Vice President Kamala Harris leads new campaign effort to reach out to Asian American voters

WASHINGTON — (AP) — President Joe Biden's reelection campaign is launching its formal outreach campaign to Asian American voters, putting Vice President Kamala Harris at the forefront of the effort with events in Nevada and Pennsylvania this week.

AANHPIs for Biden-Harris (AANHPI stands for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander) will kick off with an event in Las Vegas on Tuesday with former "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi. Harris is the first person of South Asian descent to serve as vice president, and the spotlight on her has only grown since Biden's stumbling debate performance last month raised questions about whether he would withdraw his candidacy and Harris would take his place.

Harris will also deliver a keynote address Saturday at a town hall in Philadelphia hosted by APIAVote, an advocacy group focused on mobilizing Asian American voters.

“We need to make sure that AA and NHPI voices are heard at the ballot boxes around our country, just as we need to make sure that those voices are represented in all levels of government,” Harris said in a video released by the campaign Tuesday. “Asian Americans must be in the rooms where the decisions are being made.”

The fresh effort focusing on Asian American voters comes after the Biden campaign had already launched coalition groups focusing on Black voters and Latino voters. Both kickoff events were attended by the president himself. The campaign says this advocacy effort will be active in every battleground state, and is planning events in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia.

The coalition will be led by Nadia Belkin, the campaign’s national AANHPI engagement director, and the campaign is bringing on Andrew Peng as its national AANHPI spokesperson.

Experts in Asian American politics have long said language is one barrier to effectively reaching voters. The Biden campaign’s effort plans to offer resources in several languages including Chinese, Tagalog, Hindi, Hmong, Vietnamese, Urdu and Korean.

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