BERKELEY LAKE, Ga.—The Republican National Committee (RNC) opened a new Asian Pacific American Community Center (APACC) in Berkeley Lake, Georgia, on Friday, Sept. 17. This is the RNC’s first APACC in Georgia, and the second such office in the whole country.
Some of the speakers included David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, as well as Sunny Park, a prominent figure in the local Asian community and a philanthropist on the national scene. Tommy Hicks, Jr., the co-chairman of the RNC also flew in from Texas to speak at the event.
The geographic location of this APACC is apparently quite strategic, nestled in a shopping center in the northeastern Atlanta suburbs. Shafer said that before becoming chairman of the Republican Party in Georgia he had served as a state senator for 18 years representing this general area. “It is the most richly diverse senate district in Georgia,” said Shafer, “I think it was the only senate district that didn’t have an ethnic majority.”
The ethnic makeup of Gwinnett County, where the city of Berkeley Lake is situated, went through major changes in the past few decades. The census data from 1990 showed that the county population was 90 percent white. In 2007, the county changed to a majority-minority status, meaning all the traditional ethnic minorities together account for the majority of the population. According to the 2020 census data, those who identify as “white alone” account for 35.5 percent in Gwinnett County whereas those who identify as “Asian alone” account for 13.3 percent. Gwinnett is the second-most populous county in Georgia, behind Fulton County.
Shafer further stated that the core principles of the Republican Party align with Asian Americans. He said of all the Asian Americans he has met, “They love God, they love America, they love free enterprise, they hate communism.” At this point, the crowd responded with cheers and laughs. “They value work and education,” Shafer continued.
It was estimated that around one hundred people attended the ceremony. Present at the event were GOP supporters of Chinese, Korean, Indian, and Vietnamese descent, to name a few. Some had donned their traditional ethnic attire to highlight the theme of the event.
Jay Lin, one of the speakers at the ceremony, told NTD (The Epoch Times’ sister media) about the critical need for this APACC. “Two of the most competitive congressional districts, [are] District 6 and District 7 … In the last 10 years, our Asian population in District 6 has increased by 51 percent. In District 7, it has increased by a whopping 83 percent,” Lin said, “This tremendous increase in Asian population … it is really important for us, as Republicans, to engage with the Asian community.”
Lin is an immigrant from Taiwan who came to the United States in 1986. He served as a city council member in the city of Johns Creek in neighboring Fulton County (of Congressional District 6), until the end of 2019. In 2020, Lin ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Georgia State House in District 50 against incumbent Angelika Kausche. Lin has plans to run again in 2022.
Most of Gwinnett County is in Georgia’s Congressional District 7, which for more than 20 years had been a GOP stronghold but flipped blue in 2020 when Carolyn Bourdeaux was elected as the congresswoman. The adjacent District 6 had been solidly red for 40 years since Newt Gingrich was first elected in 1978 until it flipped blue in the 2018 mid-term election in which Lucy McBath was elected.
The opening of this APACC accentuates the GOP’s effort to wrestle back these two congressional seats by focusing on the Asian minorities. They hope to also flip at least one of the Georgia Senate seats to regain control of the Senate. Both of the U.S. Senate seats for Georgia flipped blue in a runoff election this past January when Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won.
In a private interview with NTD after the ceremony, the RNC co-chairman Tommy Hicks Jr. said, “Raphael Warnock and Carolyn Bourdeaux salute to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. They do not represent the values of the people of Georgia.”