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

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

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

*Korean Full Name is Chang-Joon Kim

*Political party: Republican

*Spouse: Jennifer Ahn Kim


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.

With the election of former President Park Geun-hye, Jay was appointed to the National Economic Advisory Council to help small business seek opportunities in the global market.

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 has served as chairman of The Washington Korean-American Forum think tank since 2007. As Chairman of Kim Changjoon US-Korea Foundation, he uses his political and professional experience to help develop political leadership in South Korea. The Kim Changjoon Politics and Economy Academy in Korea educates and encourages small business owners to go abroad by providing global market skills and professional knowledge.


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On September 27, 2017, the United States Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC) in its 2017 Annual Report to Congress recognized Hon. Jay Kim for his leadership role in the successful establishment of the Congressional Study Group on Korea.

Honorable Jay Kim is mentioned in the report by Connie Morella on p. H7581.

The text reads:

“…our work is not limited to the three main Study Groups on Germany, Japan, and Europe. For example, over the past 6 months, we have put a lot of energy into bringing Korea-focused programming to Capitol Hill. I don’t have to tell you how important our relationship with South Korea is, and the many security and trade issues that shape this part of the world.”

“…We…have commenced programming on Korea. We are very fortunate to have former 

Member Jay Kim chair this effort in Korea itself, and his leadership already has resulted in a number of incredibly informative Capitol Hill programs involving former and current Members.”