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Asian Americans Emerge On Chicago Political Landscape

CHICAGO (CBS) -- For the first time this November, an Asian American could be represented in office at every level from city alderman to Congress.

It's unprecedented in Chicago and Illinois politics, CBS 2's Susanna Song reports

From Washington to Chicago, these Asian Americans have a shot at winning public office:

Tammy Duckworth for U.S. Senate;

Raja Krishnamoorthi for U.S. House;

Theresa Mah for state House; and

Josina Morita for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

It's unprecedented in Chicago's history.

"It's really exciting," said Mah. "The Asian American population in our state is the fastest growing over the past 10 to 15 years."

Mah who narrowly beat her opponent in the primary, will become the first Asian American Illinois legislator.

She has no Republican challenger in the general election.

Her district includes Chinatown.

"We're getting more people who realize you can only advocate your needs of community if you have a seat at the table."

Politics is new in Raja Krishnamoorthi's family of engineers and doctors. The Democrat, running for U.S. House in the 8th District, jokes, "I inherited a mutant gene."

Krishnamoorthi is hoping for Duckworth's congressional seat that covers the northwestern suburbs.

"There's only one person of Asian American descent representing constituents in the 46 states between New York and California," Krishnamoorthi said.

Tuyet Le, with the group, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, predicts this will change.

"We've moved beyond immigrant concerns [and more] interested in creating policy."

Morita, the water reclamation district candidate, said its a major breakthrough.

"We went from having zero Asian American elected officials 10 years ago to now hopefully having five," Morita said.

In addition to the four candidates, Ald. Ameya Pawar, who represents the 47th Ward, is the first Asian American elected to city council. He's serving his second term.

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