My name is David (full name: David Yung Ho Kim), and I’m a music/immigration attorney, author, neighborhood council board member and community activist here in Los Angeles.
I’m running to be the U.S. Representative of California’s 34th Congressional District, Los Angeles, which covers Downtown Los Angeles, Koreatown, Boyle Heights, Chinatown, Lincoln Heights, Little Tokyo, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Westlake, MacArthur Park, Historic Filipino Town, Little Bangladesh and surrounding neighborhoods.
I’m running against the corporately funded establishment Democratic incumbent because the American Dream is dying, and the people in our community of CA-34 are dying with it: CA-34 is the 10th poorest congressional district in the nation, despite being in a state (California) that is the 5th largest economy in the world. How is that possible? In many parts of our district, the per capita income is $12K-$15k where the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $2K/month. We have more than one family living in 1-bedroom apartments together. Pre-COVID19, we had constituents working 2-3 jobs just to make ends meet and post-COVID19 we have many constituents having no jobs to make ends meet. We have over 45,000 brothers and sisters living unhoused in our city, many of whom are criminalized for living unhoused. We have family members and friends being separated by ICE and/or being deported back to their countries, where they’ll face death and/or hunger, the very reasons that made them flee to seek refuge in the U.S. We have black and brown family members, and friends being murdered by the Los Angeles Police Department and LA County Sheriff’s Department without receiving any justice. We have a city, county and federal government that choose to allocate a majority of their budget in policing us and other countries, instead of caring for us, the people.
In times like this, our representative is supposed to represent us and ensure that we’re being taken care of, but this incumbent isn’t. He’s not doing enough to help the people by failing to take big, bold action for the people, like addressing homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in our district or passing a universal basic income to our people in times when they need it the most. And instead of representing us, the people, the incumbent represents corporate interests by raising over half a million dollars ($600,000) in Political Action Committee (PAC) money from Big Pharma, Oil and Gas, banks, student debt collectors, police unions, private prisons and other corporate interests, some of which he helped to bail out in the CARES Act and other corporate bailouts approved by him and Congress before.
If the incumbent did care for the people, he would’ve co-sponsored and supported rent and mortgage cancellation during the COVID-19 crisis when millions lost jobs and couldn’t pay rent and mortgage, but he didn’t – instead, he co-sponsored and supported a means tested rent relief fund and essentially, lottery system, that put the burden on tenants to apply and prove that they needed help to feed themselves and their families, during a national emergency and crisis.
If the incumbent did care for the people, he would’ve co-sponsored and supported recurring monthly cash relief that would put money directly into the hands of the people who need it the most, but he didn’t – instead, in his hard-to-find-and-access Tele-Town Halls, he advocated for means tested cash relief during a national emergency and crisis.
If the incumbent did care about Black and Brown lives, he would’ve promised to stop receiving police and private prison PAC money while returning the $60K+ that he’s received in police union and private prison PAC money during his political career, but he didn’t.
If the incumbent did care about providing free public education to our constituents, he would’ve promised to stop receiving student debt collector money, but he didn’t. And the list goes on.
We are in times of crisis and our community needs real solutions. We can’t continue re-electing the same career politicians who got us into this mess in the first place and who legislate like balloons flying aimlessly in the sky, cut off with their strings, because they’re not grounded in their community and they’re not co-governing with their constituents. Now is our time to elect leaders who aren’t restricted by corporate PAC interests and who aren’t afraid to author, co-sponsor and support big, bold legislation for the people like a Universal Basic Income, Medicare For All, a Green New Deal, a Homes Guarantee and an overhaul of our criminal justice system and immigration policies.
It’s time for our leaders to prioritize the people and community first. We’ve been tired and suffering for too long.
And that is why I’m running.
We need change. And we need it now.
That is why our campaign is fighting for the Financial Freedom, Love & Justice for all and a return for representatives to be tied back down to their communities and to co-govern with the people.
People in our community are working 2 to 3 jobs just to make ends meet, while many more wake up daily with deep-rooted fear and anxiety about money, worrying about how they’re going to pay their rent and bills that month. And none of this should be the reality for our people. We need a representative who will boldly address the 35+ year wage stagnation and ever-increasing wealth gap disparity that our people are suffering through, by authoring and/or sponsoring legislation that will bring financial freedom to our people. I will be that representative and will fight to provide a universal basic income to our people, to cancel student debt, to create more jobs with living wages, and to provide single payer healthcare for all.
Love isn’t just a word. Love looks like something in action. And for an elected official, love looks like responding to and addressing our basic needs. As your elected representative, I will fight to ensure that no constituent has to worry about whether they’ll have a home and roof to sleep under, or whether they’ll be able to have food to eat, receive the proper medical care that they need, receive a good education, or pay for their basic expenses. I will fight to provide Medicare For All, a Homes Guarantee and Free Public Colleges and Vocational Schools for All, while also ensuring that our families’ mental and emotional health are cared for as well, by providing free marriage counseling and family therapy, and passing other family focused measures.
In order to continue and secure our financial freedom and equality for all, we must pursue justice at all times. Justice looks like banning elected officials like the incumbent from accepting and pocketing corporate money from Big Pharma, banks, student debt collectors, Oil and Gas, real estate developers, police unions, private prisons and other corporate interests. Justice looks like overhauling our immigration and criminal justice system, reinvesting into our marginalized communities, and passing a Green New Deal that will ensure a safe present and future for us and our community.
Join me in fighting for the Financial Freedom, Love and Justice for all people, and for our community.
We can’t continue re-electing the same elected officials and expecting different results. Now is the time that we stand and boldly push for change.
When I graduated from law school in 2010, the job market was horrible, and law school graduates did not have it any better. I worked 2 to 3 jobs, living paycheck to paycheck, working day and night, telling myself that life was going to get better. I drove for Uber and Lyft every night for 9 hours from 6pm to 3am before going back to work the next day doing a mix of paid and unpaid part-time and full-time attorney gigs (permanent paid attorney work was scarce). I slept in my car. I showered in the gym. Other days, I’d crash at my brother’s place or my grandma’s apartment. I was ashamed to tell people the financial situation that I was in. I often wondered how people in our community were doing? Were they experiencing what I was experiencing? And slowly, I realized that the experiences I had and the daily deep-rooted fear and anxiety of money and finances that tormented me every day, weren’t unique to me but shared by people all around me, in my community, neighborhood and district. Last year, after working 4.5 years as a solo practitioner and legal advocate for artists and creative clients who couldn’t afford expensive entertainment attorneys, I finally landed a dream job in May 2019, by being hired as a high level legal executive at one of the world’s top film studios, and quickly selling my law practice upon receiving that dream job offer. I should have been happy after starting the job, right?
Well, I wasn’t.
I was sad.
Everyone around me, in my family, my neighborhood, my district, my community, was still suffering. Financially. And very badly. And this deeply affected me, inside and out, because I knew what it meant to hustle and to feel like you’re always drowning and still suffering. Life shouldn’t be this hard for anyone, where we’re worrying about whether we’ll be able to pay rent, eat or even have money to pay for basic costs or to buy medicine.
Though I should’ve been happy that I could now start paying off my $200,000 in law school loans with the new dream job, I could not ignore my community and the people around me who were and are still financially suffering and broken. So, I resigned from that job within less than a year, and am now running, fully committed, to being elected your U.S. Representative. There is no time to waste and we can’t afford another 2 years to pass by for our community (CA-34) by re-electing the incumbent and expecting things to change again, when they clearly haven’t. Many of our own families, neighbors and constituents are living in complete financial distress, caused not by what we’ve done but by systemic issues that continue to be neglected by our elected officials, either by laziness, or their inability to prioritize the people and the community first. With many acquiring more debt each day in order to live in our district, with more being forced to live unhoused on the streets, our district could soon be the #1 poorest congressional district in the nation, and no longer the 10th poorest congressional district in our country
We need a representative who will stop with the lip service, and who will put our community first. We will not be fooled into re-electing an incumbent for another 2 years while our people and community continue to suffer and live in deep-rooted anxiety and pain. Now is the time for elected leaders to represent the will of the people and to co-govern with the people, instead of legislating on their own, and then reporting back to their constituents, the crumbs they’ve secured for them and asking them for their feedback.
And there is no better time than now. In 2018, I had the opportunity and privilege to campaign for Kenneth Mejia, who ran as a Green Party candidate for the same U.S. Congress seat that I’m currently running for now, and although there were less than 1% registered as Green Party members in our district, Kenneth won almost 28% of the total general election vote against the current incumbent. This meant that almost 1/3 of the voters in our district, the majority being Democratic Party members, chose the Green Party Candidate over their corporately funded establishment Democrat incumbent because they know he’s not a fighter for the people and that all he has to offer is lip service. As such, you can see that we, the people, are getting smarter. We’re paying attention. And this year is our time to show the establishment that the people have power.
Join me. It’s time to stand up for ourselves, and to put our Community First. Together, we will co-govern and help restore the American Dream that so many of our families and parents, like my own, sought when immigrating to this country.
Financial Freedom, Love, and Justice for all.
With much love,