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Obama appoints two Filipino Americans to key posts

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Obama appoints two Filipino Americans to key posts
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Washington D,C, 16 Sept 2010. US President Barack Obama appointed two Filipino-American rights advocates  to key government posts as advisers on Asian-American issues. Both Rozita Villanueva Lee and Hector L. Vargas, Jr., were appointed members of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Fifteen other Americans were appointed to the Presidential Advisory Board.

The 17-member commission lends its expertise  to the US government and assist the White House policy in formulating policeies to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

The White House Press Release cited the following qualifications of the appointees:

"Rozita Villanueva Lee, Appointee for Member, President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Rozita Lee is currently the National Vice Chair of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations. From 1991 to 2010, she was the owner of RVL, Inc., a Polynesian/Hawaiian Entertainment company. Previously, she served as Vice-President of the Nevada Economic Development Company, as special assistant to former Nevada Governor Bob Miller, and as an administrator of the Diversity Training Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). From 1981 to 1983, she produced and hosted a television program called SPECTRUM for PBS Television Channel 10 KLVX TV featuring various ethnic groups in Las Vegas. She was the founding Chairwoman of the Board for the Asian Chamber of Commerce and President of the Las Vegas Chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance.Villanueva-Lee actively campaigned for the Filipino World War II veterans’ equity bill at the US Senate, which eventually granted the 18,000 Filipino war veterans with a $198-million stimulus package."


"Hector L. Vargas, Jr., Appointee for Member, President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Hector Vargas Jr. is Executive Director of the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), a non-profit association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) healthcare professionals working for equality in healthcare for LGBT people and healthcare providers. From 2001 until earlier this year, Mr. Vargas worked at Lambda Legal, first as Southern Regional Director and later as Deputy Director of the Education and Public Affairs Department, where he played key leadership roles in the organization's education and communication strategies. Prior to joining Lambda Legal, he also worked at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the American Bar Association's Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Ethics Division and Equal Justice Works (formerly the National Association for Public Interest Law). Mr. Vargas holds a J.D. and B.A. from the University of Georgia."

During the last US presidential elections in 2008, Ms. Lee led an campaign called “FilVote," which aimed to encourage Filipino-Americans in the US to register and participate in the country’s polls. —ACC/JV, GMANews.TV

Vargas, meanwhile, has been actively campaigning for the recognition of the civil rights for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) in the US.

He currently serves as the executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, which claims to have 2,000 medical professionals around the world as members.

According to latest government records, more than four million Filipinos are currently residing in the United States.



Last Updated ( Saturday, 02 October 2010 06:01 )