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The National Association of Asian Pacifics in Politics and Public Affairs (NAAPPPA) is proud to present the 2019 list of the top 40 AAPI political operatives and public affairs professionals under 40.


NAAPPPA established this list to highlight the growing number of AAPIs who are beginning to dominate the professional unelected side of politics.  These honorees represent groundbreaking AAPI campaign strategists, lobbyists, legislative staff, and corporate public affairs professionals that work behind the scenes to elect and advance AAPI electeds and the AAPI community.  These elite individuals are breaking the meek Asian model minority stereotype by excelling in the rough and tumble, rule-bending, bare knuckle world of American politics.


NAAPPPA is a non-partisan non-profit national organization dedicated to promote and develop Asian American and Pacific Islander career advancement and excellence in political consulting, public affairs, and legislative advocacy through networking, innovative training, and professional development programs.  NAAPPPA’s members include legislative staff and professionals specializing in political campaigns, direct mail, polling, communications, opposition research, political compliance, fundraising, public and government affairs, media relations, and legislative advocacy.


2019 NAAPPPA 40 Under 40 List (For full bios, click this link)


  • Robbie Abelon | Deputy Secretary of State, State of California

  • Damian Arias | Digital Manager, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

  • Aref Aziz | President, Statehouse Media

  • Tony Bui | Vice President of State Public Affairs, California Apartment Association

  • Stephen Chang | Director of Communications, Texas Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs

  • Priscilla Cheng | Director of External Affairs, California Governor Gavin Newsom

  • Annie Chou | Chief of Staff, California Assemblywoman Smith

  • Teresa Davis | Deputy Director of Protocol, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

  • Kevin Dawson | Legislative Assistant, U.S. Representative Mike Kelly

  • Lx Fangonilo | Executive Director, Colorado Republican Party

  • Ken Farnaso | Press Secretary, U.S. Senator Tim Scott

  • Tiffany Fung | Political Director, Clark County Republican Central Committee in Nevada

  • Ted Goodman | Communications Director, U.S. Representative Greg Pence

  • Nick Hawatmeh | Counsel, U.S. Senator John Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee

  • Alex Hendrie | Director of Tax Policy, Americans for Tax Reform

  • Priyanka Hooghan | Staff Director for the Environment Subcommittee of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in the U.S. House of Representatives

  • Helen Hwang | Director of Infrastructure and Transit Campaigns, Accelerator for America

  • Jaspreet Johl | Chief of Staff, California State Assemblymember Miguel Santiago

  • Kevin Kalhoefer | Associate Director of Research and Communications, California Assembly Democrats

  • Samantha Leonardo | Special Assistant to the Acting Assist. Sec. for Financial Resources, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

  • Samuel Liu Chief of Staff to State Senator Ben Allen

  • Esther Lu | Director of APA Engagement, Republican National Committee

  • Arjun Mody | Staff Director, Senate Republican Conference

  • Laila Mohib | Expansion Director, Emerge America

  • Anna Nguyen | Associate Partner, Forward Strategy Group

  • Andrew Noh | Chief of Staff, U.S. Representative Harley Rouda

  • Minyet Palich | Director of Member Services, National Republican Congressional Committee

  • Rajiv Parikh | Partner, Genova Burns

  • Shil B. Patel | Economic Policy Advisor, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis

  • Annie Pham | Chief of Staff, California State Assemblymember Kansen Chu

  • Tiffany Phan | Legislative Advocate, Niemela Pappas & Associates

  • Sruthi Prabhu | Legislative Assistant, U.S. Representative Mark Walker

  • Usman Rahim | Associate for Federal Government Affairs, Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association

  • Ahmir Rashid | Chief of Staff, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies

  • Chirag Shah | Vice President for Government Affairs, Asian American Hotel Owners Association

  • Moh Sharma | Director of Membership Services & Outreach and Policy Advisor, House Judiciary Committee

  • Yna Shimabukuro | Senior Director of Government Relations, California Medical Association

  • Sabrina Singh | National Press Secretary, Cory 2020

  • Ryan Sun | Confidential Assistant to the Director, U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency

  • Lisa Thong | Policy Consultant, Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement

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