The groups hardly expected to match the first term’s record three Asian Americans in the Cabinet. But one concern was that two of the Asian American Cabinet members — Gary Locke at Commerce and Steven Chu at Energy — are gone. And Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki isn’t expected to stay all four years, they figured, so they may be down to zero in a few years.
But their primary personnel concern was down the road, and the lack of Asian Americans in the sub-Cabinet jobs — deputy secretaries, undersecretaries and assistant secretaries.
“These folks run the day-to-day operations” at the agencies, said
, executive director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, and they “form the bench for future administrations.”
But the bench has gotten much thinner of late. There has never been an Asian American at the deputy secretary level in this administration, and there are, or will soon be, openings in about half of the deputy secretary slots.
There had been only one Asian American undersecretary in the first term, an acting undersecretary of energy, and he’s gone, we’re told. So that’s zero of about 60.
None of the four Asian Americans serving as counsels general at the agencies are left. (They can’t find lawyers in this country?)
There are perhaps 10 Asian Americans in jobs at the assistant secretary level, the groups estimate. But that’s of a total of some 300 assistant secretary jobs.
Granted, Asian Americans/
Pacific Islanders are only 6 percent of the population and perhaps 3 percent of the vote. But they are the fastest-growing demographic, and 73 percent of them voted for Obama in 2012.
To paraphrase Mel Brooks, it’s good to be president. Really good.
Vice president? Well, not so much — at least when it comes to selling books.
Browsing through President Obama’s and Vice President Biden’s financial disclosure forms, we noticed that Biden checked the “less than $201” box on his income from Random House for his 2007 memoir “Promises to Keep.” (It’s a fine book.)
Obama, meanwhile, checked the box “$100,000 to $1 million” for royalties last year on “Dreams From My Father,” first published in 1995, when he was running for state Senate, and “$50,000 to $100,000” last year for “The Audacity of Hope,” published in 2006, when he was a U.S. senator.
(A 2010 book, “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters,” netted between $100,000 and $1 million, but the proceeds go to the Fisher House Foundation.)
The state of State
We’re hearing that Danny Russel, a 20-plus-year State Department veteran who is senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council, is heading over to Foggy Bottom to be assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs.