top of page

The National Association of Asian Pacifics in Politics and Public Affairs (NAAPPPA) is proud to present the 2023 list of the top 40 AAPI political operatives and public affairs professionals under 40 primarily sponsored this year by AT&T, California Faculty Association, East West Bank, Joon Kim,and NRG.


NAAPPPA established this bipartisan list to highlight emerging AAPIs in the professional unelected side of politics.  These honorees are trailblazing AAPI campaign strategists, lobbyists, legislative staff, and corporate public affairs professionals that work behind the scenes in the halls of power.  They’re breaking the 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.


NAAPPPA’s 2023 40 Under 40 List in alphabetical order:


  • Hera Abbasi | Vice President, Global Public Policy, Mastercard

  • Kathrina (Kat) Abrot | Kat Abrot Consulting

  • Maryam Ahmed | Press Secretary, Office of Congressman Adam Schiff

  • Khydeeja Alam Javid | Director of External and Legislative Affairs, California Volunteers Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

  • Ash Alvandi | District Director, California State Senator Dave Min.

  • Raj Aryal | Deputy Press Secretary, Rep. Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06)

  • Geoff Burgan | Communications Director, Democratic Attorneys General Association

  • Kenneth Chen | Director of External Affairs, San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu's Office

  • Solomon Chen | Policy Advisor, House Committee on Education & the Workforce

  • Catherine Chestnut Linkul | Vice President, P2 Public Affairs

  • Grace Choi | CEO and Founder, Karis Consulting Group

  • Nicole Fernandez | District Director, California State Senator Josh Becker

  • Tiffany Ge | Legislative Director, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell

  • Stephanie Hu | Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Representative Michelle Steel (CA-45)

  • Alyssa Khamma | Associate, Targeted Victory

  • Abigail Kim | Senior Director of Public Policy, Association for Behavioral Healthcare

  • Ronny Lau | Manager of Government Relations, National Education Association

  • Doug Lee | Senior Director, Mindset

  • Sarah Lin | Deputy Organizing Director and Pennsylvania State Director, Indian American Impact

  • Cory Liu | Attorney, Butler Snow LLC

  • Chris Mateo | Senior Consultant and Project Coordinator for the Assembly Democratic Office of Communications and Outreach

  • Narah Neri | Director of Constituent Services, Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-45)

  • Lauri Ng | Director, Mindset

  • Hoang Nguyen | Director of External Affairs, AAPI Equity Alliance, Stop AAPI Hate

  • Stephanie Penn | Press Secretary for U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell

  • Godfrey Plata | Deputy Director, LA Forward

  • Angelica Ramos | Vice President of External Affairs, National Women's Political Caucus of California

  • Melissa Ramoso | District Director, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi

  • Maha Rizvi | District Director, Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes

  • Deepa Sharma | State Chair, California Democratic Party API Caucus

  • Lisa Song Sutton | Owner - Engel & Volkers Las Vegas

  • Albert Suh | Political Strategist, Vice-President, Trip Yang Strategies

  • Mark Torres | Senior Director, DSPolitical

  • Lisa Tran | Consultant, Gozzo Strategy & Campaigns

  • Julie Vo | Policy Director, Orange County Asian & Pacific Islander Community Alliance

  • Hari Vutukuru | Chief of Staff, United States Climate Alliance

  • Jackie Wu | Founder & President, J Wu Consulting

  • Annie Wu Henry | Creative Director/Digital Strategist, AAPI Victory Fund and Working Families Party

  • Christopher Zhen | Legislative Correspondent, Office of Congresswoman Young Kim (R-CA)

  • Kathy Zhu | Director of Operations - US House Representatives Ronny Jackson, (TX-13)


In addition to the 40 Under 40, NAAPPPA recognized the following:

NAAPPPA's Annual Forward Award

California State Assemblymember Phillip Chen, for his work mentoring and promoting young AAPI professionals in the political and public affairs arena.


NAAPPPA's Torch Award

Nichi Bei News for outstanding trailblazing news media platforms that support and promote AAPI political and issue-based news content.


NAAPPPA's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champions


California Medical Association


bottom of page