Republican Kim headed to Congress

SANTA ANA, Calif. (City News Service) — Former Assemblywoman Young Kim will be among two Republican House members from Orange County, both female immigrants from South Korea, when the 117th Congress convenes in January.

When Kim is sworn in she will join Republican Michelle Steel and Marilyn Strickland, D-Washington, as the first Korean American women in the House.

Rep. Gil Cisneros conceded to Kim after he fell behind by 4,145 votes in their rematch in the 39th Congressional District, according to figures released Nov. 13 by the Secretary of State’s Office. Kim leads 50.6%-49.4% and 172,253-168,108 in the district, which runs from Walnut in the north to Chino Hills in the east, Hacienda Heights in the west and Fullerton in the south.

Kim, R-La Habra, has promised to work to ensure Americans have access to quality and affordable health care that can help them through the coronavirus pandemic, work with federal officials to minimize the damage of the pandemic and put in place guardrails to prevent a resurgence or future pandemic.

Kim has said she will work with her colleagues to study the early missteps responding to the pandemic and invest in emergency preparedness. Kim said she will work on bipartisan legislation that invests in the economy, gives small businesses the resources they need to recover and brings jobs back quickly.

Kim has also pledged to “find bipartisan solutions to fix our broken health care system,” “ensure our economy has the support it needs to bounce back stronger than ever,” “stand up against Sacramento-style policies that raise taxes, hurt small businesses and kill jobs” and “ensure we lessen the burden of taxes on struggling families and business to make life more affordable and allow our communities to thrive.”

Kim’s victory avenges her loss to Cisneros in 2018 when she was leading in the vote count and traveled to Washington, D.C., for orientation for newly elected House members, only to be overtaken by Cisneros in late-arriving ballots.

Cisneros won 51.6%-48.4%, 126,002-118,391, in 2018 to succeed Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, who held the seat from 1993-2019. Kim had been a member of Royce’s staff.

Kim was born in Incheon, South Korea on Oct. 18, 1962, and spent her childhood in Seoul. She and her family left South Korea in 1975, living first in Guam, where she finished junior high school, and then Hawai‘i, where she attended high school.

Kim has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from USC. She was a member of Royce’s staff for 21 years, both when he was a state senator and a Congressman, as his community liaison and director of Asian affairs.

Kim defeated Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, in 2014, becoming the first Korean American Republican woman elected to the Legislature. She lost a rematch to Quirk-Silva in 2016.

“As an immigrant to America, I know that the promise of America is alive,” Kim said. “America is a country where an immigrant girl from South Korea can rise to be a representative in the United States Congress.

“I will work to continue to keep that promise alive.”

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