White House Press Release. On April 14, 2021 the White House announced the appointment of Erika Moritsugu, US Senator Duckworth’s general counsel, as its Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison. Moritsugu was an assistant secretary of housing and urban development during the Obama administration.
The Washington Post on April 15 reported that “Moritsugu is expected to report to Bruce Reed, Biden’s Deputy Chief of Staff, with the rank of Deputy Assistant to the President. … Moritsugu previously worked at the Anti Defamation League and served on the staffs of Senator Tammy Duckworth and former Senator Daniel Akaka. She has also held policy roles at the Democratic Policy Committee and at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
Senators Tammy Duckworth and Mazie Hirono criticized the administration last month for a lack of Asian American and Pacific Islander representation. Both lawmakers had threatened to block President Joe Biden's nominees, but they reversed course after they got reassurances from the administration. The country is also grappling with a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.
“I applaud President Biden for swiftly addressing my concerns and creating a new senior-level AAPI liaison position at the White House," Duckworth said in a statement Wednesday. "I know first-hand that President Biden will benefit from her counsel, policy expertise and strong relationship-building skills, especially as his Administration seeks to make sure AAPI leaders are present at the highest levels of government."