Mormon AG, Christian pastor named to Trump Advisory Commission on AAPI

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (left), Pastor Herman Martir

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (left), Pastor Herman Martir

Two prominent Filipino Americans were named to President Donald Trump’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). They are Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and Herman Martir of Texas.

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) National Chairman Brendan Flores hailed the appointments. Said National Chairman Brendan Flores, “Attorney General Reyes and Pastor Martir are dynamic leaders of our community, equipped with a unique understanding of the issues and policies that affect the more than four million Filipinos and Filipinos Americans that call the United States home.”

“We are proud that President Trump has selected two exceptional Filipino American leaders to represent our vibrant community on his AAPI Advisory Commission,” he continued.

Reyes, according to the website of the Attorney General’s office, was appointed Utah’s 21st Attorney General in 2013, the first ethnic minority to hold the position. In 2015, he was selected by the Republican National Committee as one of its four national rising stars. Reyes graduated summa cum laude from Brigham Young University in 1994, and earned his law degree with honors from U.C. Berkeley in 1997. He and his wife have six children, and they are members of the Church of Latter Day Saints.

The website said he “practiced for nearly 14 years at Parsons Behle & Latimer, the largest law firm in Utah, where he became one of the first minority lawyers to make partner at a major Utah firm…The son of a Spanish-Filipino immigrant father, who fled the Marcos regime and a Japanese-Hawaiian mother.”

Among his hobbies are playing basketball, coaching his kids, dancing with his wife Saysha, watching Sports Center, cooking, shooting guns and rapping on Bloomberg News.

Martir is a pastor of a multi-ethnic church in Fort Worth, Texas. He is also the president of Asian Action Network and Asian Prayer Network, organizations seeking to connect Asian American Christians to “pray and work together to see reformation in America.” He is the founder of Emerging Leaders Int’l., a coalition of leaders working together to bring transformation in the seven spheres of society, namely Church, Family, Government, Education, Media, Entertainment, and Business.

Donald Trump’s 12-member Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders was previously known as the White House Initiative on AAPIs (WHIAAPI). It was created by President Bill Clinton in 1999 to advise on issues facing the AAPI community. The Initiative and Commission work to improve the quality of life for AAPIs by facilitating access to and participation in federal programs in which AAPIs remain underserved.

Several NaFFAA leaders have served in the commission in various capacities:
• Gloria Caoile, founding NaFFAA Vice Chair, served as a Commissioner under President Clinton
• Angelo Dalmacio, current NaFFAA Communications Director, served as Communications and Policy Advisor of WHIAAPI under President Obama
• Rozita Lee, former NaFFAA Vice Chair, served as a Commissioner under President Obama
• Jason Tengco, current NaFFAA Executive Director, served as Deputy Director of WHIAAPI under President Obama

© The FilAm 2019

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