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2nd Korean American woman confirmed to win US Congress seat

From left: Michelle Steel, Marilyn Strickland and Young Kim. (Yonhap)
From left: Michelle Steel, Marilyn Strickland and Young Kim. (Yonhap)

Michelle Steel’s election victory was confirmed Tuesday, making her the second Korean American woman to be elected into the US Congress.

According to the New York Times, Republican Steel, whose Korean name is Park Eun-joo, received 50.9 percent of the votes to be elected to the US House of Representatives in California’s 48th Congressional District, beating her Democrat rival by 1.8 percentage points.

Born in Seoul, Steel moved to the US in 1975, and has been involved in politics since the early 1990s, following the Los Angeles riots.

In 1993, Steel worked on the campaign to elect Richard Riordan as the first Republican mayor of Los Angeles in over 30 years, then went on to serve on Riordan’s government following his election victory. In 2006, she was elected to the California State Board of Equalization and in 2014 to the Orange County Board of Supervisors. In 2019, she was appointed to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

With Steel’s victory confirmed, three Korean Americans have now been elected to the US Congress. The other two are Marilyn Strickland and Andy Kim, both Democrats. Strickland, the former mayor of Tacoma, Washington, was confirmed to have won the race for Washington’s 10th Congressional District, and Kim won his second term as the representative for New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District.

In addition, Young Kim -- a Republican candidate for California’s 39th Congressional District, is reported to be maintaining a narrow lead over Democrat incumbent Gil Cisneros, with 2 percent of votes remaining to be counted.

By Choi He-suk (