LANSING – Filipino-American community leader Willie Dechavez has been reappointed by Gov. Rick Snyder as a member of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC), it was announced.
Snyder also reappointed two other MAPAAC members – namely, Gouzhen Lu and Marilyn Schlief.
The governor likewise appointed three new members. They are Mamatha Chamarti, Hannah Feikema and Clyde Wu.
MAPAAC is tasked to enhance the full and equal participation of Asian Pacific Americans in building a greater Michigan.
“After taking my first overseas trade mission as governor, it reaffirmed how crucial it is that we continue building strong relationships with other nations to lay the groundwork for understanding and future investment in Michigan,” Snyder said.
“These individuals (appointees) will help the commission strengthen our state’s relationships with other cultures and nations to ensure a stronger and better Michigan for all citizens.”
A statement sent to media outlets by the Office of the Governor said that Dechavez, a resident of Rochester Hills, has been an educator with the Detroit Public Schools for 20 years. He is the executive director of the Filipino Political Association of Michigan, state chairperson of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) and member of the board of directors of the Filipino American Community Council (FILAMCCO).
He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines and a master’s degree in education from Marygrove College.
Meanwhile, Filipino-American community leaders lauded the reappointment of Dechavez as MAPAAC commissioner.
NaFFAA Treasurer Fe San Agustin said that Dechavez deserves his reappointment, describing him as an advocate who can “eloquently speak for all of us, Filipino-Americans” at MAPAAC. San Agustin said that Dechavez can also speak on behalf of other Asians because of his involvement in APIA Vote and the affairs of other Asian Pacific Americans in the community.
FILAMCCO President Ryan Rosario said that Dechavez deserves his reappointment not only because he is a very influential Filipino-American leader but also because he is a consistent advocate of cultural diversity.
Flor Penner, director of both FILAMCCO and PACCM, congratulated Dechavez on his reappointment, saying “Willie is a hard worker and can deliver.” He is a result-oriented person, and his volunteer works benefit the Fil-Am and Asian community, Penner added.