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Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang to run for Congress

Irvine mayor Sukhee Kang is throwing his hat into the ring and will challenge the John Campbell-Dana Rohrabacher GOP fistfight winner for a seat in Congress in 2012.  If the proposed Huntington Beach-Irvine-Newport Beach-Laguna Beach district holds in the proposed redistricting, the top two emerge and a close GOP vote gives Kang an opportunity.  If elected, Kang will be the only Korean-American in Congress.

Kang would draw on progressive voters in HB, Irvine and Laguna Beach plus a strong support from Korean American voters known to cross party lines to vote for a candidate and not a political party.  Kang carries a track record of steering Irvine through a difficult economic climate, unsurpassed support for Irvine schools, practical and successful business experience and a track record of working across party lines with elected from other parties in other cities.  Regardless of the battle between Campbell and Rohrabacher, voter registration still favors the GOP but with a bloodbath between Dana and John in an open primary would drain finances and votes from the GOP advantage leaving Kang in situation to raise cash and shake hands for a general election.  With 2012 being a presidential election, Kang can benefit from President Obama’s long coattails in OC.

Here’s a copy of his announcement in the Korean media from last Friday.  Kang is alerting supporters to his decision in a message this week.

“America needs leaders in Congress with real world experience to help our nation create jobs, balance the budget, improve education, protect our environment and preserve our medicare system. This is exactly the kind of experience and proven record of accomplishment that I will bring to Washington.”

Kang’s accomplishments in Irvine as mayor and as a member of the city council include:

  • Improvements to public safety
  • Protecting schools from budget cuts
  • Making Irvine one of the greenest cities in the country.

Kang became the first Korean American mayor of a major U.S. city in 2008, and was re-elected again in November 2010 for a second term with more than 64 percent of the vote. Kang was born South Korea and immigrated to the U.S. in 1977, beginning a successful career in sales and customer service management at Circuit City before entering public service.

The website has been established for information about donations and ways to volunteer.

Here’s the press release:


Vows to Bring the Same Forward Thinking Leadership to Washington that has Helped Irvine become one of the Safest, Smartest and Greenest Large Cities in the Country

Irvine, CA – Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang today announced his candidacy for the newly reconfigured Orange County Coastal seat with the support of local constituents and leaders from throughout Orange Country.  The new seat has not yet been assigned a number, but the current proposed outlines correspond generally to Congressional District Forty Eight.

“As someone who has served in local government for close to a decade, I will bring a direct, hands-on approach and vast regional experience to Congress. Our district deserves a representative who will protect and fight for the interests of the people of Orange County,” said Kang.  “I look forward to running in California’s new open primary system in which all candidates are on the same ballot, and every voter regardless of party registration can vote for any candidate.”

 After two successful terms on the City Council, the citizens of Irvine elected Sukhee Kang in 2008 as Mayor, becoming the first Korean American to serve as Mayor of a major U.S. city.  In November 2010, Kang was overwhelmingly reelected with more than 64 percent of the vote.  During his term in the Irvine City Council, Mayor Kang has been recognized as an effective leader who finds solutions to public safety, education, quality of life and economic vitality.  Under his leadership, Irvine has continued to be recognized as one of the safest, smartest, greenest and best-managed cities in America.  Some major accomplishments include:    

  • FBI’s Safest Large City in America (seven consecutive years )
  • Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live in California 2008
  • Business Week’s Best City to Ride out the Recession (2008)
  • 2008 National Resources Defense Council’s 2009 Smartest Cities (2nd in California)
  • Popular Science “Top 25 Greenest Cities in America
  • One of the 100 Best communities for Young People.
  • 2010 Freedom Award

“Mayor Kang is known as Irvine’s ‘education mayor’ for his leadership efforts fighting against state budget cuts,” said former Irvine Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Gwen Gross,  “I am supporting his candidacy because I know he will continue fighting for the right issues as a member of Congress.” 

Mayor Kang’s own American success story has helped guide his inclusive and engaging leadership style.  Active throughout the Irvine community, he has forged strong and supportive relationships with the business community, education community, and many cultural, service and non-profit organizations that serve the citizens of Irvine and Orange County. 

“Mayor Kang has led the City of Irvine during tough economic times. He has always been a strong believer in protecting the safety of our families and businesses. As President of the Irvine Police Association, I have always appreciated Mayor Kang’s ability to bring solutions to the table. Mayor Kang has the passion and intelligence to work cooperatively and end the ongoing partisan gridlock. That is why, I believe he will be a breath of fresh air to the U.S. House of Representatives.” said Gary Wyatt – President of the Irvine Police Association.*


*Title for identification purposes only

Prior to his service on the Irvine City Council, Mayor Kang served as a Governor’s appointee on the California Workforce Investment Board and was the Mayor’s appointee to the Irvine Finance Commission.  

In addition to his official City responsibilities, Mayor Kang serves on the Orange County Great Park Board, Southern California Association of Governments Regional Council, Orange County Council of Governments, League of California Cities Orange County Division, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National League of Cities.

Mayor Kang and his wife Joanne have lived in Orange County for 34 years.  Their son Alan, a graduate of UC San Diego and earned his MBA from USC Marshall School of Business, is a Senior Scientist at Johnson & Johnson; their daughter Angie, a graduate from UC Berkeley’s School of Law (Boalt Hall,) is currently an attorney with Latham and Watkins.




  1. Robert Lauten Robert Lauten July 6, 2011

    Sukhee Kang was first elected to the Irvine City Council in 2004; and said no to the LaRouche PAC presentation on the HBPA Resolution. Hundreds of cities endorsed the Homeowners and Bank Protection Act of 2007.
    But not Irvine.

    LaRouche’s Homeowners and Bank Protection Act of 2007
    HBPA — Still Not Too Late
    Feb 22nd 2009 30 minute video

    Kang has no idea on how to create jobs.
    * On his issues page he states, – “will be looking towards you for help in creating sensible solutions”. (Because he has none of his own?).
    * Kang asks visitors to his web site to – “comment on my solutions on issues as they are rolled out over the next 18 months.” (The fight for Glass-Steagall is NOW).
    * Kang is taking a survey – “write to me about your concerns and your ideas” (then latter he’ll tell you what you want to hear?).

    Good Luck

  2. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 6, 2011

    Robert — as I see you are a candidate for Congress, would you be running in this same district? I would state you have no solution for creating jobs. You mistake Kang reaching out for a dialog with voters the wrong way. Kang is one of those rare leaders who spends more time listening than talking. You should try it sometime.

    • Robert Lauten Robert Lauten July 7, 2011

      Dan, & The Liberal OC staff, and visitors

      I’m running in the 47th District against Loretta Sanchez, (and another Republican).

      If Loretta cosponsors HR 1489, “Prudent Banking Act of 2011” which will reinstate Glass-Steagall 1933-1999, I will then inform the Federal Election Commission that I am now running against (1) Rep. John Campbell 48th District, (2) Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang, and (3) another Republican.

      I would like to run against John Campbell since he is on the Financial Services Committee.

      I presently running against Loretta because she is the lone Orange County Democrat and if she cosponsors HR 1489 then the Wall Street Media might ask OC’s 5 Republican Congress- members to take a stand on Glass-Steagall, (HR 1489); – that’s my strategy.

      I’m not interested in the voters feelings, issues, and/or, concerns. My single purpose is to do my part in securing 218 cosponsors to HR 1489, (Glass-Steagall).

      The staff at “The Liberal OC” and their visitors should ask Loretta to cosponsor HR 1489.

      No Jobs, No Economic Recovery, Without Glass-Steagall

  3. Alan Travis Alan Travis July 11, 2011

    Sorry, Mr. Chmielewski, but Sukhee Kang is NOT “one of those rare leaders.” No, he is just another garden variety tax-and-spend liberal.
    Like Larry Agran, Kang is expert at blowing other people’s money. You Democrats have been doing it for so long you think it’s your money.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | July 11, 2011

      Alan — you clearly don’t know Mayor Kang. He has led Irvine through a tough economic climate without cutting services to residents or raising taxes. He has a strong record of reaching out to members of the community and he’s one of those leaders who spends more time listening than speaking.

      As far as the attacks on “tax and spend” Democrats, I’m sure the “borrow and spend” approach practices by Republicans is the route you’d prefer.

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