Workshop #4

Hildy Aguinaldo, 2017 CAUSE Political Institute

Pasadena, CA – CAUSE held the fourth CAUSE Political Institute workshop on May 13th, 2017 at the Hilton Pasadena Hotel.

The day kicked off with Bill Wong of Bill Wong LLC sharing the inside stories from his years of campaigning in the APA community. He underscored the importance of encouraging the APA community to take political action, saying, “You can’t just wait for an Asian to get elected, you need to work to get an Asian elected.” Wong encouraged the cohort to consider their role in ensuring a new generation of political leaders will follow them.


After a short break, the cohort heard from two experts on the intricacies and difficulties of healthcare policy. Dr. Paul Song, Chief Medical Officer of ATGen Global & Chief Medical Officer of Cynvenio Biosystems, Inc. and Co-Chair of Campaign for a Healthy California, emphasized the difficulties of enacting policy within a troubled healthcare system. He shared how issues outside of healthcare, such as financial health and political climate, affect patient coverage and healthcare access.


Louise McCarthy, MPP, President and CEO of the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles, followed up with more details regarding issues with healthcare literacy, along with California’s unique struggles with federal funding. “The only thing certain is uncertainty” in today’s healthcare policy climate, shared McCarthy.


Over lunch, Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary – Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor talked about the labor movement in LA County and how to effectively support an increasingly diverse group of workers. He shared insight on the Federation’s political endorsement process and his outlook on the future demographics of the labor movement.


Lunch was followed by a discussion on K-12 education policy with Dr. Cristina de Jesus, President and CEO of Green Dot Public Schools California and The Honorable Henry Lo, Boardmember of Garvey Elementary School District. They discussed current issues in California’s K-12 education system and their priorities in serving their schools and communities. Dr. de Jesus relayed the need for accountability and transparency for both charter and public schools, while Boardmember Lo highlighted the value of community involvement and support. Both emphasized the importance of investing in schools, with Dr. de Jesus explaining that “90% of students in low income communities who get a degree escape poverty”.


The session closed with Professor Dan Schnur, incoming Director of AJC Los Angeles, discussing the importance of audience targeting in political messaging. He presented the variety of ways in which a single message can be framed to resonate with the values and political opinions of different audiences and demographics. Cohorts used his lessons to practice creating pitches as their last activity of the day.


Stay tuned for our last Political Institute workshop next month when the fellows will graduate from the program!