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Friday, April 19, 2024

Andy Kim, promising to be the first Korean-American Senator

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[Meet the Candidates: Andy Kim]

“I will make sure we win the primary election.”

In the United States, amid the Democratic-Republican polarization evident in the presidential election, U.S. Rep. Andy Kim’s (D-N.J.) Senate bid has captured the Korean American community’s attention. Kim, a former diplomat who served three terms in the House of Representatives, has raised hopes of becoming the first East Coast Asian and first Korean-American senator. The Korea Daily interviewed Kim about his plans and messages as he kicks off the biggest race in New Jersey in the new year.

The following is an edited excerpt from the interview.

Andy Kim

-Some say that because of the extreme conflict, younger generations feel that voting won’t make a difference.
“The presidential election is even more concerning because it is being held in the midst of international conflicts and crises. No one in government, including the House of Representatives, seems to be actively addressing these issues. There is mistrust and polarization, which is why we should be more interested and involved in politics. The biggest enemy of democracy is not the other party, but indifference. The public must judge and decide. I hope the Senate and the House of Representatives will take a more active role in this situation.”

-What is your position on the Israel-Hamas conflict as a diplomatic expert?
“The White House and the Democratic Party’s stance at this point is that we need to prevent further damage through conversation. Our thinking centers on achieving a ceasefire or resolving the conflict, yet the actual situation demands that we need more time and a thorough process. Of course, this is a diplomatic endeavor, not a military endeavor.”

-On the progress of your Senate campaign.
“It’s an exciting dream to become the first Korean-American Senator, though the competition will be tough. My opponent, Murphy, possesses deep party connections and substantial funding. But I have strengths as a three-term house of representative and experience as a public servant in the foreign service. I hope voters recognize these strengths and vote for me.”

-You have raised $2.75 million in the last six months.
“Unlike Murphy, who has raised over $3 million, I haven’t accepted money from corporations or PACs.”

-Multiple unions have endorsed you.
“I believe my experience lends me credibility. I served three terms and was the Democratic nominee in a district that Trump won. I think my message of building a society where working families work hard and get paid for it has resonated. My philosophy will not change even when I go to the Senate.”

-Family must be your number 1 support. How have your motivated sons responded?
“They’re in elementary school, aged 6 and 8. Being young, they don’t fully grasp it yet, but I’ve told them that we’re doing this for their future. They’re excited and excited about the bigger challenge. It’s going to be a campaign where I give everything I have for them, and they’re going to be proud of their dad.”

-Do you have any message for the Korean American community?
“We will win. I aspire to share this dream-like victory with the Korean American community, an unprecedented achievement.”

BY BRIAN CHOI, JUNHAN PARK    [ichoi@koreadaily.com]