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August 20, 2013, Roy Cho, a candidate for the U.S. House of Congress of the New Jersey 5th district visited the KACE office in Hackensack to speak with KACE interns about the importance of engagement and reason for his running for the position.

Roy Cho is running to become the Democratic candidate for Congressman of the 5th Congressional District in 2014. Cho is the son of Korean immigrant parents. He grew up going through the public education system in New Jersey. Following a successful high school education, he continued to Brown University for his undergraduate education and Georgetown University for his J.D. He has worked for U.S. Senator Byron L. Dorgan and James P. Fox, the Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He is currently employed at Kirkland & Ellis LLP. He is a founding board member of “New Jersey Needs You” and a board member of the “Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative.”

roy cho

He believes that now is the time for Korean Americans to have a voice in Congress. He decided to pursue politics coming out of college with a degree in law.

When Roy was in fourth grade, he started to thinking about his identity as Korean American. Roy, being one of the only Asian kids, was called Chinese; he was asked if his face was so flat because his father beat him. This event was extremely significant because he became aware that racism and social boundaries truly existed. However, Roy used this to his advantage by gaining a new perspective and passion.

Having been in the track and wrestling team in high school, Roy Cho compares the U.S. Congress to the 800 M in track, a quality that he admires about Congress; the 800 meter requires both sprinting and long distances. In politics, he believes that he must focus on local and federal issues, long term and short term. Therefore, the congressional seat fascinates him because it would give him one foot in local politics, and one in the federal.

Roy was introduced to many local politicians including New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinburg. Also, he already fundraised over $100,000 and the number seems to be picking up momentum. To get elected, he would put efforts of the two categories considered important in politics: fundraising and finding support through networking.

According the Roy, he is seen as an impressive potential by the National Democratic Congressional Candidate Committee and if he continues to show growth in support and fundraising, the committee will endorse national money into his campaign. This support stems from his steadfast attitude and bravery, challenging any stereotypes of Asian Americans.

Roy Cho believes that the Korean American community should also support him because he exemplifies the fact that Asian Americans are equal to any minority in that they have a voice, and the potential to succeed.

He admits that his opponent Congressman Scott Garrett does have decades of experience over himself. However, Roy points out that during Garrett’s five terms, he hasn’t done many things to improve local communities. Roy also notes that statistically, 33% of the people would vote for himself, while 59% would consider voting for a candidate other than Garrett. Lastly, Roy Cho informs that he considers immigration an important issue, and that Scott Garretts anti-immigration tendencies are not beneficial in current times. Therefore, he believes that he has a potential to win the election.

Roy Cho believes that social and psychological boundaries that prevent people from seeing minorities in politics must be taken down. As more and more Asian Americans become prominent political figures, he believes that they will be better integrated into the society. He urges everybody to stay engaged and strive for any possibilities.

Roy Cho group


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