Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday released an agenda for the United States' Asian-American and Pacific Islander population, a voting bloc seen as still up for grabs.
Buttigieg's plan to improve the fortunes of that population emphasizes education. It comes a week before the March 3 Super Tuesday primaries, including in California, home to roughly one-third of the country's AAPI residents.
"Like so many others, AAPIs aspire for each generation to be better off than the last, in all aspects of their lives," Buttigieg's campaign said in a statement. "This is why Pete's extensive investments in education, health, immigration reform and economic growth will work together as a holistic agenda to empower AAPI families to pursue every opportunity that America offers."
Analysts see Asian Americans as a key potential swing vote in the Democratic primaries and the general election in November.
But with a recent poll showing the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., trailing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by 20 percentage points in California, Buttigieg's proposals to address a wide range of AAPI concerns comes at a crucial moment for his campaign.
Its chief provision would be to invest $700 billion in early childhood education, including increased investments in dual language learning programs important to the community.
Other planks include doubling the proportion of teachers and school leaders of color within 10 years; fighting bullying and creating safe learning environments with a "School Climate Innovation Fund"; and making college free or subsidized for all students from families with incomes under $150,000.
As he was releasing his AAPI platform Wednesday, Buttigieg canceled a scheduled appearance in Miami due to illness following his participation in the 10th Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night in South Carolina.
The candidate had planned to take part in fundraisers and hold public events in Palm Beach County and Coral Gables, Fla., during what would have been his first public appearances in South Florida since August.