Young Korean American Runs for Mayor of Edgewater, NJ

Jin Han Kim (Photo via The Korea Times)

“I would like to change the town government, which doesn’t listen to the voices of the residents.”

The challenge of 25-year-old Korean Jin Han Kim, who declared his candidacy for mayor of Edgewater, New Jersey, is drawing attention. The question is whether Kim, a young, grass-roots oriented politician, can achieve another election miracle, as Congressman Andy Kim (D.- 3rddistrict, NJ) did.

Kim, who is running in Democratic primary for the mayor of Edgewater, New Jersey on June 4, will face the current Mayor Michael McPartland… (…) it is not an easy challenge for the political novice Kim.

In an interview with The Korea Times on April 20, Kim said, “I want to create a government for residents. I decided to run for Edgewater mayor in order to bring about fundamental changes.”

Kim said that he had never thought of becoming a politician until he moved to Edgewater in 2017. Then he opened his eyes to community issues as he learned of the “Quanta Superfund site,” located right next to his home.

Kim said: “I realized that the current town government has not handled well the Quanta Superfund issue which is threatening the health of thousands of residents due to the release of toxic materials.” Kim added: “As I met with my neighbors who want to rectify this problem, I started to have hope for changing the town.”

So far, Kim has played a role in representing the rights of residents to the town government. He has consistently attended major meetings of city government and also played a role in conveying key points from the meetings to the residents. “I often participated in town council meetings and expressed many opinions, but I failed to receive attention from politicians,” Kim said, adding: “My hopes for creating a better government have grown, leading to my candidacy.”

Although Kim is young, he is an expert in local government policy. He currently works in Manhattan  providing policy consulting to local governments.

He also has a thorough understanding of major issues as he has delved deeper into community concerns. Residents from various backgrounds, including whites and Koreans, who have engaged with Kim as he campaigns door-to-door, are helping Kim’s election campaign.

Kim, a 1.5 generation Korean American who immigrated to America in the sixth grade, speaks Korean fluently and majored in economics, psychology and Chinese at Cornell University. He said: “Edgewater has lots of Korean residents. I hope many Korean voters will take part in the election and make a choice for the town.”

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