#1 San Antonio: Empowering Progress – Politicians of Asian Descent Soar in Latino-Majority City

Introduction to the Historic Election of Politicians of Asian Descent in San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas is making history with the election of politicians of Asian descent in its two top government positions.

The Political Journey of Peter Sakai: The First Asian American County Judge in Bexar County

The political career of Peter Sakai, Bexar County judge, has been characterized by his focus on family and children’s issues. Having previously served as a civil court judge for almost 30 years, Sakai has made these issues a priority. Credit…Christopher Lee for The New York Times.

Peter Sakai, a 68-year-old Japanese American, was sworn in last month as the first Asian American county judge for Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, the nation’s seventh-largest city. Meanwhile, the person holding the other top position in San Antonio, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, is also part Asian with roots in Filipino, Malaysian, Indian and European Jewry ancestry.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg: A Blend of Cultures in the Top Government Position in San Antonio

Although Asian Americans make up only about 3% of the population in San Antonio, the election of Peter Sakai and Mayor Nirenberg signals a shift in the way voters are making political decisions. Rosa Rosales, a long-time activist in San Antonio, said that by the time Mr. Sakai decided to run for the county judge position, he was already a household name and well-respected in the community. This is because Mr. Sakai spent nearly three decades as a civil court judge, made family and children’s issues a hallmark of his political career, and worked hard to familiarize himself with the area’s movers and shakers, including the Latino majority.

A Promising Agenda: Addressing Poverty and Strengthening Families

The San Antonio region, known as a leading center of Mexican American culture in the United States, has historically elected white men and Latino leaders. However, both Mr. Sakai and Mayor Nirenberg won voters over with agendas that appeal to a large Democratic Latino base, such as promising to lift people out of poverty and keep families together in a culture where it is not unusual for several generations to live under the same roof or close by.

When it came time to vote for county judge, the ethnicity of the candidates was not a concern for many voters, including Elsie Cuellar, a retired banker. Instead, voters were more concerned about what the candidates would do for the community. Cynthia Guerrero, a shoemaker, voted for Mr. Sakai because she liked what he said about family values and his plans to create social programs aimed at lifting people out of poverty.

The Growing Presence of Asian Americans in Texas Politics

The election of Peter Sakai and Mayor Nirenberg is a testament to the changing attitudes of voters in San Antonio and the growing importance of issues such as poverty, family, and community. The presence of Asian Americans in Texas politics, which has been less visible in the past, is now more prominent, and this is a positive sign of the growth and diversity of the political landscape in the United States.

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