‘I Will be a Mentor to Young Korean-Americans’

Andy Kim (fourth from the left), congressman-elect for the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district, is raising a toast with attendees. From the left, Jun Choi, the former mayor of Edison, New Jersey, Charles Yoon, the chairman of KAAGNY (Korean American Association of Greater New York), Minsun Kim, the president of KAAGNY, Hyo-Sung Park, the consul general of the Republic of Korea in New York, and Kichol Kim, the 28th president of KAAGNY. (Photo via The Korea Times)

On Dec. 18, a reception was held for Andy Kim, who was elected in November to New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district, by the Korean American Association of Greater New York, with many invitees from the Korean community in the New York City area. Jinwoo Cho of The Korea Times reported in part:

This party for Andy Kim was his first official visit [with members of] the Korean community in the New York area. Kim started with a tour of the Museum of Korean American Heritage (MOKAH), which was followed by a congratulatory speech from Minsun Kim, president of the Korean American Association of Greater New York, and remarks by Hyo-Sung Park, the consul general of the Republic of Korea in New York.

Andy Kim, 36, who will be the first Korean-American member of Congress in 20 years, said that he will support the entry of second-generation Korean Americans into politics.  He added: “I will be a mentor to young Korean-Americans.”

While Kim visited MOKAH he said: “Thanks to my parents who have always taught me the importance of politics, I can be here to receive this honor at this moment.” He added: “I would like to talk to ambitious young Korean-Americans about how we can get into politics and contribute to the Korean community.”

Kim greeted almost 50 people from various associations and shook hands with them while he was viewing the comfort women statue in the museum. He said: “There is nothing more important than preserving our history of the Korean American community. I am surprised that we have a museum for Korean-American heritage and sincerely appreciate it.” He added: “It is very meaningful for me to receive congratulations from the Korean community because I believe that it was almost impossible for me to be elected a congressman without the support of Korean Americans.”

Kim, who will take his seat in Congress starting in January, said: “Since I have been with my parents who have gone through hard times as immigrants, I understand the difficulties of Korean immigrants better than anyone.” He added: “I want to make the world [a place] where anyone can make their American dreams come true regardless of their skin color or race. Some people might say that I have achieved everything I want but, I’ve just started. I will make an earnest effort for my constituents so that I can spend my entire life in public service.”

New York Ilbo also covered the event. Following is an excerpt of the article by Se-na Park:

 Minsun Kim said, “The victory of Andy Kim means not only his splendid achievement but also the pride of all Korean Americans. In this election, Andy Kim showed us huge potential that we, Korean Americans, can be global leaders if we work hard. He added a new page to the history of the Korean-American community.”

The consul general in New York, Hyo-Sung Park, said: “Andy Kim is warm-hearted and humble. With your integrity, confidence, professionalism, and strong leadership, I hope you make a large contribution to both countries, the Republic of Korea and the United States.”

Andy Kim defeated Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur in the midterm elections on Nov. 6. Kim will be the first Asian-American to win a seat in the congressional district in New Jersey and the first Korean-American Democrat to be elected a congressman.

As a second-generation Korean American, Andy Kim grew up in New Jersey and attended the University of Chicago. Kim later received a Rhodes scholarship and studied international relations at Magdalen College, Oxford.

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