse group of moderators and panelists including women and people of color, ensuring that the conversations reflect the concerns of all Americans."

The first two presidential debates, hosted by NBC News and CNN, featured female, Hispanic and African American moderators.

Moderators for the third presidential debate next month, which will be hosted by ABC News and Univision, have not yet been announced.