Luncheon Plenary

Meet the members of the Massachusetts Asian American Caucus over lunch.

The Asian Caucus is a bipartisan legislative caucus established in 2011, following the election of representatives Tackey Chan, Donald Wong, and Paul Schmid, III – the first Asian-Americans elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.  Together, they work to bring greater awareness to issues facing the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in Massachusetts and greater representation within our state government. Priority legislation filed in 2017-2018 includes:

  • Funding for the Massachusetts Asian American Commission
  • Translation of MassHealth applications into classical and traditional Chinese
  • Designating May as “Asian American and Pacific Islander Month”

Moderator

Jenny Chiang, Executive Director, Asian American Commission (AAC)

Jenny is a second generation Taiwanese American. She first got involved in the AAPI community after taking Asian American Studies at UMass Boston; it was an explorative process that revealed the inequities faced by the AAPI community and offered a space that fostered a sense of leadership. She continued her exploration through community organizing in Chicago’s Chinatown as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community.

Jenny furthered her education with a Master of Social Work degree at Boston College, focusing on Macro Intervention, with a determination to improve systems affecting the AAPI community. She has worked alongside community leaders in her work with UMass Boston, the Boston Public Health Commission, and the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (ATASK). Jenny has been dedicated to advocating for undocumented immigrants, supporting AAPI health equity, and encouraging youth leadership and civic engagement. 

Panelists

Rep. Tackey Chan 

Tackey Chan is currently the State Representative for the Second Norfolk District, including thirteen of the thirty precincts in Quincy, Massachusetts.  Tackey is a current and lifelong resident of Quincy.  He was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2010 and is currently serving his fourth term in office.  He is the Chair of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.  In 2010, Tackey was one of the three first State Representatives of Asian American descent elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and is the first Asian American and minority elected to office in the City of Quincy.

Tackey worked as an Assistant Attorney General in Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office of Ratepayer Advocacy from 2007 to 2010.  As a regulatory attorney in this division, he represented the interests of residential, commercial and industrial utility consumers at adjudicatory proceedings before the Massachusetts Departments of Public Utilities and Telecommunication and Cable.  Prior to the Attorney General’s office, he worked as General Counsel and Legislative Director for State Senator Michael W. Morrissey from 1995 to 2007.  In 2006, Tackey was appointed to the Massachusetts Asian American Commission by then Senate President Robert Travaglini.  In 2007, he was reappointed by the Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley to represent her on the Commission.


Rep. Keiko Orrall

Rep Keiko Orrall, candidate for MA State Treasurer, is the first Asian-American woman to seek a constitutional office in Massachusetts.

Elected to the House of Representatives in 2011, Keiko is also the first Asian-American woman elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

As a four-term lawmaker, she is a strong advocate for her district building bipartisan bridges and focusing on policy over politics.  

Keiko grew up in Cincinnati, OH where both of her parents taught in the public education system. As the middle of five children, she learned the art of compromise and from an early age was taught to value education, hard work, patriotism, and integrity.

Her grandparents are immigrants from Japan and her father grew up on a segregated sugar plantation in Hawaii. Two of her uncles earned Purple Hearts in World War II in the 442nd United States Infantry Regiment, a unit of Japanese Americans, noted for valiant service and sacrifice. Her father is a Marine and with the GI Bill became the first in his family go to college.

Keiko attended Smith College in Northampton, MA majoring in education and met her husband of 28 years, Norman, who was studying engineering at UMass-Amherst. She went on to teach public school for several years. They settled in Norman’s hometown of Lakeville, and raised two children, who graduated from state universities in Massachusetts.

Raised in a working-class family, Keiko believes voters want someone who relates to them and will bring a common sense, fiscally conservative approach to managing the state’s finances. 


Rep. Paul Schmid

State Representative Paul Schmid has lived in Westport, Massachusetts since 1962 when his family relocated to the farming community.  He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School and was a member of the United States Marine Corps.  Schmid operates River Rock Farm, where he raises grass-fed Angus beef cattle and has been certified organic for seven years.

Schmid and his wife, Tina, have been married since 1972 and have two children. His daughter, Celeste, is married with two children of her own and works as a nurse in San Francisco. His son, Paul, is married with a new baby and lives in Boston where he practices law.

Schmid has experience in many facets of local government.  He served five and a half years on the Westport Finance Committee, including three years as the Chairman.  In addition, he chaired the Tax Incentive Financing Committee and served on the Westport Board of Selectmen, Fire Station Committee, Master Plan Committee and Water and Sewer Committee. 

First elected in 2010, Schmid is currently serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, representing the 8th Bristol District.  Appointed in 2017, Schmid is the House Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.