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[Staff Attorney Chejin Park, Congressman Scott Garrett, President Dongchan Kim]

On January 29th, 2013, Congressman Scott Garrett visited the Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE) to come closer to the Korean American community. Congressman Garrett met with Korean American small business owners in his district to hear their concerns and questions.

Congressman Scott Garrett is the current Representative of the 5th Congressional District of the State of New Jersey. The 5th District has many Korean Americans, and according to statistics, about 5,000 districts reside in the area. Congressman Garrett was elected in 2002 as part of the Republicans. He is currently in two of the most influential committees in Congress: the Budget Committee, and the Financial Services committee. He is also the chairman of the Capital Markets subcommittee.

Garrett is known to be pro-Korea on his positions, and he has maintained a continued interest in concerns of Korean Americans in New Jersey and US-Korea relations. He was a support of many Korea-related resolutions such as H.Res. 121, also known as the “Comfort Women Resolution,” and the H.Con.Res.109 which expressively urged the Chinese government to not repatriate North Korea refugees. He also played a crucial role in passing a resolution that honors the achievements of Korean Americans.

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Congressman Garrett Answering Questions

Congressman Garrett stated that despite the austere economy, the 113th Congress will strive to benefit the residents of the State of New Jersey.

Congressman Garrett revealed that immigration reform is crucial to the future of United States. He stated that for the good of national defense, the economy, and private businesses, everyone must work harder for immigration reform. Garrett revealed that he has been working on the immigration issue for a very long time. In addition, he stated that the Republican Party decided that immigration will be on top of their agenda, and the leadership is very supportive of immigration reform. However, he stated that within the new immigration reform, provisions for security must be encompassed. He predicted that immigration will bring a lot of economic benefits to many people in the United States. In fact, he has personally heard the complaints of proprietors in his district about how the current immigration system makes it difficult for them to manage employees and make new hires. Garrett’s own staff reported to him on how ineffectual the current system is, citing the difficulties of the entire process and the extended wait times.

A small business owner located along Broad Avenue in Palisades Park commented that fifteen stores within three blocks are in the same line of work, and a large Korean corporation is making it even more difficult for small business owners to run their businesses. Garrett commented that this is under the town’s jurisdiction, the town must stick to its own guidelines, and cannot make regulations to bar certain businesses from coming in.

Garrett staunchly supports federal relief funds for those affected by Hurrican Sandy. He said that he understood where the legislators were coming from when they requested federal assistance. In addition, he complimented Governor Chris Christie’s measures for the hurricane relief. His district was affected by Hurricane Sandy as well, with many properties being damaged by water or debris.

A small business owner working in constructions commented that there isn’t enough information available for Korean Americans. Garrett stated that should the owner require assistance, he should feel free to contact his local office.

Garrett stated that immigration and the economy seem to be big topics for Korean Americans and he encountered visa issues for the first time in the Korean American community.

In response to a question regarding increased taxes, Garrett answered that the raised taxes will be placed into the Social Security, where people are eligible to receive funds after they turn 65. However, he criticized the tax increase, stating that this will not be enough to replenish the Social Security. He actually stated that he is against tax increases because it decreases the spending power of ordinary citizens, and will therefore affect the economy in a negative fashion. He believes that lower taxes will increase the households’ income, thereby helping the economy. This will be enough to supplement Social Security, and concluded that he will do his best to facilitate the recovery of the economy.

Congressman Garrett with KACE and local attendees.

Congressman Garrett with KACE and local attendees.

KOREAN AMERICAN CIVIC EMPOWERMENT
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