Rising Star Jason Tengco to leave NaFFAA for Grad School

In 20 years, I am sure Jason Tengco’s career will be making large waves in periodicals across the country. The UCLA political science major has interned for a US Congressman, worked at the White House twice–first as an intern, then for four years as an Obama-appointed Deputy Director to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He was part of Hillary’s campaign team. And, for nearly 2 and a half years, he has served as the Executive Director for the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).


I began intersecting with NaFFAA during my campaign and found that it is one of the few Filipino-focused organizations with reach that extends inside the White House. Through education and leadership forums, it is attempting to increase Fil-am involvement in the political process here in the United States. With US voter registration and voter participation still low, NaFFAA has its work cut out for it. It also has a program targeting young Filipinos.


Tengco is known for elevating the professionalism of the organization to what it is today and has served as the first professional Executive Director. A search is now underway for his successor. If anyone is interested, please refer to this link: naffaa.org/jobs. The organization is looking for an individual with 5-10 years of non-profit or related work.


If you have read this far, you may also be interested in a Civic Leadership Forum taking place at the end of this month in San Diego from 2pm to 7pm on March 30th. The event is free. Sign up on Eventbrite by searching under San Diego Civic Leadership Forum. In attendance will be California political leaders from the State Senate and Assembly, local office holders, members of NaFFAA, and the Executive Director of Civic Leadership USA.


As Jason will be back in his native California to pursue graduate work at UC Berkeley, I can’t shake the feeling that we are looking at a future viable leader. As part of the Obama White House, he hails from the favored side of the aisle. As an active Fil-Am leader, he could represent the interests of CD-14 with credibility. It’s not a stretch….


One final story. When I was visiting Washington DC, during the last DC visit of my campaign, I attended an evening event hosted by NaFFAA. Several of the Fil-Am Congressional Candidates were there including Gina Ortiz-Jones and Dr. Z from Florida. I was the only Republican nominee. And, of course, ABS-CBN was covering the event and focusing its coverage on the Democrats. Jason located me in the room and took me to the reporters. On our way there, he turned around to me and said he thought everyone should get coverage, not just the Democrats.


As I said, thinking of him as a future leader is not a stretch.