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Historic wins for Asian Americans

Alex Lee, made history in multiple ways when he won California’s 25th District Assembly race. At 25, he’ll become California’s youngest Asian American state legislator ever, the first openly bisexual state legislator and the first assembly member from Generation Z.

The district, which encompasses Fremont, Santa Clara, and San Jose, in East Bay and Silicon Valley, is one of the heaviest Asian state legislative districts in the state. Lee’s parents are immigrants from Hong Kong.

NIKIL SAVAL has become the first South Asian American elected to Pennsylvania’s state Senate. Elected to represent Philadelphia’s diverse District 1, Saval was co-editor-in-chief of the literary magazine n+1, where he prioritied coverage of issues like social justice and labor unions. Saval, 37, went to Columbia University and received a Ph.D. in English from Stanford. His parents emigrated from Bangalore, India, to New Mexico in 1970 before settling in Los Angeles. They ran a pizza restaurant that primarily employed immigrants of all statuses.

Marilyn Strickland won the open seat in Washington’s 10th Congressional District. She previously served as the 38th Mayor of Tacoma from 2010 to 2018.

Strickland will be among the first Korean American women elected to Congress, and she will be the first member of Congress who is of both Korean and African American heritage. Strickland was born in Seoul; her father, a veteran of World War II and the Korean war, met her mother while stationed there.

KESHA RAM made history when she became the first woman of color to be elected to the Vermont Senate in a state that’s more than 94 percent white. In her early career, she was the youngest member of the House of Representatives and the youngest legislator serving at the time. She is still the youngest Indian American to ever serve in state elected office. Ram, the daughter of an Indian immigrant father and a Jewish mother, said her parents’ experiences deeply influence the way she thinks government can affect people’s lives.

Adrian tam, a 28-year-old Asian American defeated a leader of the Hawaii chapter of the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, to become the only openly LGBTQ person in Hawaii’s Legislature. Tam, a first-time candidate, took 63 percent of the vote against Nicholas Ochs.

Tam was born to immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan. He graduated with a degree in history from Pennsylvania State University, and upon returning to Hawaii, began working for his family’s real estate company.

Two Indian Americans were elected to the New York State Assembly — making them the first South Asians voted into the lower house of the state Legislature. Both Democrats, Jenifer Rajkumar and Zohran Mamdani won by 66 percent and 72 percent of votes respectively. Mamdani (left), 29, is a housing advocate, who was born and raised in Uganda. Rajkumar, 38, is an Indian American lawyer who served as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s director of immigration affairs.

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