Special to BusinessMirrorHAGATNA, Guam - If Barack Obama becomes the US president, America's national policies would somehow be influenced by a Filipino: Charmaine Manansala, who has been selected as a senior adviser to the Democratic party candidate.Manansala is now the Asian-American and Pacific Islander Vote director for the Obama campaign.
"The Obama campaign acknowledges the extraordinary contributions of the nearly 13 million Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders who have helped build a strong and vibrant America," Manansala stated in her message to the Asian-American and Pacific Islander Network."We realize that despite the growth of our community, there are challenges [that] we still face.
For increasing numbers of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders [AAPI], the American dream is in danger of slipping away," said Manansala, who served as policy adviser and political strategist for then-Guam gubernatorial candidate Robert Underwood in 2006."
As president, Senator Obama will work with the AAPI community to ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable and portable health insurance that will also reduce the linguistic and cultural barriers that limit access to our medical system," she added.Manansala was born in Manila.
Her family moved to Orange County in Los Angeles in 1983 to join her grandparents.She went to Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she majored in biochemistry. She earned her master's degree in public health at George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Manansala has joined the league of policy analysts and political strategists in the nation's capital. In 2007, she was on the Filipino Women's Network's list of 100 Most Influential Filipinas. In 2001, she was honored by PoliticalCircus. com, as one of the "Top 30 Under 30," which recognizes the most influential Asian-Pacific Americans 30 years and younger in the US.
Prior to her selection as AAPI vote director, Manansala, now based in New Mexico, was the state director for the New Mexico Blue Team, where she was in charge of developing a state plan for political organizers advancing Obama's candidacy.
Manansala lived in Guam from 2005 to 2006 to lead the campaign strategy for Underwood.Before her stint in Guam, Manansala served as policy adviser for Speaker Nancy Pelosi from 2003 to 2005.
By MAR-VIC CAGURANGAN