Tuesday, January 15, 2008

MSNBC Dem Debate Tonight on Minority Issues

Watch, Witness, and Weigh In!

Asian American and Pacific Islander Voters Impact on Nevada Caucus Unprecedented but Undervalued; Historic Presidential Debate to Address AAPI Issues

NATIONWIDE—APIAVote invites you to tune into your MSNBC channel or online to watch the Presidential Democratic Debate on minority issues. The MSNBC debate will directly address Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community issues.

Through intense lobbying by local and national AAPI leaders, the Nevada debate will now include discussion of AAPI-specific issues. In addition, the debate comes hot on the heels of efforts by APIAVote and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Las Vegas chapter to increase AAPI participation and to maximize the visibility of the AAPI electorate in local and ethnic media (see links below for media and blog coverage).

"We've conducted outreach to both the Democratic and Republican parties to make them aware of the AAPI community's presence and growing political participation," said Vida Benavides, chair of APIAVote. "The Nevada caucuses are historic in that the unprecedented AAPI vote could sway the caucus outcome, and it is important for parties to understand that we are not going away—our voice as a community will only get stronger."

"AAPIs have electoral impact," said Daphne Kwok, APIAVote board member. "In Nevada, for the 2004 election, 63 percent of eligible voters registered to vote and 77 percent of registered voters turned out to vote. In Clark County, 35,321 AAPIs registered to vote; 26,464 cast ballots - voter turnout reached 75%."

APIAVote's involvement in Nevada dates back to 2004, when many did not realize the electoral significance of Nevada's growing AAPI communities. Now, a once emerging AAPI community is a key electorate in Nevada. AAPIs are the fastest growing population in the state's Clark County. Asian Americans comprise 8% of the county's population, while Pacific Islanders are now 1% of the county's population.

The Nevada debate leads up to the Nevada caucus on January 19, which is the first caucus in the West, as well as the first caucus in which AAPI participation will have significant impact. With Nevada having the 3rd highest Pacific Islander population and the 6th highest Asian American population, AAPIs from across the United States will be watching this debate, particularly AAPIs in the West headed into Super Tuesday. APIAVote encourages all communities to continue watching upcoming Republican and Democratic debates in order to be an informed voter during this primary season.

Watch, Witness, and Weigh in!: MSNBC Debate Information

What: MSNBC's Democratic Debate in Las Vegas
Who: Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama, former Sen. John Edwards, Democratic Presidential Candidates
When: Tuesday, January 15, 2008
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm PST /// 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm EST
Watch: Your MSNBC Channel, www.msnbc.com
Who: Tim Russert (Meet the Press), Brian Williams (NBC Nightly News), Natalie Morales (The Today Show)

1. WATCH the presidential candidates debate and offer solutions to minority issues!

2. WITNESS AAPI history in the making! Our AAPI leaders will be in the debate spin room to respond to the candidates' answers to our questions.

3. WEIGH IN on the debate! How has the candidates' debate answers impacted your decision on who is the best candidate for our AAPI communities? Will the debate have the same effect on your friends, colleagues, and families? Discuss the first presidential debate that directly addresses AAPIs.