Irvine mayor Sukhee Kang is throwing his hat into the ring and will challenge the John Campbell-Dana Rohrabacher GOP fistfight winner for a seat in Congress in 2012. If the proposed Huntington Beach-Irvine-Newport Beach-Laguna Beach district holds in the proposed redistricting, the top two emerge and a close GOP vote gives Kang an opportunity. If elected, Kang will be the only Korean-American in Congress.
Kang would draw on progressive voters in HB, Irvine and Laguna Beach plus a strong support from Korean American voters known to cross party lines to vote for a candidate and not a political party. Kang carries a track record of steering Irvine through a difficult economic climate, unsurpassed support for Irvine schools, practical and successful business experience and a track record of working across party lines with elected from other parties in other cities. Regardless of the battle between Campbell and Rohrabacher, voter registration still favors the GOP but with a bloodbath between Dana and John in an open primary would drain finances and votes from the GOP advantage leaving Kang in situation to raise cash and shake hands for a general election. With 2012 being a presidential election, Kang can benefit from President Obama’s long coattails in OC.
Here’s a copy of his announcement in the Korean media from last Friday. Kang is alerting supporters to his decision in a message this week.
“America needs leaders in Congress with real world experience to help our nation create jobs, balance the budget, improve education, protect our environment and preserve our medicare system. This is exactly the kind of experience and proven record of accomplishment that I will bring to Washington.”
Kang’s accomplishments in Irvine as mayor and as a member of the city council include:
- Improvements to public safety
- Protecting schools from budget cuts
- Making Irvine one of the greenest cities in the country.
Kang became the first Korean American mayor of a major U.S. city in 2008, and was re-elected again in November 2010 for a second term with more than 64 percent of the vote. Kang was born South Korea and immigrated to the U.S. in 1977, beginning a successful career in sales and customer service management at Circuit City before entering public service.
The website www.kangforcongress.com has been established for information about donations and ways to volunteer.
Here’s the press release:
IRVINE MAYOR SUKHEE KANG EMBARKS ON HISTORIC CAMPAIGN FOR UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Vows to Bring the Same Forward Thinking Leadership to Washington that has Helped Irvine become one of the Safest, Smartest and Greenest Large Cities in the Country
Irvine, CA – Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang today announced his candidacy for the newly reconfigured Orange County Coastal seat with the support of local constituents and leaders from throughout Orange Country. The new seat has not yet been assigned a number, but the current proposed outlines correspond generally to Congressional District Forty Eight.
“As someone who has served in local government for close to a decade, I will bring a direct, hands-on approach and vast regional experience to Congress. Our district deserves a representative who will protect and fight for the interests of the people of Orange County,” said Kang. “I look forward to running in California’s new open primary system in which all candidates are on the same ballot, and every voter regardless of party registration can vote for any candidate.”
After two successful terms on the City Council, the citizens of Irvine elected Sukhee Kang in 2008 as Mayor, becoming the first Korean American to serve as Mayor of a major U.S. city. In November 2010, Kang was overwhelmingly reelected with more than 64 percent of the vote. During his term in the Irvine City Council, Mayor Kang has been recognized as an effective leader who finds solutions to public safety, education, quality of life and economic vitality. Under his leadership, Irvine has continued to be recognized as one of the safest, smartest, greenest and best-managed cities in America. Some major accomplishments include:
- FBI’s Safest Large City in America (seven consecutive years )
- Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live in California 2008
- Business Week’s Best City to Ride out the Recession (2008)
- 2008 National Resources Defense Council’s 2009 Smartest Cities (2nd in California)
- Popular Science “Top 25 Greenest Cities in America
- One of the 100 Best communities for Young People.
- 2010 Freedom Award
“Mayor Kang is known as Irvine’s ‘education mayor’ for his leadership efforts fighting against state budget cuts,” said former Irvine Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Gwen Gross, “I am supporting his candidacy because I know he will continue fighting for the right issues as a member of Congress.”
Mayor Kang’s own American success story has helped guide his inclusive and engaging leadership style. Active throughout the Irvine community, he has forged strong and supportive relationships with the business community, education community, and many cultural, service and non-profit organizations that serve the citizens of Irvine and Orange County.
“Mayor Kang has led the City of Irvine during tough economic times. He has always been a strong believer in protecting the safety of our families and businesses. As President of the Irvine Police Association, I have always appreciated Mayor Kang’s ability to bring solutions to the table. Mayor Kang has the passion and intelligence to work cooperatively and end the ongoing partisan gridlock. That is why, I believe he will be a breath of fresh air to the U.S. House of Representatives.” said Gary Wyatt – President of the Irvine Police Association.*
*Title for identification purposes only
Prior to his service on the Irvine City Council, Mayor Kang served as a Governor’s appointee on the California Workforce Investment Board and was the Mayor’s appointee to the Irvine Finance Commission.
In addition to his official City responsibilities, Mayor Kang serves on the Orange County Great Park Board, Southern California Association of Governments Regional Council, Orange County Council of Governments, League of California Cities Orange County Division, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National League of Cities.
Mayor Kang and his wife Joanne have lived in Orange County for 34 years. Their son Alan, a graduate of UC San Diego and earned his MBA from USC Marshall School of Business, is a Senior Scientist at Johnson & Johnson; their daughter Angie, a graduate from UC Berkeley’s School of Law (Boalt Hall,) is currently an attorney with Latham and Watkins.