Young Kim
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California
Assumed office
January 3, 2021
Preceded byGil Cisneros
Constituency39th district (2021–2023)
40th district (2023–present)
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 65th district
In office
December 1, 2014 – November 30, 2016
Preceded bySharon Quirk-Silva
Succeeded bySharon Quirk-Silva
Personal details
Choe Young-oak

(1962-10-18) October 18, 1962 (age 61)
Incheon, South Korea
Political partyRepublican
Charles Kim
(m. 1986)
Residence(s)Anaheim Hills, California, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Southern California (BBA)
WebsiteHouse website
Young Kim
(김) 최영옥[1]
(金) 崔映玉[2]
Revised Romanization(Gim) Choe Yeong-ok
McCune–Reischauer(Kim) Ch'oe Yŏng'ok

Young Oak Kim[a] (née Choe, Korean: 최영옥; born October 18, 1962) is an American politician and businesswoman serving as the U.S. representative for California's 40th congressional district, previously representing the 39th congressional district from 2021 to 2023. Her district includes northern parts of Orange County. In the 2020 United States House of Representatives elections, Kim, Michelle Park Steel, and Marilyn Strickland became the first three Korean-American women elected to the United States Congress. Kim and Steel are also the first Korean-Americans elected to Congress from California since Jay Kim.

A member of the Republican Party, Young Kim served as the California State Assemblywoman for the 65th district from 2014 to 2016, defeating the incumbent Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva in 2014. Kim lost the seat in a rematch with Quirk-Silva in 2016. Kim was the first South Korean-born Republican woman elected to the California State Legislature.[3]

In 2018, Kim was the Republican nominee in California's 39th congressional district, narrowly losing to Democrat Gil Cisneros in the general election. In 2020, Kim defeated Cisneros in a rematch.[4] Along with Steel and David Valadao, Kim was among the first three Republican candidates to unseat an incumbent House Democrat in California since 1994.

Early life and education

Kim was born in 1962 in Incheon, South Korea,[5] and spent her childhood in Seoul. She and her family left South Korea in 1975, living first in Guam,[5] where she finished junior high school, and then Hawaii, where she attended high school.[6] She has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Southern California.[7]


Private sector

After graduating from USC, Kim worked as a financial analyst for First Interstate Bank and then as a controller for JK Sportswear Manufacturing.[3] She also started her own business in the clothing industry.[6]

Kim worked for state senator Ed Royce[5] after her husband met Royce while promoting a nonprofit organization, the Korean American Coalition.[3] After Royce was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Kim worked for 21 years as his community liaison and director of Asian affairs.[6] During much of that time she also appeared regularly on her own television show, "LA Seoul with Young Kim", and her radio show, "Radio Seoul", on which she discussed political issues affecting Korean Americans.[3]

California State Assembly

Young Kim in the State Assembly

Kim was elected to the Assembly in 2014, defeating Democratic Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva. In 2016, Quirk-Silva defeated Kim.[8]

U.S. House of Representatives



See also: 2018 United States House of Representatives elections in California § District 39

In 2017, Kim announced her candidacy for the Orange County Board of Supervisors, a nonpartisan office, in the 4th district, which includes Fullerton, Placentia, La Habra, and Brea, plus portions of Anaheim and Buena Park.[9] In January 2018, immediately after Royce announced his retirement, Kim announced that she would instead enter the race to succeed Royce as the representative for California's 39th congressional district.[10] Royce endorsed Kim the day after announcing his retirement.[6] Kim received the most votes in the primary election among a field of 17 candidates, allowing her to advance to the general election along with the Democratic candidate Gil Cisneros.

Polls showed a tight race throughout the campaign, and FiveThirtyEight called the race a toss-up.[11] Early results on the night of the election showed Kim with a 52.5%-47.5% lead,[12][13] but she ultimately lost to Cisneros, who received 51.6% of the vote to Kim's 48.4% after mail-in ballots were counted.[14] As the ongoing ballot count showed Kim losing the race, she made allegations of voter fraud but provided no evidence.[15] She conceded on November 18.[16]


Young Kim campaigning in 2019

See also: 2020 United States House of Representatives elections in California § District 39

In April 2019, Kim announced that she would run again to represent the 39th district. Immediately after her announcement, top party officials rallied behind her, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.[17] In the March 2020 jungle primary, Kim received 48.3% of the vote to Cisneros's 46.9%, and thus both advanced out of the primary to a rematch.

Kim proved to be one of the top House fund-raising challengers across the nation, outraising Cisneros $6.16 million to $4.36 million.[18][19] Unlike in the previous cycle, most election observers rated the race "Lean Democrat", with FiveThirtyEight predicting Kim had a 26% chance of winning.[20]

At the end of election night, Kim led by about 1,000 votes. As mail-in ballots were counted, her lead continued to grow, in contrast to the trend in the previous election. The Associated Press projected her as the winner on November 13. She won even as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden carried the district by 10 points. Kim, Michelle Steel and Marilyn Strickland became the first Korean-American women elected to Congress.[21]


See also: 2022 United States House of Representatives elections in California § District 40

In December 2021, Kim announced that she would seek reelection in California's 40th congressional district, due to redistricting.


On January 3, 2021, Kim was sworn in to the 117th United States Congress.

On January 6, 2021, Kim voted to certify Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, declining to support Republican-led efforts to contest the results.[22]

On January 13, 2021, Kim voted against the second impeachment of Donald Trump.[23] She said she supported censuring Trump but not impeaching him.[24]

On February 4, 2021, Kim joined 10 other Republican House members voting with all voting Democrats to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of her Education and Labor Committee and Budget Committee assignments in response to controversial political statements she had made.[25]

On February 25, 2021, Kim voted against the Equality Act, a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation by amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to explicitly include new protections.[26] In a subsequent statement, Kim stated that she believed that all people should be treated with respect and given equal opportunities, but justified her vote on the grounds that the bill "undermines Americans’ religious freedoms, limits protections for people of faith and opens the door to ending the decades-long bipartisan Hyde Amendment."[27]

On February 27, 2021, Kim joined all Republicans to vote against the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, citing lack of bipartisanship and criticizing the bill for only having 9% of the funding directly going toward combating COVID-19, with most of the aid not spent until 2022.[28]

Kim is rated among the most centrist of Republican representatives by Govtrack, based on patterns of sponsorship and co-sponsorship of legislation with Democrats.[29][30] She voted opposite to the majority of the Republican caucus on several key votes, among them the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and a bill to delay spending cuts in Medicare and other services. Kim voted with the majority of the Republican caucus 96% of the time.[30]

As of January 2023, Kim had voted in line with President Joe Biden's stated position 31.0% of the time.[31]

Committee assignments

For the 118th Congress:[32]

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Kim's congressional platform included opposition to the Affordable Care Act, support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, support for "the anti-sanctuary city stance taken by the County Board of Supervisors"[36] and support for chain migration.[37][38][39] NBC News reported that the issues important to Kim included "creating jobs and keeping taxes low", "beef[ing] up education funding in science, technology, engineering and math", and reforming the immigration system to "ensure those brought to the U.S. 'as children without legal documentation are treated fairly and with compassion.'"[6] She supports student loan forgiveness if the borrower is on the verge of bankruptcy.[37] Kim favors reduced regulations and increased trade.[38] She is a fiscal conservative.[40]


In June 2020, after the rising calls to "defund the police" in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder, Kim called these demands "irresponsible" and said that defunding law enforcement would make communities more vulnerable. She called for increased accountability and transparency in law enforcement, as well as an increase in training and reevaluation of guidelines to decrease the use of unnecessary force. Kim also argued that the first steps in making progress would require "treating each other with respect regardless of our race or occupation and having honest conversations without accusations or judgement."[41]

Donald Trump

In June 2020, Kim criticized President Trump for referring to COVID-19 as "Kung Flu", and received backlash from some in her party.[42][43]

Foreign affairs


Kim has expressed her concerns on the issue of divided families on the Korean Peninsula, especially Korean Americans with relatives in North Korea. In February 2021, she and Grace Meng co-sponsored H.R.826, which would require the secretary of state and the U.S. Special Envoy on North Korea Human Rights to prioritize helping reunite divided Korean American families.[44][45]

Kim also worked on the comfort woman issue from the days of Korea under Japanese rule and has said that victims of human trafficking and slavery should be supported. While a California assemblywoman, she attended a protest against Japan's war crimes during WWII at Pershing Square, Los Angeles during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's 2015 visit to the U.S. During that gathering, she spoke about comfort women and demanded that the Japanese government issue an apology.[46] In February 2021, she criticized Harvard Law School professor John Mark Ramseyer's claims that those women were "willing sex workers" and urged him to apologize.[47]

LGBT rights

In 2014, Kim opposed a California law "requiring schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice and participate in sports by their gender identity rather than their anatomical gender." During an Orange County Register interview, she said she opposed the law out of concern that new school facilities could need to be constructed, additional spending could be required, students could change their identity "on a whim", and that male-to-female transgender students would have an unfair advantage in sports. She has said transgender people "deserve to be respected" but that she does not believe that LGBT individuals were born with their identities or orientations.[48]

Kim opposed same-sex marriage in 2018.[49][50] In 2015, she and 61 other Assembly members coauthored a resolution establishing June as Pride Month and recognizing same-sex marriage.[51][better source needed] When asked about this, Kim said it was to "recognize individuals that are making contributions to our community, [including] the LGBTQ community."[citation needed]

In 2022, Kim opposed the Respect for Marriage Act, which recognizes the validity of same-sex marriages. The law overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. She voted against the several versions of the bill that came before the House.[52][53]


In 2016, Kim's Assembly reelection platform included opposing changes to Proposition 13, which limits property taxes.[54]

Personal life

Kim is married to Charles Kim,[55] a nonprofit administrator and philanthropist. They currently live in Anaheim Hills, California,[56] and previously lived in La Habra and Fullerton. They have four children.[57] Kim is a Christian.[5]

Electoral history

2014 California State Assembly election

See also: 2014 California State Assembly elections

California's 65th State Assembly district election, 2014
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Young Kim 21,593 54.7
Democratic Sharon Quirk-Silva (incumbent) 17,896 45.3
Total votes 39,489 100.0
General election
Republican Young Kim 42,376 54.6
Democratic Sharon Quirk-Silva (incumbent) 35,204 45.4
Total votes 77,580 100.0
Republican gain from Democratic

2016 California State Assembly election

See also: 2016 California State Assembly election

California's 65th State Assembly district election, 2016
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sharon Quirk-Silva 42,890 54.3
Republican Young Kim (incumbent) 36,028 45.7
Total votes 78,918 100.0
General election
Democratic Sharon Quirk-Silva 69,806 52.5
Republican Young Kim (incumbent) 63,119 47.5
Total votes 132,925 100
Democratic gain from Republican

2018 California's 39th congressional district election

Main article: 2018 California's 39th congressional district election

California's 39th congressional district election, 2018
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Young Kim 30,019 21.2
Democratic Gil Cisneros 27,469 19.4
Republican Phil Liberatore 20,257 14.3
Democratic Andy Thorburn 12,990 9.2
Republican Shawn Nelson 9,750 6.9
Republican Bob Huff 8,699 6.2
Democratic Sam Jammal 7,613 5.4
Democratic Mai-Khanh Tran 7,430 5.3
Democratic Herbert H. Lee 5,988 4.2
Republican Steven C. Vargas 4,144 2.9
Democratic Suzi Park Leggett 2,058 1.5
Republican John J. Cullum 1,747 1.2
No party preference Karen Lee Schatzle 903 0.6
No party preference Steve Cox 856 0.6
Republican Andrew Sarega 823 0.6
American Independent Sophia J. Alexander 523 0.4
American Independent Ted Alemayhu 176 0.1
Total votes 141,445 100.0
General election
Democratic Gil Cisneros 126,002 51.6
Republican Young Kim 118,391 48.4
Total votes 229,860 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican

2020 California's 39th congressional district election

California's 39th congressional district primary election, 2020
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Young Kim 83,782 48.4
Democratic Gil Cisneros (incumbent) 81,133 46.8
Independent Steve Cox 8,264 4.8
Total votes 173,179 100.0
General election
Republican Young Kim 172,253 50.6
Democratic Gil Cisneros (incumbent) 168,108 49.4
Total votes 316,047 100.0
Republican gain from Democratic

2022 California's 40th congressional district election

California's 40th congressional district primary election, 2022
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Asif Mahmood 74,607 40.9
Republican Young Kim (incumbent) 63,346 34.7
Republican Greg Raths 42,404 23.2
Republican Nick Taurus 2,193 1.2
Total votes 182,550 100.0
General election
Republican Young Kim (incumbent) 161,589 56.8
Democratic Asif Mahmood 122,722 43.2
Total votes 284,311 100.0
Republican hold

See also


  1. ^ "Oak" also sometimes romanized as "Ok"


  1. ^ Kim Jong-won (July 20, 2015). "한인 여성 첫 하원의원 '영 김' 20일 방한". AsiaToday (in Korean). Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  2. ^ 김영옥 (金映玉) 미국 상원 하원 최초의 한국인 여성. Global Economic News (in Korean). April 22, 2018. Archived from the original on March 24, 2021. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d White, Jeremy B. "Assemblywoman Young Kim recalls parents' sacrifice to move to U.S." The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  4. ^ Staggs, Brooke (November 13, 2020). "Republican challenger Young Kim unseats Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros in 39th District". The Orange County Register. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d Doyle, Josh (November 10, 2018). "Young Kim could win seat in US congress but not all Koreans are happy". South China Morning Post. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e Fuchs, Chris (May 16, 2018). "Young Kim's Congressional campaign is a run two decades in the making". NBC. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  7. ^ Samuel Mountjoy (December 14, 2014). "Assemblywoman Young Kim takes oath of office at CSUF". The Daily Titan. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  8. ^ Christine Mai-Duc (November 17, 2016). "Assemblywoman Young Kim concedes in Orange County race against Sharon Quirk-Silva". LA Times. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  9. ^ "Former assemblywoman Young Kim to run for Orange County supervisor in 2018 – Orange County Register". February 23, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  10. ^ TODAY, ASIA (January 11, 2018). "Former Korean-American Assemblywoman Enters Race for US Congress". HuffPost. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  11. ^ California Republican Young Kim aims to become 1st Korean-American woman elected to Congress (ABC News)
  12. ^ Election 2018: Republican Young Kim poised to be first Korean-American woman in Congress (Los Angeles Daily News)
  13. ^ "Election 2020 :: California Secretary of State".
  14. ^ ABC7 com staff (November 18, 2018). "Democrat Gil Cisneros flips Orange County's 39th district in win over GOP's Young Kim". ABC7 Los Angeles.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ Finnegan, Michael (November 15, 2018). "Republicans Walters and Kim adopt Trump tactic of charging vote fraud with no evidence of wrongdoing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  16. ^ Custodio, Spencer (November 18, 2018). "Republican Young Kim Concedes to Democrat Gil Cisneros: All 7 OC Congressional Seats Blue". Voice of OC.
  17. ^ Medina, Jennifer (October 3, 2019). "Can Young Kim Help Turn Orange County Red Again? (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  18. ^ Denkmann, Libby. Four Lessons From The Southern California House Seats Republicans Reclaimed In 2020, KPCC, 89.3 FM, Southern California Public Radio, Pasadena, California, December 3, 2020. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  19. ^ "California District 39 2020 Race". OpenSecrets.
  20. ^ Silver, Nate (August 12, 2020). "2020 House Forecast". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  21. ^ "Making history: Three Korean American women, two representing California, win seats in Congress". Los Angeles Times. November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  22. ^ Pamer, Melissa (January 7, 2021). "How California GOP members of Congress voted on the failed challenge to Biden's election victory". KTLA. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  23. ^ Harmonson, Todd (January 13, 2021). "How did L.A. County members of Congress vote on President Trump's impeachment?". Los Angeles Daily News.
  24. ^ Rogers, Alex (January 13, 2021). "GOP Rep. Young Kim says she supports censure, but not impeachment". CNN. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  25. ^ Clare Foran, Daniella Diaz and Annie Grayer (February 4, 2021). "House votes to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from committee assignments". CNN. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  26. ^ "Here's every Republican who voted against the Equality Act". Metro Weekly. February 25, 2021.
  27. ^ Kim, Young (February 25, 2021). "Rep. Young Kim Statement on Equality Act" (Press release). Washington, DC.
  28. ^ Kim, Young (February 27, 2021). "Rep. Young Kim Statement on COVID-19 Relief" (Press release). Washington, DC.
  29. ^ "Young Kim, Representative for California's 39th Congressional District". Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  30. ^ a b Staggs, Brooke (March 28, 2021). "Young Kim and Michelle Steel carve out different paths in Congress". Orange County Register. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  31. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron; Wiederkehr, Anna (April 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  32. ^ "Young Kim". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved May 1, 2023.
  33. ^ "Featured Members". Problem Solvers Caucus. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  34. ^ "MEMBERS". RMSP. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  35. ^ "Homepage of Republican Governance Group". Republican Governance Group. December 14, 2019.
  36. ^ Rands, Jane (April 13, 2018). "Meet Some Candidates Running to Replace Congressman Ed Royce". Fullerton Observer. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  37. ^ a b "The Craziest Race in the House". November 3, 2018.
  38. ^ a b "39th District: Young Kim and Gil Cisneros". LA Times.
  39. ^ Meg Cunningham (November 1, 2018). "California Republican Young Kim aims to become 1st Korean-American woman elected to Congress".
  40. ^ Christopher Palmeri (July 11, 2018). "Battle for House Control Runs Through California's Orange County". Bloomberg.
  41. ^ Young Kim (June 17, 2020). "Change is necessary, defunding the police is not: Young Kim". Orange County Register.
  42. ^ "GOP candidate Young Kim condemns Trump's 'kung flu' comment, with race issues dividing party". Orange County Register. June 23, 2020. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  43. ^ Weiner, Chloee (November 2020). "What It's Like For Asian American Candidates During A Pandemic Marked By Racism". Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  44. ^ "Revived bill could help Korean Americans reunite with North Korean relatives for first time since the war". The Orange County Register. February 21, 2021.
  45. ^ "Rep. Young Kim Pushes to Reunite Korean Americans with Family Members in North Korea". Representative Young Kim. February 8, 2021.
  46. ^ ""아베는 사과하라" 태극기와 성조기, 오성홍기로 가득찬 LA다운타운" (in Korean). JoongAng Ilbo. May 3, 2015.
  47. ^ "US Rep. Young Kim Criticizes Harvard Professor's 'Comfort Women' Claim". KBS World Radio. February 12, 2021.
  48. ^ "Schools dispute Assembly candidate's transgender-law argument". Orange County Register. October 2, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  49. ^ "Schools dispute Assembly candidate's transgender-law argument". Orange County Register. October 2, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  50. ^ Kane, Christopher (October 19, 2018). "OC Republican candidate Young Kim's anti-LGBT record". Los Angeles Blade: LGBTQ News, Rights, Politics, Entertainment. Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  51. ^ "Bill Text - HR-24". Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  52. ^ "These Are the 157 House of Representatives Members Who Voted Against Protecting Marriage Equality". Katie Couric Media. July 20, 2022. Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  53. ^ "Respect for Marriage Act, final results for roll call 513". Clerk of the House of Representatives. December 8, 2022. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  54. ^ "Young Kim for Assembly District 65". Orange County Register. October 23, 2016. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  55. ^ Emerson, Sandra (November 6, 2018). "Election 2018: Republican Young Kim poised to be first Korean-American woman in Congress". Orange County Register. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  56. ^ Kang, Hanna (April 6, 2023). "Rep. Young Kim travels to Taiwan hours after Speaker McCarthy met with President Tsai". The Orange County Registrar.
  57. ^ Maiduc, Christine (October 5, 2018). "Meet Young Kim, an Asian American immigrant woman running for Congress under Trump's Republican Party". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 21, 2020.