The nineteenth Committee of 100 Asian American Career Ceilings Initiative webcast featured a fireside chat on the topic of “Running for Office” with panelists Allan Fung, Former Mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island and Congressional Candidate, and William Tong, Attorney General, the State of Connecticut. The focus of the discussion was on why Asian Americans tend not to run for public office, why running for office matters and the choices available, what to consider if you are thinking of a political career, and how do you make sure you are effective once you are elected or appointed. Gary Locke – Chair of the Committee of 100 and former Ambassador to China, Secretary of Commerce, and Governor of the State of Washington – delivered a welcoming statement.
Peter Young, Chair of the Initiative and a Committee of 100 Member, was the moderator.
EVENT DATE & TIME:
The webinar was held on April 19, 2022 from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm Eastern Time / 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm Central Time / 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm Pacific Time.
ABOUT ASIAN AMERICAN CAREER CEILINGS:
Asian American Career Ceilings examine the challenges facing Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans with regard to barriers to advancement in a wide variety of professions in the U.S. The goal of this initiative is to contribute to the already significant efforts of organizations and individuals who have been tackling this issue.
Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara
Former Mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island
Prior to joining his current law firm he was the Mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island’s second largest city, from 2009 to 2021. His historic election in 2008 saw him become the first Asian American Mayor in Rhode Island history. During his distinguished twelve year career, he transformed a city on the verge of fiscal bankruptcy into being named one of the Top 50 Cities to Live in America by 24/7 Wall Street, three years in a row. He reformed the city’s severely underfunded pension plan, led multi-million-dollar commercial development projects that resulted in thousands of new jobs for residents, and established diplomatic relations with worldwide dignitaries from Italy and China that fostered business and cultural exchanges.
Prior to his tenure as Mayor, he was Government Relations Counsel for MetLife, where he oversaw the company’s legislative and regulatory affairs nationwide for its Auto & Home division. Earlier, he worked as a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Narcotics & Organized Crime Unit.
As an accomplished executive, public servant and attorney, Mayor Fung has held leadership positions with several national and local organizations. Currently, he serves as the Honorary Chairman of the Board of the Rhode Island Association of Chinese Americans, is on the New England Advisory Board for the International Leadership Foundation, and is on the Board of Governors for the national Asian American Unity Coalition. He has been honored with several national awards including the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association’s 2020 National Public Official of the Year.
He earned his J.D., cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, MA, and a B.A., cum laude, in Political Science from Rhode Island College.
Attorney General, State of Connecticut
William Tong is the 25th Attorney General to serve Connecticut since the office was established in 1897 and is the first Asian American elected at the state level in Connecticut. Before coming into office in January 2019, General Tong practiced for 18 years as a litigator in both state and federal courts, first at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York City and then at Finn Dixon & Herling LLP in Stamford. He served for 12 years as a State Representative in the Connecticut General Assembly, where he was House Chairman of the Judiciary Committee as well as the Banking Committee. He graduated from Phillips Academy Andover, Brown University and the University of Chicago Law School.
As Attorney General, Tong’s top priority is to protect Connecticut families, residents and consumers, and to stand up to powerful forces that threaten us. As the son of immigrants and small business owners, he knows first-hand the constant pressure on Connecticut families, and how we are squeezed by expensive healthcare and prescription drugs, ever rising utility rates, the high cost of housing and education, and many other pressures. General Tong works every day to safeguard our civil rights and freedoms, fighting hate and racism, protecting the rights of immigrants and the LGBTQ+ community, championing reproductive freedom, and advancing equity across our state.
A Connecticut native, Tong is the oldest of five children, and grew up working side-by-side with his immigrant parents in their family’s Chinese restaurant. He and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Stamford with their three children and too many pets.
CEO and President, Young & Partners and Committee of 100 Member
Peter Young is CEO and President of Young & Partners, a boutique investment banking firm focused on the life science and chemical industries. He manages the firm and is actively involved in client transactions and financings. Under his leadership, Young & Partners has established and maintained its position as a highly regarded firm serving the corporate strategy, M&A, restructuring and financing needs of clients worldwide. He was previously head of industry groups at Salomon Brothers, Schroders and Lehman Brothers, a senior private equity executive with J.H. Whitney & Co. and a senior member of Bain & Co., the corporate strategy firm.
Mr. Young received a BA in Economics from Yale, an MS in Accounting from NYU, and MBA from Harvard Business School where he graduated as a Baker Scholar. He is a CPA and a Chartered Global Management Accountant. He serves on a number of boards of directors, both corporate and non-profit and is President and board member of Société de Chimie Industrielle, a leading life science and chemical industry non-profit organization.