Jay Kim Biography

For other people named Jay Kim, see Jay Kim (disambiguation).

Jay Chang Joon Kim (Korean::김창준; born March 27, 1939) is a Korean-American politician and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California and amb*ador for Korean-American relations. He was the first Korean American to be elected to the United States Congress.


  • 1 Early life, education, and business career
  • 2 Political career
    • 2.1 Local politics
    • 2.2 U.S. House of Representatives (1993-1999)
  • 3 Recent activities
  • 4 Professional and political affiliations
  • 5 Publications
  • 6 Columns and commentaries
  • 7 Awards
  • 8 See also
  • 9 References
  • 10 External links

Early life, education, and business career

Jay Kim was born in 1939 in Gyeongseong (now Seoul, South Korea), during the *anese occupation of Korea. His Korean name, Kim Chang Joon, roughly translates to "golden splendid law." During the Korean War, his home was destroyed. He immigrated to the United States in 1961. After attending a community college, Kim transferred to the University of Southern California, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering. He later earned a doctorate in political science from Hanyang University.

In 1976, Kim started JAYKIM Engineers, a firm that specializes in designing highways and water reclamation projects. He built the business into a firm of 130 employees, with offices in three western states. Kim is an engineer, registered in five western states. JAYKIM Engineers was recognized as one of the top 500 design firms in the country.

Political career

Local politics

Kim was elected to the city council of Diamond Bar, a newly incorporated suburb of Los Angeles, in 1990 and was elected mayor the following year.

U.S. House of Representatives (1993-1999)

Kim was elected to the House of Representatives in 1992 as a Republican from the newly created 41st District, making him the first Korean American elected to the United States Congress.

In 1998, he lost the primary election to Gary Miller, with whom he had once served on the Diamond Bar City Council. Miller also won the general election and held the seat until he was elected to the 31st Congressional District in 2012. Kim sought to win election in the 42nd District in 2000. He was defeated in the primary by Elia Pirozzi, who in turn was defeated by in*bent Joe Baca.

Recent activities

In recent years, Kim has focused on improving relations and business opportunities between the U.S. and South Korea. 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.

With the election of President Park Geun-hye in 2013, Kim was appointed to the National Economic Advisory Council to help small business seek opportunities in the global market. Kim has stated that his "position in both the United States and Korea allows me to encourage economic development between our nations, and the new free-trade agreement lets companies… flourish in new markets." However, Park was also convicted on public corruption and influence peddling charges, and on 6 April 2018, Park was sentenced to 24 years in prison in South Korea.

Kim also regularly contributes articles to The Korea Times, JoongAng Ilbo, and Korea Economic Daily, and is the honorary Amb*ador of Gyeonggi Province.

2021 PyeongChang Peace Forum

The ‘2021 PyeongChang Peace Forum’ took from February 7 to the 10th at the Alpensia Convention Center in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province. On the morning of February 6, one day ahead of the Peace Forum’s opening ceremony, we had our 1st Korea-U.S. Leaders Peace Strategy Dialogue session.

This 1st Korea-U.S. Leaders Peace Dialogue was organized by the Jay Kim Foundation with Gangwon-do, and it was chaired by Professor Kim Woo-sang of Yonsei University. Members of the National *embly, including Ahn Min-Suk, Lee Sang-min, Hong Young-Pyo from the Majority Party, and Lee Myung-Soo from the People Power Party, participated as a panel. From the U.S. side, the former U.S. Congressman Jay Kim attended the event, and former U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and former Congressman Bart Gordon from the Democratic Party attended virtually.

Korean-American Republican Congresswoman Young Kim and Congressman Ami Bera, a Member of the East Asia Pacific subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee, were unable to attend the forum virtually due to a busy schedule, so instead they sent a video clip of congratulatory remarks hoping for the success of the 1st Peace Forum.

A total of six members of the Korea National *embly and the United States Congress attended the forum to discuss the current status and importance of the South Korea-U.S. alliance, as well as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the importance of the peace exchange with North Korea through sports. Each of them gave five-minute presentations on the topic and discussed various solutions and methods in-depth. This event, which will be held every year as part of the PyeongChang Peace Forum, will be expected to contribute to the South Korea-U.S. alliance and a successful Korean Peninsula peace process.

Interview with Gangwon Ilbo on February 7

On the 6th of February, right before the 2021 PyeongChang Peace Forum was held, both former and current Party Members from Korea and the United States gathered at the Alpensia in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province to discuss peace strategies for the Korean Peninsula. This meeting was organized by former US Congressman Jay Kim. Although he was born and raised in Seoul, Kim has a special attachment to Gangwon-do and was appointed as the Honorary Governor of Gangwon-do in 2016. On the 7th of February, at the start of the 2021 Pyeongchang Peace Forum, Gangwon Ilbo (Gangwon-do’s No.1 newspaper) interviewed Kim while he was spending all his efforts for discussing possible measures for peace for the Korean peninsula.During the interview with Gang Won Ilbo, Kim presented his idea that Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics' stimulation would support the Inter-Korean Exchange Plans. He also presented that North Korea's current economic difficulties make for a golden time for US-North Korea dialogue, and the U.S. Strategic Perseverance Policy will bring about North Korean Ballistic Missile Provocation. Kim stated, “Peace is not made with words, but made with strength, through consistent efforts for strengthening the alliance between Korea-U.S.”

Article on LA JoongAng Daily Newspaper on February 12

This New Year's Eve (Lunar New Year, 2021), former Congressman Jay Kim donated to a charity run by Happy Village (an NGO operated by LA’s JoongAng Daily newspaper) to serve hot rice cake soups to 300 older people living alone in Los Angeles, California.

Professional and political affiliations

  • 2019.03 ~ Chair of the former US Members (FMC) of the delegation to Korea
  • 2019.11 ~ Honorary Amb*ador, Catholic Hospital of Yeoido
  • 2016.06 ~ Honorary Governor, Kangwon Do (Place of PyeongChang Winter Olympic)
  • 2016.03 ~ Honorary Citizen, Osan City in Kyung-gi Do
  • 2015.08 ~ Honorary Amb*ador, Suhyup (National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives)
  • 2015.06 ~ Foreign investment Advisor, Kangwon Do
  • 2015.04 ~ Board Member, US Korea Ins*ute of Johns Hopkins University
  • 2013.05 ~ National Economic Advisory Council, the Office of the President of Korea (President GH Park)
  • 2012.06 ~ Chairman, KimChangJoon Academy
  • 2011.07 ~ Chairman, KimChangJoon Future US-Korea Foundation
  • 2009.09 ~ Honorary Amb*ador, Gyeonggi Province
  • 2009.09 ~ Goodwill Amb*ador, Soonchunhyang University Hospital
  • 2008.10 ~ International Advisor, Incheon International City
  • 2008.05 ~ Honorary Citizen of Jeju Province & City of Osan
  • 2008.01 ~ Chairman, Washington Korean-American Forum
  • 1995.08 ~ Honorary Citizen of Seoul


  • 1994.08 I am a Conservative, 1994 by Sung Moon Publishing Company
  • 1999.11 Politics in Korea & in U.S.A, 1999 by Kyo Moon Sa Publishing Company
  • 2010.03 Go ahead Shake Me, I’ll never Give Up My Hope, 2010 by Ok Dang Publishing Company
  • 2016.10 Be Ready for Next President Trump , 2016 by Raon Book Publishing Company

Columns and commentaries

  • Jay Kim’s Untold Story of U.S. Politics (Hankook-Ilbo), 2008-2010
  • Jay Kim Column in Korea Daily U.S. Edition (Jung Ang-Ilbo), bi-weekly, 2009–present
  • Jay Kim Desk on WKTV in Washington DC, bi-weekly, 2008-2016
  • Jay Kim’s Korean Politics and U.S. Politics in Korea Economic Daily, bi-weekly, 2009–present
  • Jay Kim Column in the Korea Times, English edition, bi-weekly, 2010-2016
  • Jay Kim’s Congressional Memoir in the Korea Times, English edition, weekly, 2010-2011


  • The President’s Medal and Award’ from ROK, 2012
  • The Political Leadership Award, Korean American Political Leadership Conference, 2012
  • 1993 Recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award
  • US Department of Commerce: Sprit of Enterprise
  • Citizens Against Government Waste: Award for Taxpayer Hero
  • Watchdogs of the Treasury: Award for Golden Bulldog
  • The Free Congress Foundation: Award for Sound Dollar
  • The National Federation of Independent Business: Guardian of Small Business
  • The League of Private Property Voters: Champion of Property Right
  • The 60 Plus *ociation: Guardian of Seniors Rights
  • The National Wholesale Grocers and International Food Service Distributors *ociation:: Award for the Thomas Jefferson
  • The National Security Caucus: Award for the National Security Leadership
  • 1993 Recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award
  • Award for National Excellence in Civil Engineering
  • Award for Outstanding achievement in Business Community
  • Engineer of the Year Award
  • Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award of the 103rd Congress
  • Outstanding Leadership Award from NAPAW

See also

  • Biography portal
  • California portal
  • List of Asian Americans and Pacific Islands Americans in the United States Congress
  • List of American federal politicians convicted of crimes
  • List of federal political scandals in the United States


    External links

    • Former Congressman Jay C. Kim Official Website
    • Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
    • Profile at Vote Smart
    • Appearances on C-SPAN