Join us as we kick off the 2015 season of CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Program (WLP) “Building Our Future.” WLP is an opportunity for interns and young professionals to learn about issues facing the APA community, explore careers in public service, and share their stories. Sessions include panel discussions as well as skills-based simulations.
Since 1989, CAPAL has offered the Washington Leadership Program (WLP) to interns and young professionals in Washington, DC free of charge, as a supplement to a summer internship experience. WLP has been the only educational and leadership development working series in Washington that focuses specifically on the APA community and our role in public policy.
Speaker Charles Rangel
Charles B. Rangel, war hero, history-making congressman, master lawmaker. A founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, he made history as the first African American member of Congress to lead the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Now serving his 22nd term in the House of Representatives, he has been cited as the most effective lawmaker in the House, leading all of his colleagues in passing legislation. He was a prime contributor to President Obama’s historic health care reform law.
Growing up on the other side of the tracks on Lenox Avenue in Harlem, he was transformed from high school dropout to war hero after volunteering for service in the Army during the Korean War. Wounded in an attack by waves of Communist Chinese troops, he was awarded a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for Valor after leading his surviving comrades from behind enemy lines.
With the aid of the G.I. Bill, he earned degrees from New York University and St. John’s University Law School. He began his public service as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and was later elected to the New York State Assembly. He came to Washington in 1971 to serve in the House after defeating the legendary Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
In Congress, following Saint Matthew’s teaching, he has been a stalwart champion for the “least among us,” advocating powerfully and persistently to improve the lives of working people. He is a defender of veterans and has treated education as a national security issue.
A leading advocate for equal rights and equal opportunity, Congressman Rangel has boosted the incomes of millions of working families with the Earned Income Tax Credit, and pumped billions of dollars into revitalization of communities across the nation, including Harlem. Demonstrating his commitment to education, he has created financial mechanisms to construct and rehabilitate public schools across the country.
Congressman Rangel’s unparalleled foreign policy record has focused on Africa and the Caribbean. In 1986, he sounded the death knell for apartheid in South Africa with the “Rangel Amendment,” which forced the largest U.S. investors to abandon the country. He has created trading and investment opportunities for struggling nations in the Caribbean and Africa. In 2010, he successfully promoted vital investment incentives for earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
Among his proudest achievements is founding the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program in the State Department, in cooperation with Howard University. As of 2013, 160 former Rangel Fellows were serving as U.S. State Department Foreign Service Officers in U.S. Embassies around the world. Congressman Rangel still resides with his wife Alma in Harlem where he was born. They have two adult children and three grandchildren.
Moderator Melvin Tabilas
Melvin Tabilas is currently the Senior Government Affairs Advisor for the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development. He is also the Housing and Economic Justice Committee Co-Chair for the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans. Melvin has served as a Legislative Assistant for Congressman Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, advising the Congressman on legislative matters pertaining to transportation, agriculture, taxes, budget, appropriations, trade, immigration, tourism, labor, small business, the Asian Pacific Islander community, and other issues. He also worked previously as a Field Deputy for Congressman Xavier Becerra of California and a Field Representative for California State Senator Debra Bowen. Melvin has a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Panelist Koustubh “K.J.” Bagchi
K.J. Bagchi is currently Acting Legislative Counsel in the Office of Representative Mike Honda. He recently finished up his time as an APAICS fellow in Rep. Honda’s office. Prior to working on the Hill, K.J. was an attorney for District government where he assisted in the drafting and eventual passage of legislation related to tenant protection, consumer rights, and non-profit property tax abatement. K.J. received his B.S. in Biopsychology with a minor in Political Science from University of California at Davis, and his J.D. from the Seattle University School of Law. He is currently a member of the Maryland Bar Association and the South Asian Bar Association of the District of Columbia. He is also a Board Member for the Asian American Action Fund and has served as CAPAL’s volunteer Legal Counsel. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with friends, watching shows on the CW, and checking out D.C.’s city life with his amazing wife Sapna.
Panelist Krystal Ka’ai
Krystal Ka‘ai is the executive director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), a bicameral group of 48 Members of Congress who advocate on behalf of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community at the federal level. In this role, she manages the caucus’ internal legislative and policy agenda and facilitates its external communication and outreach with the White House, federal agencies, and various Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander stakeholders. Prior to joining CAPAC, Krystal held positions with the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs under the leadership of Chairman Senator Daniel K. Akaka; the State of Hawaii, Office of Hawaiian Affairs; and the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation. Born and raised in Hawaii, she graduated with honors from Lehigh University with a B.A. in Political Science and minors in English and Business.
Panelist Kham Moua
Kham Moua is the Policy Associate for OCA. In his current role, Moua manages the organization’s policy, advocacy, and campaign efforts, as well as all communications within those areas. Policy and advocacy areas currently under his supervision include immigration, Education, military justice, telecommunications and technology, and civic engagement. Moua also currently sits on the board of Asian Pacific Islander Queers United for Action.
He previously worked for Hmong American Partnership and Hmong National Development. In those roles, he coordinated programming for low-income and high risk Southeast Asian youth, and he engaged in community outreach and advocacy for the Hmong community. During this time, Moua was also the Board Chair for Shades of Yellow, the only Hmong Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) organization in the United States. Issues close to him include LGBTQ rights, Asian Pacific Islander and Southeast Asian equity, and comprehensive immigration reform.
He graduated in 2011 from Winona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in Chinese. While in college, Moua held a variety of leadership roles on and off campus, which included but was not limited to President of the Hmong Student Association, Vice President of the Political Science Association, and community organizer for various grassroots and nonprofit organizations. In his free time, Moua enjoys playing video games, hiking, and writing incomplete poetry and short stories.
Panelist Jason Tengco
Jason Tengco was appointed as Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) on May 4, 2015. Jason started at the Initiative in May 2012, first serving as the Initiative’s liaison in the White House Office of Public Engagement, then as a Senior Advisor directing the Initiative’s community engagement. In this capacity, Jason managed the first-ever White House Summit on AAPIs, launched the Initiative’s E3! Ambassadors Program for young leaders, and solicited input from the community on ways to increase participation in federal programs.
Previously, Jason was an Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) Fellow in the Office of Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA). His issue areas included AAPI affairs, homeland security, and immigration, and he also served as the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) taskforce staff lead on immigration and appropriations. Prior to his fellowship in Congress, Jason worked for the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), where he helped organize APALA’s largest national convention and launched APALA’s Young Leaders Council.
In July 2014, Jason was honored to be one of ten delegates to the Philippine Embassy’s Filipino American Youth Leadership Program (FYLPro), a weeklong immersion in the Philippines. Throughout his career, Jason has participated in fellowships with the New Leaders Council, Center for Progressive Leadership, and Public Policy and International Affairs Program. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason graduated from UCLA with Honors with a B.A. in Political Science.igration, and he also served as the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) taskforce staff lead on immigration and appropriations. Prior to his fellowship in Congress, Jason worked for the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), where he helped organize APALA’s largest national convention and launched APALA’s Young Leaders Council.
In July 2014, Jason was honored to be one of ten delegates to the Philippine Embassy’s Filipino American Youth Leadership Program (FYLPro), a weeklong immersion in the Philippines. Throughout his career, Jason has participated in fellowships with the New Leaders Council, Center for Progressive Leadership, and Public Policy and International Affairs Program. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason graduated from UCLA with Honors with a B.A. in Political Science.
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