As Young Kim, a 57-year-old Korean-American woman, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, four of five Korean-Americans who campaigned in the 2020 election, succeeded in entering the U.S. Federal Assembly for the first time.
Former lawmaker Kim Chang-Joon was the first Korean-American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992. There was very little presence of the Korean community when he first entered politics because the first generation of immigrants had difficulty entering mainstream politics due to their poor English skills and lack of political connections.
However, after a long absence of Korean-Americans in mainstream American politics, Andy Kim followed the congressman in 2018. After two years, in the general election held with the presidential election on December 3rd, 2020, four Korean-American congressmen were produced, including Andy Kim's re-election.
In particular, three of the elected were women. It was the first time that a Korean-American congresswoman is to be in American politics. Michelle Park, Park Eun-Joo, served as chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Marilyn Strickland, Soon-Ja, was born to a Korean mother and a black father, a former U.S. soldier in Korea. She had lived in Seoul until she was three years old before moving to the U.S.
Young Kim or Kim Yong-Ok, came to the U.S. with her family at the age of 13. She served as an Asian policy adviser to Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, for twenty-one years. The New York Times reported that after the previous defeat against Gil Cisneros in 2018, Young Kim won the 39th election in California on December 13th by 1.2% points. On the election website, Kim mentioned, "As an immigrant, I achieved the American dream with all the efforts and determination."
Currently, only about 2.5 million Korean Americans live in the U.S. However, they stand out in various fields such as economy, academia, and culture. Their activities are a symbol of reaffirming the U.S. melting pot and could serve as a firm bridge between Seoul and Washington.