"From Korea to the Capitol: Engineering the American Dream" by Jay Changjoon Kim, Former Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives, California, 41st District

My name is Jay Changjoon Kim, and I am a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. I was born in Seoul, Korea on March 27, 1939. I was part of the generation that was born during the Japanese occupation, and the horrors of war were never far away from me during my youth. During the Korean War, my home was destroyed during combat; this devastating event brought me face to face with poverty in a way that I never wanted to experience again. The constant battles in my homeland gave me a very powerful understanding of how much being a Korean really meant to me and how precious my status as a Korean truly was. I was part of a generation lucky enough to have escaped subjugation from other nations and live in an independent Korea, and I was also part of a generation that had all sorts of opportunities to grow and present itself after the war.

As I grew older, I realized that the only way that I would be able to avoid poverty would be to work as hard as I could at whatever I did. I soon decided that the best chance that I had of making a name for myself would be to emigrate to the United States of America. After completing my service in the Republic of Korean Army in 1961, I applied for a student visa that would allow me to attend college in the United States.

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