Fil-Am first time bets find politics challenging

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Oct 26 2012 02:44 PM | Updated as of Oct 26 2012 10:44 PM

DALY CITY, California - As the fastest growing demographic group in the US, Asian-Americans could become game-changers in the November election.

Besides their voting power, more Filipinos are now stepping up to the challenge and running for office for the first time.

Rebecca Ayson is running as City Clerk in Daly City, California

Fifty-seven-year-old Rebecca Ayson’s forte is customer service. Being in that industry for years, she said she knows how to listen and address people’s needs.

Ayson describes her leadership as "hands-on."

"I'm a leader for the all people. I have the patience to listen to them and their concerns."

Ayson is running as City Clerk in Daly City, California, a position that’s never been filled by a Filipino.

This first-time candidate, who was born and raised in Manila, is running against an incumbent. Ayson admits politics can be tough. So far, she has spent $12,000 of her money to fund her campaign.

Thelma Boac is running for the Board of Trustees of the San Jose Unified School District
Meanwhile, 62-year-old Thelma Boac, who was born in Bohol, Philippines, spent 37 years as an educator in the US.

Prior to her retirement, she was the principal of Silver Creek High School in San Jose, California.

Boac is the only Filipina principal in a high school in Northern California. Now she is running for the Board of Trustees of the San Jose Unified School District, a position never held by a Filipino before.

“I decided to run for the board because I care about the students. I have been the recipient of many school board decisions. Now, I want to be the person that makes decisions because I know how it affects the students,” she said.

As a first-time candidate running against seasoned ones, she also calls politics a challenge because it is so time-consuming to campaign. But she said it’s all worth it in the end.

“We need to have a voice in the political process if we are to make an impact, or even make a difference,” she said.