Samuel Park, Korean American second generation bankruptcy litigation attorney, recently announced his bid for election to Georgia House of Representatives.
By Anna Kim
As Asian American second generations plunge into the political field, Korean descendants are also moving towards representing and serving their communities in pursuit of political seats.
Samuel Park(30), Korean American second generation bankruptcy litigation attorney, challenges himself for the Georgia House of Rep. seat as a Democrat. This is the first time that he’s ever been involved in the political battle, but he is eager to beat Dr. Valarie Clark, the 6 year incumbent Republican, in District 101, which includes the City of Lawrenceville, located in Gwinnett County.
Mr. Park’s political perspectives crystallized during the interview conducted on March 12th with K-Herald, number one Korean-English newspaper in Georgia, Alabama, and South Korea.
Q: Could you tell me a little bit about yourself?
“I was born and raised in the State of Georgia. My interest and passion for public service began while I was in law school at Georgia State College of Law. While I attended law school, I served in the Georgia State Legislature during the 2012 and 2013 legislative sessions. As an intern for the Georgia House and Senate Democratic Caucuses, I learned the importance of standing together to block harmful legislation targeted at those who did not have a voice in the halls of the Capitol. After graduating law school, I received a fellowship to obtain a Masters in Law with a specialization in Law, Politics, and Legislation at American University Washington College of Law. As part of this fellowship, I had the opportunity to serve in the Maryland State Senate during the 2014 session as a legal aide. In 2014 I got involved in Senator Jason Carter’s gubernatorial campaign as a research fellow. Now I am a bankruptcy litigation attorney with The Semrad Law Firm in Sandy Springs. I litigate in federal bankruptcy court by representing people in financial turmoil, and help them reorganize their finances.”
Q: What motivated you to decide to run for election for the House of Rep.?
“My passion and commitment to public service, developed through professional experiences and my education, have been reinforced by personal experience. In December of 2014, my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Without Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid my family would not be able to afford the life-preserving treatment she now receives. As my community helped my family during our greatest time of need, I feel compelled to use my experience, education, and passion to serve my community to help those as my family and I have been helped.”
Q: What are your campaign pledges?
I am running to be a state representative to serve my community, to be their voice, and to stand and fight for the oppressed and marginalized. First, I want to expand Medicaid in Georgia. When my mother was diagnosed, she was given four to six months to live. It has been 15 months since her diagnosis. Without Medicare and Medicaid, it would be a different story. I want to ensure that all Georgians have access to health insurance, and the opportunity to receive medically necessary life-saving treatment for their benefit and their families. Second, I want to stand and fight against discriminatory legislation that continues to be proposed by Georgia Republicans. As the son of immigrants, I will stand and fight for those who have come to this country in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their children. I will continue the long, steady march toward justice for all. Third, I want to see my District, Gwinnett County, and the State of Georgia, my home, flourish and grow. To do so, I will work to ensure we invest in the people of Georgia and our local communities. Along with smart investments in education and transportation, the issues of healthcare and immigration are vital factors to create and sustain long-term economic growth.”
Q: Why do you think that some of the Georgia lawmakers keep fixating on anti immigration laws and sponsoring them such as English Only laws?
“We are living in a time of unprecedented change. This change has caused uncertainty, which has been met with fear, which leads to hate. Unfortunately, many members of the Georgia Republican Party have capitalized on this fear, which I believe has resulted in the introduction of all these anti-immigration bills. It is important to note that fear-mongering for the purpose of obtaining and retaining political power is not new. Georgia’s history of racial injustice and oppression casts a long shadow, which may be manifest today as anti-immigrant fervor.”
Q. To top off the interview, what message would you like to deliver to your Korean supporters?
“I would ask every Korean American to exercise their fundamental right to vote, so their voice may be heard. We the people must determine the direction of our country. I am proud to be a Korean American and would be honored to have the support of the Korean Community.”
Samuel Park and his mother at their home in Lawrenceville.
The Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta.