Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Congratulations to all Korean American politicians who won in yesterday's election:

Michelle Park Steel - Member, California Board of Equalization
Sukhee Kang - Mayor, City of Irvine, California
Miller Oh - City Council, City of Buena Park, California
Steve Hwangbo - City Council, City of La Palma, California
Mary Chung Hayashi - California State Assembly
Jane Kim - City Supervisor, City of San Francisco, California
Paull Shin - Washington State Senate
Cindy Ryu - Washington State House of Representatives
B.J. Pak - Georgia General Assembly
Hoon-Yung Hopgood - Michigan State Senate
John Choi - County Attorney, Ramsey County, Minnesota
Jason Kim - Borough Hall, Borough of Palisades Park, New Jersey
Tina Yoo - Judge, Court of Appeals, Texas
Sylvia Chang Luke - Hawaii House of Representatives
Sharon Har - Hawaii House of Representatives
Donna Mercado Kim - Hawaii State Senate

Way to make your parents proud! ;)


  1. So wait, both of Washington State's senators are Korean-Americans?

  2. Oh, they are state senators. LOL

  3. I voted for one of these folks and I think I went to Yonsei with another.

  4. I am a voter in Cindy Ryu's district. She seemed much better qualified than her opponent.

    FYI, she won a position as a state representative, not senator.

  5. Thanks Michael. Correction was made.

  6. One in Minnesota???? That's unexpected for me as I always think Minnesota is the whitest state in America!! Anyway, congrats to all of these awesome Korean American. Care to put your name on the list some time in the future the Korean? :)

  7. Minnesota may be the "whitest" state in the Union, but it also has the highest concentration of Korean adoptees per capita in the world (as far as I understand). I don't know why this is. It might have something to do with the fact that many whites in Minnesota have Scandinavian descent and a good number of Korean adoptees in Europe were adopted in the Scandinavian countries.

  8. Haiyen, politics is the last thing the Korean wants to do.

    KG, the Korean is convinced that Minnesota must have the nicest people in the world.

  9. Thanks for the list!
    Here are a couple of links to BJ Park

    And Jason Kim


  10. Thanks for this list, "The Korean"! You're providing a valuable service.

    Both of our U.S. Senators from Washington State are female, as is our Governor.

    At 54,000 residents, City of Shoreline is the 15th largest city out of 281 in Washington State, WA. Becoming the first Korean American female mayor in USA, I served two years, 2008-2009 as Mayor - chair of the City Council since we have a Council-Manager form of government. Though it has a non-white population around 20%, the frequent voters are mostly white. I'd venture to guess, based on walking lists and those who answered my knocks on the door, at 95%.

    We have always had either a Korean or another Asian on the City Council since its incorporation in 1995.

    I am looking forward to serving the State of Washington, hopefully serving on transportation, economic development and local governments committees.

    State Representative-Elect from 32nd Legislative District
    Cindy Ryu, MBA

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  12. DB wrote:
    I am a Korean adoptee from MN with a Scandinavian German family. I think it has mostly to do with the connections the adoption agencies (Lutheran Social Services) that, for whatever reason, had to ones in Korea.

    And KG Jung wrote:
    It might have something to do with the fact that many whites in Minnesota have Scandinavian descent and a good number of Korean adoptees in Europe were adopted in the Scandinavian countries.

    Much of my family is from Minnesota (Rochester... Mayo Clinic and all that) and my childhood (and adulthood) was infused with Minnesotaness in so many ways. I've been thinking and hypothesizing about this Minnesota-adoptee connection since I was a kid.

    As KG and DB suggest, it has a lot to do with Scandinavianness and Lutheranness, even though not all Minnesotans are Lutheran or Scandinavian (many are Korean!). Minnesota was settled in such a way, with the railroad companies setting up towns populated this one by Scandinavian Lutherans, that one by German Lutherans, this one by German Catholics, that one by Scandinavian Lutherans again, this one by... And it was done in such a way that each group felt the cultural comforts that come from being around "one's own" but without a sense of dominance that "this places belongs to [our group]." That made a comfortable acceptance of the universalness of Minnesota, a place where people who are different all got along, even though it might appear to outsiders like one big sea of creamy White faces (and Korean adoptees don't change the creamy whiteness that much^^).

    But Lutheran values of community and belonging and acceptance were a big part of that, as well as a sense that it was a Christian duty to help others less fortunate than you. The "Christian values" of Minnesota manifest themselves very different from some places in the Bible Belt, I'd say.

    So all these provide an excellent foundation that adoption to help kids in need is a fine idea, and there should be no problem with bringing in people who are non-White (or any other non-Scandinavian). I think the prominence of the Korean War was also part of that, bringing an awareness of the suffering that happened there. And Minnesotans being the people they are, it was never the "Forgotten War" to them. Maybe the Vietnam War may have even made them remember all the suffering Korean families as well.

    And there you have it. Genuine folks — maybe a little conservative but accepting of others. Many communities also sponsored Hmong refugees and others to come to resettle in their communities, which is a bit different from adopting someone into your immediate family, but it comes from the same place. My friend-later-girlfriend whose family had emigrated from Ethiopia had friends and relatives who were sponsored by church groups in Minnesota and ended up there.

    There's a bit of spillover of these values in neighboring Wisconsin and Iowa, and perhaps the Dakotas and other parts of the Midwest, but Minnesota is the center of that confluence of the predominance of Lutheran values and a sense of acceptance of other groups.


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