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Asian Voters Crucial For November


In this election year, and also in 2012, Latinos were the minority group that candidates in both political parties courted, in both Spanish and English.

But as demographics continue to change in Nevada, Asians are another big voting group that will be crucial in the November elections.

In Nevada, 11 percent of the population is Asian, second only to Latinos.

Vida Lin is the president of the Asian Community Development Council. She told KNPR's State of Nevada that there are more than 200,000 Asians and Pacific Islanders living in Las Vegas right now. 

Filipinos make up the largest portion of that group, but there are people from around Asia, including China, Korea and Vietnam. 

Cherina Kleven is also with the council she said many politicians don't address the community when they're campaigning, but she also said the Asian community needs to speak up.

“We have to put ourselves out there," Kleven said, "And I think that Asians we’re kind of quiet."

Marc Matsuo is a manager at the development council and he agrees that it is often part of the Asian culture to work hard and not complain. 

“Typically, we as Asian we don’t really grumble or speak up about any issues," he said, "It’s a cultural thing.”

But he said it is time for the Asian community to speak up, “you hear about Latinos and African Americans but we’re missing there.” 

All three agreed that one of the most important issues to Asian voters is education. They also cited jobs and health care as important issues.

However, much like Latino voters who put jobs, the economy and education at the top of their lists of important issues, Lin, Matsuo and Kleven say immigration is something that needs to be addressed for their community. 

“We want to see more immigration reform,” Lin said.

Matsuo explained that many Asians in Las Vegas are first or second generation immigrants who want to bring their families here. 

“This country was built by immigrants who came here with hopes and dreams for their families,” Kleven explained, “We’re here. We’re Americans.”

The Asian Community Development Council held a voter registration effort at a recent Chinese New Year celebration. Matsuo said it was partially successful. They registered a lot of people to vote, but getting them out to the polls is another challenge. 

Vida Lin, president, Asian Community Development Council, Marc Matsuo, manager, Asian Community Development Council, and  Cherina Kleven, manager, Asian Community Development Council. 

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