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Ron Kim
State Assemblyman from South Korea
Oil on canvas 40” x 30”

Ron Kim’s father gave up a world-spanning career as a construction engineer to get his wife and son away from the fiercely competitive "rat race” and corruption in post-war South Korea. They came to America, where democracy had fueled endless opportunities for middle-class living and upward mobility. Using their savings, Ron’s parents opened a corner grocery store in New York City. They worked 12-hour days, 7-days a week, and didn’t earn much money. Ron got bullied in elementary school because he couldn’t speak English. But he didn’t tell them. He saw their stress and, instead, helped in the store when he could. The ups and downs of the store, including a painful bankruptcy and borrowing, seared into him a desire to help working people. He won a full scholarship to college and later a fellowship for a masters degree in public policy. He spurned a chance to earn big money in Boston to return home to Flushing and intern in local government. He loved solving community problems. After a few years and a failed try, he was elected to the state Assembly where he works on laws to help the small business community.

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