4 FilAms named to Republican Party’s AAPI advisory council

Vellie Dietrich-Hall, one of 4 Filipinos in the GOP advisory council.

Vellie Dietrich-Hall, one of 4 Filipinos in the GOP advisory council.

By Maricar CP Hampton

Vellie S. Dietrich-Hall was recently named one of four Filipino Americans leaders appointed to the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) Asian American Advisory Council.

The announcement did not surprise Vellie, general manager at the Diamond Hill Retreat jewelry store in Charlotte Court House in Virginia and a long-time local leader of the Republican Party. “I expected it,” she said in an interview with The FilAm Metro D.C.

The other FilAms in the council are Rep. Steve Austria of Ohio; NaFFAA’s Eduardo “Ed” Navarra of Michigan; and Historic Filipinotown’s Cecilia Cortez Ramos of California. The council was created to “strengthen (the party’s) ties with minority communities” and expand engagement efforts, the GOP said in a statement. An African American and Hispanic councils were also formed and launched on March 3rd.

Vellie said she has been involved with the RNC since the chairmanship of Michael Steele in 2009.

“I was hired as a paid consultant to address the concerns of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’ (AAPI) during Chairman Steele’s RNC leadership,” she said. “As a matter of fact, some of the issues and recommendations I set in place where carried over to this commission’s goals. I’m very pleased that the current administration is taking proactive stance on the issues dear to my heart.”

The RNC is currently led by Reince Priebus of New Jersey. The chairman is of Greek and German descent. In his letter to Vellie and the council members, Priebus said the party needs the “personal and professional insights” of Asian Pacific American community leaders to “help shape the vision of our efforts at the national, state and local levels.”

The council is comprised of Asian Pacific community leaders, elected officials, and grassroots activists from all around our nation, she said. “It is designed to give our communities a bigger voice.”

Vellie’s work with the FilAm community can be traced several years back but she stressed her involvement with the 2010 Decennial Census Committee as one of the highlights. “(With the Census) the Filipinos could be counted, and this shows to this nation that we have a voice to reckon with.”

In 2012, the U.S. Census came out with the report that AAPIs are the fastest growing ethnic group, and they are neither a monolithic group nor a monolithic voting bloc.

“Republicans can make gains in these communities where FilAms rarely identify with any political party,” noted Vellie, who served during the George W. Bush administration as one of members of the White House Advisory Commission for Asians and Pacific Islanders.

In addition to providing advice and counsel to RNC leadership, council members will attend community events, speak with grassroots activists nationwide, and attend RNC meetings, she said.

“Council members like me will lend our expertise in developing better, more effective engagement strategies between the RNC and state parties and communities across the country,” she said.

Vellie said she is grateful to have been invited to serve and represent the Filipino American and Asian communities within the echelon of the GOP.

“It is an excellent opportunity to get FilAms further involved in unleashing the power of citizens,” she said.

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