Gay AAPI lawmaker reportedly removed as committee chair as ‘revenge,’ replaced with straight white male
In an alleged act of "revenge," California MP Evan Low, an openly gay Democrat who represents Silicon Valley, was ousted as chairman of a key legislative committee and then replaced by an all-white male colleague.
What Happened: Congregation spokesman Anthony Rendon dismissed Low as chairman of the Economics and Professions Committee, a position the Campbell-native held for the past five years. Rendon has not released an official statement, but a source allegedly claimed the decision was made out of defiance.
The source, a "trusted person within the legislature," told ABC10 political reporter Morgan Rynor that last week's move was "vengeful." Apparently there had been rumors over the summer that Low was running for speaker.
Low's alleged offer for a speaker arose out of frustrations within the legislature over Rendon's handling of COVID-19 policies, another source told the San José Spotlight. These frustrated lawmakers have reportedly lobbied Low to pursue the position.
Rendon replaced Low with assembly member Marc Berman of Palo Alto. “I asked Congregation Member Berman to take over the helm of business and professions. His service in the congregation has shown his commitment to the democratic caucus, "Rendon said in a statement. A spokesman for his office reportedly added that the spokesman merely changes the composition of committee chairs on a regular basis.
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Outrage Below: Low's inexplicable removal - and the fact that he was replaced by a straight white man - has sparked outrage among Asian Americans and LGBTQ and advocacy groups. Many used social media to criticize Rendon's actions.
John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), described the news as "troubling" as Low is "one of the most passionate and effective leaders" in the Asian American community. “Why this change at a time when hatred against Asia is still an issue? Will he get another professorship? If not, why not? ”Yang tweeted.
The Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee (BAYMEC), a political action committee for LGBTQ +, said they were "shocked" and "outraged" by the news. They also asked for an explanation from Rendon. “The leadership of Assemblymember Low was instrumental in responding to the crisis of hatred and attacks on AAPI and LGBTQ + people. Talking about raising leaders who represent our communities while doing the opposite is just lip service, ”the group wrote on Twitter.
Equality California, a statewide LGBTQ plus group, said it was "deeply disappointed" with the news. They praised Low's "policy-oriented and solution-oriented" leadership in the communities he represents. "At a time when the API community is facing a surge in hatred, violence, and discrimination, and state legislatures across the country are relentlessly attacking the LGBTQ + community, Assemblymember Low has been critical of our Sacramento communities," said director Tony Hoang in an explanation, according to ABC10. "The removal of Assemblymember Low as chairman is an unfortunate example of people of color - especially API people - being pushed out of leadership positions despite their proven track record and commitment to strengthening and diversifying the legislature."
The OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates also issued a statement on the removal of Low. The group said they were "deeply concerned" by the news and labeled it "against" California's commitment to justice. “Assembly member Evan Low remains a key leader and representative for both the AAPI and LGBTQ + communities. Removing him from his position is pulling California back in its work to protect and serve its constituents, many of whom are AAPIs. "
The Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA) said they were "extremely disappointed" with the removal of Low and described the move as "a blow to all of us". The group said it remains committed to supporting the congregation member because it is "a consistent and strong voice that stands up for our community".
US MP Ro Khanna, who represents California's 17th congressional district, also spoke out in favor of Low. “I'm on the side of BAYMEC and Evan Low. Low has been an important leader in many equality and social justice issues in our region. He shouldn't be deprived of his leadership role in committees, ”wrote Khanna on Twitter.
Low Responds: Low remains Chairman of the California LGBTQ Legislative Caucus and Vice Chairman of the Legislative Caucus for Asian American and Pacific Islanders. In a statement to NextShark, he said it was an "honor" on the Business and Professions Committee.
“It was an honor for me to chair the Assembly's Committee on Business and Professions, where my colleagues and I drafted legislation to help small businesses fight the opioid crisis, implement a system to regulate legal cannabis, and participate Governor Newsom to work together to protect patients and health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to continuing to serve in any capacity, ”said Low.
Featured image via the California Assembly Democrats
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