Assemblyman Ron Kim answers questions from KACE interns.

Assemblyman Ron Kim answers questions from KACE interns.

On August 16th, Assemblyman Ron Kim visited the Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE) for an interview regarding issues having to do with District 40.

Ron Kim, the first Korean American to be elected to the New York State Assembly, was elected in 2012 to District 40. He grew up in Flushing and returned there after attending school in upstate New York to provide public services to his hometown. When asked why he returned, he stated that after attending college, he learned to see things with a different perspective. He also wanted to see the theories he studied at college implemented locally. Fortunately, he was able to meet mentors such as John Liu who inspired him, allowing him to pursue a further career in politics. By working behind the scenes for different politicians, Ron Kim learned how things were run, how to treat the people who work for him, and, most importantly, how important it is to remain humble.

Last year, when a Korean American taxi driver was attacked in Brooklyn, Ron Kim stepped up to get Mr. Key Chun Kim the justice he deserved. Despite the fact that Mr. Kim was not in his district, Assemblyman Ron Kim called the district attorney to raise the attacker’s bail and ultimately pass the Taxi Driver Protection Act. While Ron Kim admits that he felt a personal responsibility to help Mr. Key Chun Kim because of his Korean American background, he asserts that he ultimately seeks to represent people from all backgrounds. Even in a district as diverse as Flushing, Ron Kim stays connected to the different communities by embracing that social problems cannot be solved overnight, and instead focusing on showing everybody that he cares regardless of race or status.  Assemblyman Ron Kim’s philosophy is that the government should provide as much help as possible to all people who are willing to work hard and overcome setbacks, whether they are recent immigrants or citizens.

Even though Ron Kim has been in office for less than a year, he has already made great accomplishments as he has passed and introduced over a dozen bills. In the past, he has supported bills having to do with gun control and the DREAM Act. However, everything has always been about the community. Ron Kim states that he is proudest of the service he has done for the senior citizens living in horrendous conditions in order to get them affordable housing. Currently, his focus is on funding public schools in less wealthy areas. He believes that these students should have longer school days and after school programs in order to provide them with the same amount of opportunities as anywhere else. In the future, Ron Kim hopes to continue to service the senior population and advocate for affordable housing.

Ron Kim firmly states that he did not run just to be the “First Korean American” in the New York State Assembly. His main focus was to be the best public servant he could be. Throughout his very competitive campaign, he made sure to remember his heritage and culture in order to be a strong individual and be more resilient and hard working than anyone else. Despite the support he received from the Korean American community, Ron Kim believes that he won the election due to the neutral, non-Asian population that took note of his rational and open nature. Though he understands that people vote for different reasons, such as ethnic pride, he also encourages voters to do research on the issues he stands for and vote based on whether they think he is the best candidate for the job.

 

From Left: Johanna Back, Esther Yun, Assemblyman Ron Kim, Kevin Yoon, Program Coordinator Chae No

From Left: Johanna Back, Esther Yun, Assemblyman Ron Kim, Kevin Yoon, Program Coordinator Chae No

KOREAN AMERICAN CIVIC EMPOWERMENT
NEW YORK OFFICE: 163-10 NORTHERN BLVD. #307 FLUSHING, NY 11358 TEL: (718) 961-4117 FAX: (718) 961-4603
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