PNS — U.S. President Barack Obama has appointed two Filipino-Americans to be his advisers on Asian-American issues.
The two proudly Pinoy members of Obama’s Cabinet are Rozita Villanueva Lee, known for championing the cause of Pinoy World War II veterans; and Hector Vargas Jr., a popular gay rights activist.
Lee and Vargas were appointed as members of the White House Advisory Commisson on Asian- Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Rozita Lee is currently the national vice chair of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations. From 1991 to 2010, she was the owner of RVL, Inc., a Polynesian/Hawaiian Entertainment company. Previously, she served as vice-president of the Nevada Economic Development Company, as special assistant to former Nevada Governor Bob Miller, and as an administrator of the Diversity Training Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
From 1981 to 1983, she produced and hosted a television program called SPECTRUM for PBS Television Channel 10 KLVX TV featuring various ethnic groups in Las Vegas. She was the founding chairwoman of the Board for the Asian Chamber of Commerce and president of the Las Vegas Chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance.
Vargas Jr. is executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), a non-profit association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) healthcare professionals working for equality in healthcare for LGBT people and healthcare providers. From 2001 until earlier this year, Mr. Vargas worked at Lambda Legal, first as southern regional director and later as deputy director of the Education and Public Affairs Department, where he played key leadership roles in the organization’s education and communication strategies.
Prior to joining Lambda Legal, he also worked at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the American Bar Association’s Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Ethics Division and Equal Justice Works (formerly the National Association for Public Interest Law).
He holds a J.D. and B.A. from the University of Georgia.
“Our nation will be well-served by the skill and dedication these men and women bring to their new roles. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead,” said of the new appointments which included other individuals to key administration posts.