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The National Association of Asian Pacifics in Politics and Public Affairs (NAAPPPA) is proud to present the 2020 list of the top 40 AAPI political operatives and public affairs professionals under 40 exclusively sponsored this year by SoCal Gas.


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.

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2020 NAAPPPA 40 Under 40 List (For full bios, click this link)


  1. Nadia Nisha Belkin (D) | National Deputy Field Director, America Votes

  2. Shawn Bhatia (R) | Senior Associate, Member Services, The Heritage Foundation

  3. Kelly Boyer (D) | Chief of Staff, US Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH)

  4. Michael Burkhard (D) | Vice President, K Bowler Group

  5. Brady Calma (D) | Director of API Civic Engagement and Leadership Development, SEIU International

  6. Kellie Chong (R) | Legislative Correspondent, US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

  7. Catherine Del Rosario (D) | District Director, California Assemblymember Chris Holden

  8. Kush S. Desai (R) | Director of Vetting, Republican National Committee (RNC)

  9. Brendan Flores (I) | President and National Chairman, Nat’l Federation of Filipino American Assns

  10. Joshua Goodwin (R) | Strategy Consultant, Goodwin & Co., LLC

  11. Alia Griffing (D) | Legislative Advocate, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees

  12. Omar Hossino (R) | Professional Staff, U.S. House Republican Study Committee

  13. Cheryl Hori (D) | Founder and Chief Strategist, Pacific Campaign House

  14. Alex Huang (D) | Dir. of Programs & Community Engagement, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies

  15. Charli Huddleston (R) | Associate Director of Media Affairs, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

  16. Eric Kim (R) | Senior Analyst, Forbes Tate Partners

  17. Sery Kim (R) | Corporate Litigation Attorney and Republican Strategist

  18. Michelle Koepp (R) | Communications Director, US Representative Kay Granger

  19. Soo Kyung Koo (R) | Communications Director, Office of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan

  20. Faith Lee (D) | Chair, California Young Democrats API Caucus

  21. Vivian Ling Willinger (R) | Counsel, US House of Representatives Committee on Small Business

  22. Anang Mittal (R) | Strategic Partnerships Manager for Civics, Youtube (Google)

  23. Nathan Naidu (R) | White House Advance Lead, Executive Office of the President of the United States

  24. Roshni Nedungadi (D) | Pollster, Partner at HIT Strategies

  25. Catherina Nou (D) | Chief Consultant, California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus

  26. Howard Ou (D) | Policy Advisor, US Representative Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr.

  27. Karthik Raja (R) | Legislative Correspondent, US Senator John Cornyn

  28. Ben Rajadurai (R) | Executive Director, College Republican National Committee

  29. Kavya Ramagiri (R) | National Coordinator for Coalitions, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

  30. PaaWee Rivera (D) |  Western Political Director, Warren Democrats

  31. Nirav Sanghani (D) | Deputy State Director, America Votes Pennsylvania

  32. Brandon Seto (D) | Senior Floor Consultant, California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon

  33. Ethan Shim (R) | Municipal & School Technology Analyst, Executive Office of Technology Services & Security (EOTSS), Office of Governor Charlie Baker

  34. Paco Torres (D) | Legislative Director, California Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes

  35. Tina Wei Smith (R) | Executive Director, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

  36. Catherine Elaine Whiteford (R) | State Chairwoman, North Carolina Federation of Young Republicans

  37. Aaron Wong (R) | Managing Director, Targeted Victory

  38. Shery Yang (D) | Chief of Staff, California State Senator Melissa Hurtado

  39. Mike Young (D) | Political & Organizing Director, California League of Conservation Voters

  40. Joe Zhu (R) | Co-Chairman, Leaders Forum

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