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California's 40th District

Dec 13, 2023 | In The News

The Hill

Second-term Rep. Young Kim (Calif.) immediately stands out in the House for being one of only two Republican Korean women. But beyond those identifiers, Kim has become known for her leadership on Indo-Pacific issues. 

She is the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Indo-Pacific Affairs and was deeply involved in bringing South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to speak to a joint session of Congress earlier this year — personally delivering his invitation on an overseas trip with the committee. 

“[As] someone who was born and raised in the aftermath of the Korean War — all of this, to me, it’s just coming in full circle,” Kim said. 

She has also been notable with her vocal criticism of affirmative action, defending the Supreme Court decision this year that said race-based admission processes at Harvard and the University of North Carolina were unconstitutional. 

“A lot of people think that Asian Americans can go to schools, you know, just because of our different background race, because of our gender, or you know, because of our very unique immigrant story,” Kim said. “I think it’s an insult.” 

“Affirmative action is bad because, again, it doesn’t reward you for your hard work. It only rewards you because of who you are, because of your background, because of your race. I think that was sending a wrong message,” she added. 

Beyond affirmative action issues, Kim has also sought to reduce college costs with a bill that aims to improve financial aid transparency called the Understanding the True Cost of College Act. That measure has also been introduced in the Senate and included in a larger college costs bill. 

Kim stressed the importance of building relationships across the aisle to get things done with the slim GOP majority. 

“There’s no such thing as ‘we can only do it by ourselves,’” she said. “I try to enter the House floor as often as I can through the Democratic side, so as I come through, I do high-fives with my colleagues, say hello to them.” 

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