January 26, 2021
Contact: Carissa Villacorta
Executive Director / 202-262-0772

Biden-Harris Administration Welcomes Jason Tengco and a Growing List of Filipino Americans

WASHINGTON, DC — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris announced their agenda for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, as well as several AAPI appointments to the new administration, shortly after taking office on January 20, 2021. Among the appointees are several leaders from the Filipino American community: Jason Benjamin A. Tengco, Camille Calimlim Touton, Angela Dela Cruz Perez, John Santos, and Gloria Steele.

Jason Tengco, former Executive Director and Senior Advisor of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), was announced as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) White House Liaison.

“President Biden made a promise to the American people that he would assemble diverse and talented teams that look like America, and today he continues to fulfill that promise,” said Chris Canning, incoming Chief of Staff. “We are looking forward to joining the hard working and committed civil servants at OPM to support and empower the federal workforce.”

OPM provides human resources leadership and support to Federal agencies and helps the Federal workforce achieve their aspirations as they serve the American people. OPM works in several broad categories to lead and serve the Federal Government in enterprise human resource management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective, civilian workforce.

OPM’s team of political appointees reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to diversity, with more than 85% of OPM first week appointees identifying as people of color, women, or LGBTQ.

Tengco received his Master’s Degree in Political Science with honors at the University of Berkeley, California at the Goldman School of Public Policy in 2019. He has an extensive history in government, policy, and advocating for the Filipino American and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

In 2016 to 2019, Tengco served as NaFFAA’s Executive Director, leading programs in Leadership Development, Civic Engagement and National Advocacy. Tengco strengthened NaFFAA’s relationships with the Administration and Congress. He also connected NaFFAA with AAPI community leaders across the country. Under his leadership, NaFFAA partnered with corporations and coalitions who want to make an impact in the Filipino American community. Finally, together with NaFFAA’s National Chair, Brendan Flores, Tengco helped NaFFAA make great strides in enhancing the visibility of the Filipino American community, and in emboldening our youth to be part of the action.

Prior to working at NaFFAA, Tengco served as Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from 2012 to 2016 during the Obama Administration. Later, he worked with Hillary for America as the National AAPI Outreach Director. Following his work at NaFFAA, Tengco also served as the Coalitions Chief of Staff with Biden for President and as the AAPI Outreach Lead and the Office of Personnel Management Agency Review Member on the Biden-Harris Transition Team.

NaFFAA’s National Chair and President, Brendan Flores, commented, “We are so proud of Jason for his appointment as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s White House Liaison. He and I worked together for several years at NaFFAA, bringing NaFFAA to the forefront of key decision- makers in Washington, D.C., as well as on the horizon of young leaders in the community who want to make a difference through activism and advocacy. His great ambition and commitment to serving his community was evident in all of his work with us. Not only did he give back to Filipino Americans through his service, but his leadership also paved the way for other young Asian American leaders to make an impact. He’s always looking for ways to do something that will make a difference.”

NaFFAA’s Executive Director, Carissa Villacorta, added, “Jason has mentored so many. Whether he’s met them directly or not, he’s inspired countless young leaders to pursue public policy and civic engagement. We thank Jason for his valuable contributions to the Filipino American community through NaFFAA, and wish him the best as he continues to put the community’s needs first. In his over four years of focused service to the Filipino American community, especially through NaFFAA, he has helped a lot of people. Jason is the epitome of leading by example. Because he shares concrete steps and real opportunities, expertise cascades and success multiplies.”

In addition to Tengco’s appointment, Camille Calimlim Touton, a former water policy advisory for Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), is being named Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. In her decades of work, she has counseled numerous Members of Congress and held a leadership role in the Obama Administration’s Office of Water and Science within the Department of Interior.

Angela de la Cruz Perez, a college graduate from Queens, New York, has been appointed to join the Biden-Harris Administration Communications team as a Press Assistant. An alumna of Georgetown University, Perez also served as a press assistant on the Biden-Harris transition team and previously worked as a communications intern with the Biden-Harris Campaign.

John Santos was appointed to serve as a Special Assistant in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. Santos previously served as Asian American and Pacific Islander Outreach Director at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) where he made great efforts to mobilize the AAPI community and to build close relationships with the Biden-Harris campaign. His experience also includes serving as the Western Region Press Secretary at the DNC and as Deputy Spokesperson for the International Anti-ISIS Coalition in Baghdad, Iraq.

Finally, Gloria Steele was appointed to serve as Acting Administrator to USAID. Gloria Steele was a distinguished career member of the U.S. Government’s Senior Executive Service for over 18 years. Before retiring from federal service, she served as the Acting Assistant Administrator and Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Asia from 2015 to 2020. Prior to those assignments, she served as USAID’s Mission Director for the Philippines, the Pacific Islands, and Mongolia.

The Biden-Harris Administration announced several goals for the AAPI community, one being to elevate AAPI voices and to increase AAPI representation in government. Additional members of the Biden-Harris appointee team will be named in the days and weeks to come.

About NaFFAA
The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization. Established in 1997, NaFFAA promotes the welfare and well-being of the four million Filipinos and Filipino Americans throughout the United States. NaFFAA’s vision is to serve as the voice of all Filipinos and Filipino Americans by uniting, engaging, and empowering diverse individuals and community organizations through leadership development, civic engagement, and national advocacy.