Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

May 2, 2024
Contact: Joe O’Leary | | 508-479-4969
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Today, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Issues Caucus met in the Legislative Office Building to announce its members and its priorities as it begins activity in Hartford. The caucus was created in response to Census data finding the AAPI community in Connecticut has grown by 113% from 2000 to 2020, indicative of a significant increase in residency in the state.

Members of the Caucus include State Senator Saud Anwar, who is from Pakistan; State Senator Tony Hwang, who is from Taiwan; State Representative Maryam Khan, who is from Pakistan; and State Senator James Maroney, State Representative Kate Farrar, State Representative Gary Turco and State Representative Rachel Khanna. Commissioner Alan Tan, the Co-Chairman of the Connecticut Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity, the members of the Asian Pacific American Affairs Subcommission of the Commission, and Megan Baker, the lead Asian American Policy Analyst of the Commission are providing the nonpartisan policy support to this new bipartisan Caucus.

“With hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, I’m proud to be a member of this caucus to support their needs,” said Sen. Anwar. “With community outreach and better consideration of the stressors and factors impacting their lives, we can and will provide better representation for these groups.”

“May is Asian American Pacific Islander month. We celebrate it, but for me and many other Asian Americans, here’s the bottom line – we live it every day,” said Sen. Hwang, the first Asian American elected to the State Senate. “Part of this caucus is to raise greater awareness of the challenges and experiences of this community. When you think about engagement in the political process, it’s important to note that Asian Americans have faced the brunt of some of the most egregious legislation such as the Exclusion Act and internment of Japanese Americans. If we are not engaged in the political process, we become, ultimately, the victims of it. Asian Americans are proud to be, first and foremost, Americans, and we need to celebrate diversity and those who love this country, come to this country and want to contribute to this country.”

“Several of us have an incredible familial connection to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community through marriage, and I am so proud not only to have a spouse who is Asian American but a large, incredible family across our country,” said Rep. Farrar. “To me, at the heart of why we’re coming together today, the diversity of our state truly makes us stronger and for our AAPI residents, they may not see themselves represented or heard in the legislative process as vibrantly as other communities. What is so powerful about joining together to learn more, educate ourselves more and build greater awareness signals to all residents across our state that we see you, hear you and want to do more to make sure your voices are heard.”

“Like several of my colleagues, I am part of this group by marriage, and I’m thrilled to be here because I recognize our growing AAPI population in our state and we need to recognize and honor diversity in our state,” said Rep. Khanna. “We must understand the needs and concerns of this population.”

“Considering the growth of the AAPI community here in Connecticut, it remains important that legislators receive timely information about what their constituents face on a daily basis,” said Tan. “The Commission is very excited to work with the caucus on addressing issues of proposed bills. Legislators may disagree on many things, but they do find ways to find consensus to pass bills or agree to disagree. I’m very much looking forward to working on this caucus in support of the AAPI community and where it can find middle ground with other caucuses in the General Assembly.”

The Caucus was created to address stereotypes and generalizations of the Asian American community, working to better support critical educational, social and economic support needs and ensure equitable treatment and support among the general population. Its focuses will include economic disparities – some segments of the AAPI community experience poverty rates higher than the national average – and community vulnerability to hate crimes.

The Caucus will focus on representation and advocacy, with further policies aiding the lived experience of the AAPI and strengthening ties between state legislators in the community. Its policy priorities will include cultural recognitions, language accessibility, mental health support, safety, justice, economic and healthcare equity, immigration reform and infrastructure development, among others.

This Caucus builds on other work Connecticut lawmakers have completed to support the AAPI community. In 2023, legislators passed a law requiring AAPI studies in schools, making Connecticut among the first states in the country to have such education. Sen. Anwar noted that the fast-growing population also has important connotations to the state’s economy, given potential connections to the global economy.

The founding members wanted to express that membership is open to any member of the General Assembly who is interested in working on and learning more about these policy issues.