Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León today endorsed Sukhee Kang as the Democratic candidate in the open 29th Senate District, which encompasses parts of Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties
De León, the first Latino leader of the state Senate in 130 years, said, “Sukhee Kang represents everything that is great about the United States and the state of California. Since arriving in Orange County as an immigrant from Korea at the age of 23, he has reached the pinnacle of success in both the private and public sectors.”
“As the first-ever Korean American mayor of a major American city,” he continued, “he showed leadership, vision and courage in solving the problems of real people, helping them be safe, healthy and well-educated. As a state senator, Sukhee will bring his background as a successful businessperson and political leader to bear on the problems facing California.”
“I enthusiastically support Sukhee for Senate District 29,” de León concluded. “He is the perfect Democratic candidate in this diverse seat, and I look forward to welcoming him to the Senate next year.”
“I am both grateful and humbled to receive the endorsement of Senate President Pro Tem de León,” Kang said. “His exemplary work in both the Assembly and Senate on everything from civil rights to climate change has made California a better place to live, and I am excited about serving with him in the Senate.”
Kang was a two-term city councilmember in Irvine, as well as a two-term mayor of the city, reelected overwhelmingly in 2010 with more than 64 percent of the vote. He and his wife Joanne, also a South Korean native who immigrated to the U.S. with him in 1977, have been residents of Orange County for 38 years and now live in Fullerton.
Kang announced his candidacy for the open 29th Senate District on April 22, the first Democrat to do so, and has since picked up dozens of endorsements from state and local officials and community leaders throughout Orange and Los Angeles counties. The district is currently represented by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, who cannot run again due to term limits.
Kang has been recognized numerous times for his outstanding public service and community leadership, including receiving the American Diabetes Association’s “Orange County Father of the Year Award” in 2012, the Carnegie Corporation’s “Pride of America” award in 2010, and the International Leadership Foundation’s “Public Servant of the Year” award in 2010. In 2009, Kang was recognized as one of the O.C. Metro’s “Hot 25 Platinum Civic Leaders.”
Kang graduated from Korea University with a degree in agricultural economics, and in 2011 was awarded an honorary doctorate from Dongseo University in Busan, Korea. He also has served a special advisor to the chancellor of UC Irvine, and as an adjunct professor and Chancellor Fellow at Chapman University.
The Kang children, Alan, 34, and Angie, 32, attended public schools in Anaheim, where the Kang family lived for 10 years. Alan, a graduate of USC’s Marshall School of Business, is a manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Angie, a graduate of Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall), is senior counsel at Hulu.