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Spotlight on Commerce: Victoria Tung, Associate Director for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs

Victoria Tung, Associate Director for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.

Victoria Tung is the Associate Director for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs and Senior Advisor on Asian American and Pacific Islander Affairs.

In my role, I advise Secretary Locke and our Assistant Secretaries on legislative issues and congressional relations, as well as outreach to state and local government. I manage these efforts and the Department’s relationships with eight congressional committees of jurisdiction across my portfolio, which includes economic development, census/economic analysis, minority business development, innovation and entrepreneurship and recovery act implementation.  Additionally, I advise Secretary Locke on Asian American and Pacific Islander issues and am working closely with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to increase access to and participation in federal programs for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

Today, and throughout this entire month, we commemorate the courage and contributions of early Asian American and Pacific Islanders who journeyed to the United States, set up lives here against unbelievable odds and laid out roots for future generations.  I know that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my great grandparents and grandparents who left China after the war in search of a better life for our family in America.  Their strength and perseverance continues to inspire me and is the story of many Asian American families in this country.  During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we honor the pioneers, the laborers, the veterans, the entrepreneurs, the trailblazers and the families – all who worked hard to open the doors of opportunity to a new generation.

In the last two years since taking office, the President and his Administration have worked to lay the groundwork for America to win the future, stopping the freefall of the economy and investing in our long‐term growth and prosperity.  The Department of Commerce has played an integral role in this vision and the programs and policies we are implementing cannot just remain in the DC beltway.  In my role, I work with Members of Congress and state and local elected officials to work on developing better policies for our nation businesses and to let them know what programs the Department of Commerce offers to help their local constituencies succeed in this economy.  I’ve always believed that the grasstops need to connect with the grassroots, and I feel that my role gets us one step closer to us sharing the message to the people of this country.

Prior to my appointment to the Obama Administration, I was the first Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).  I had the unique responsibility to ensure that CAPAC was a leading voice for AAPI population, which has been historically overlooked, particularly on the federal level.  I also worked closely with Senate and House Leadership, the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, national community based organizations, federal agencies, businesses and other constituency groups such as women, LGBT, African American and Latino groups to educate Members of Congress and their staff on pertinent domestic policy issues affecting our communities.  I also was an advisor to Congressman Mike Honda of California on a number of policy issues ranging from health care, immigration and civil rights.

My passion for policy, advocacy and politics led me to be active in the past few Congressional and Presidential campaigns.  I worked on the Obama campaign with their AAPI outreach.  During the 2006 election cycle, I helped lead the Democratic National Committee’s AAPI pilot project in Las Vegas, Nevada.  During the 2004 Presidential cycle, I was on the Kerry-Edwards Health Policy Team.  I was also active in my community through my work and leadership with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association, Asian American Action Fund-Young Professionals Group, Everybody Wins Reading Program and the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum.

To any young Asian-Americans who are interested in a career with the Department of Commerce, I would say take as many risks as possible, take initiative and never be afraid to ask questions. You're young and you’re energetic—this is the best time to learn as much as possible.  This is the best time for you to work hard to learn about yourself, the issues you care about and improve your skill set to be an effective leader in our community.  Lastly, take advantage of opportunities that land you a seat at the table because this is where you can share your thoughts and ideas to really make a difference. 

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"China in Seattle" (or, as you like it in 21st century)

MS Tung:

With graciousness and warmth, Seattlites welcome you to "Commerce."

First and foremost, Seattle is about China for the remainder of the century, (and beyond:) The bedrock of [that] is in mediation and negotiation visa vis contracts, agreements, treaties, understandings, summits, commisions, etc., ad hoc...i.e. your office: congrats.

As the center of gravity of economic power moves quickly back to Asia from whence it came some 200 years ago, US' position grows weaker and more dependant upon (largely) China (above all,) and time is of the escense--the one thing, the US has so little of, from this point forward.

Princess Masoka of Japan (via Harvard/Oxford) may well prove to be a visiting dignitary and thus commensorately will likely not seek to stand on ceremony in due course with this in mind. Moving forward quickly to the point, now: As Japan (and in large measure...the US,) crumble, women advance their interests at a progressive rate and tempo increasingly from here forth.

The Puget Sound area here in the lovely PAC NW is a beartiful destination in its own right and also the portal to the Pacific Century as we'll know it. Princess Masoka of Japan is welcome to visit here (of course, at her leisure,) but a suite at the Hyatt/Hilton (so to speak,) isn't enough any more (if in fact it ever was,) as such, ad hoc there are state and federal lands that (conceivably) may be available to her (say...1000 acres) as [a gift] for she and here affiliates to visit and reside on for purposes of solace, R & R, consultation, conferences, dining, entertainment, college, and living from time to time as she may see fit.

Your facilitation in furthering this line of thought for her (us,) would be most appreciated and there are other developments of a similar (albeit larger nature) also perculating in the PAC NW as well with APEC trade/banking/finance, etc. as well, on a grand scale for those of a mind to see a much larger, long-term picture in the main, not to exclude very large skyscraper skycitie(s) catoring to East Asians and a Japanese [designed, financed, and built,] executive bullet train "system," for example.

please and thank you for your time and due consideration in the PAC NW restructuring,


dan g


Good work. You deserve it Victoria!