If Young Kim Wins in November, She Could Be the First Korean-American Woman Elected to Congress

An unprecedented number of women are chasing political office in the 2018 midterm elections. This month, we're profiling several worthy candidates who are seeking to effect change. 

InStyle November - RFO Kim - Lead
Photo: Courtesy Young Kim

While volunteering on the beaches of Guam as a girl, Young Kim and her mother recycled cans and bottles left along the seashore. Eventually the duo collected enough money to help build a church in their community on the U.S. territory. The experience helped form Kim's proclivity for giving back. Now she's aiming for Congress, hoping to bring bipartisan change to Washington.

In 2014, Kim became the first Korean-American woman to be elected to California State Assembly following years as a small business owner and financial analyst. While in State Assembly, she advocated for public safety, in particular for victims of domestic violence, by expanding protections for victims. If elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republican candidate from California's 39th district promises to also focus on improving the local economy, lowering taxes, and increasing STEM education funding by reaching across the aisle.

“Both sides are to blame [for partisan gridlock],” the former state legislator tells InStyle via email. “We need new perspectives in Washington, and [I want to] provide people with the opportunities they need to succeed, just like I had when I came here as a young girl.”

Getting into giving back: “My mission is to serve the people of CA's 39th district,” Kim says. When she was a little girl and recent immigrant from South Korea to the U.S. territory of Guam, Kim and her mother helped to fund the creation of a community church. “This church was the center of our immigrant community,” she says. “This taught me that we have a duty to give back to our community and make it a better place.”

Most important issues: “I am a Republican because I believe government needs to get out of the way, lower taxes, and reduce regulation so people and small businesses can thrive,” Kim says. To achieve that, Kim wants to bring bipartisan thinking to Washington, with a focus on building the economy and improving education. “The small businesses in Orange, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino Counties are the backbone of our communities,” Kim explains. “We must work to maintain a thriving and prosperous economy so that people can have the jobs and opportunities they need to flourish and achieve the American Dream.”

As a mother of four, she says she takes the importance of a good education to heart and will work to improve the public schooling system. “I know that without a good public education system that supports students and teachers, our children will not be prepared for the jobs and careers of the future,” she says. “I would like to be remembered as a strong mother, wife, and as someone who worked tirelessly on behalf of her community [to make] it a better place.”

Community inspiration: Kim finds inspiration in her constituents, including families who’ve been in California for decades as well as small business owners and immigrants who’ve just begun to realize their American dreams. “There are people who have been here for generations and there are those who immigrated here or are first or second-generation Americans that are just starting the first chapter in their American story,” Kim says. “They inspired me to run and deserve strong leadership on the federal level.”

Best advice: Kim wants women to leave partisanship at the door. “Be driven by results, not partisanship, and never forget that you serve the people that you represent,” she says. “Partisan gridlock and rhetoric have plagued Congress for too long. We need representatives that work to get results for the people they represent, and work with the other party to do that.”

For more stories like this, pick up the November issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Oct. 12.

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