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 HarrisSeven takeaways from a busy Democratic presidential campaign weekend in Iowa Fracking ban could have unintended consequence of boosting coal Poll: Voters back Medicare expansion, keeping private insurance MORE (D-Calif.), who is of Indian and Jamaican descent; Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardSeven takeaways from a busy Democratic presidential campaign weekend in Iowa New Hampshire feels overlooked in Democratic presidential race Analysis: 2020 digital spending vastly outpaces TV ads MORE (D-Hawaii) and entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew Yang2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum Yang: 'Cancel culture' has become source of 'fear' for Americans Hundreds of thousands turn out in New York, other major cities for climate marches 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 ChuLawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator US must stay true to its values and fight the public charge rule Pelosi predicts Trump public charge rule will be 'swiftly challenged and defeated' MORE (Calif.), Ed CaseEdward (Ed) CaseMORE (Hawaii), TJ Cox (Calif.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalProgressives push for changes to Pelosi drug pricing plan Pelosi woos progressives on prescription drug pricing plan Democrats ignore Asian American and Pacific Islander voters at their peril MORE (Wash.), Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Overnight Health Care: Planned Parenthood to leave federal family planning program absent court action | Democrats demand Trump withdraw rule on transgender health | Cummings, Sanders investigate three drug companies for 'obstructing' probe MORE (Calif.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuTed Lieu congratulates first Asian American cast member on 'Saturday Night Live' Ocasio-Cortez renews impeachment call amid probe involving Trump's Scotland property Oversight panel investigating Air Force crew's stop at Trump property in Scotland MORE (Calif.), Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiLawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Lobbying World House bill would make World Cup funds contingent on equal pay MORE (Calif.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyPelosi to introduce plan to lower cost of prescription drugs: report Democrats ignore Asian American and Pacific Islander voters at their peril Blue Dog Democrats urge action on election security MORE (Fla.) and Mark TakanoMark Allan TakanoDemocrat Raul Ruiz challenged by Republican with the same name in California race House Democrats blur lines on support for impeachment College should profit students and taxpayers — even at for-profit schools MORE (Calif.), as well as Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocratic senators introduce bill to block Trump 'public charge' rule Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator 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.