Former U.S. Congressman and Ambassador for Korea-American Relations

Former U.S. Congressman and Ambassador for Korean-American Relations

*Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California’s 41st district. 

*Korean Full Name is Chang-jun Kim 

*Political party: Republican 

*Spouse: Jennifer Ahn 

     When Jay Kim took on the establishment of California’s 41st Congressional district for a new seat in 1992, most thought it was an impossible task. Betting against the odds, Jay entered the race and came away with a stunning and historic victory, making him the only Korean- American ever elected to the U.S. Congress.

Working under the motto: “Hard work pays off”, Jay quickly caught the eye of the Republican Party Leadership and was tapped to address the Republican National Convention in 1992. Jay was unanimously voted a Subcommittee Chairman on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and served on the International Relations.

Jay’s efforts to clean up government waste and reduce federal spending won him national praise from the members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Citizens Against Government Waste, Watchdogs of the Treasury and the Free Congress Foundation.

Jay was bestowed with the “Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award” by his freshman class colleagues and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, presented to immigrants who have made an outstanding contribution to the United States.

Jay earned both bachelors and masters degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Southern California. Later he earned a doctorate in political science from HanYang University. In 1976, Jay started JAYKIM Engineers, designing highways and water reclamation projects. Jay built the business into a firm of 130 employees, with offices in three Western states. Jay, himself, is an award winning engineer, registered in five Western states, and JAYKIM Engineers was been recognized as one of the top 500 design firms in the country. Prior to his election to the U.S. House Representatives, Jay held public office as a mayor and member of the Diamond Bar City Council.

Jay is currently involved in a number of projects in both Washington and Seoul, including authoring a regular column in various Korean media outlets, and he is frequently sought out for comment on current issues about relations between the two countries. He also serves as chairman of the Washington Korean-American Forum.


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