Anyone looking for the embodiment of the American Dream would be hard-pressed to find a better example than Congressman Jay Kim. After arriving in Los Angeles to study engineering at U.S.C., Jay built a successful engineering firm, served as mayor of Diamond Bar, and won three terms as a U.S. Congressman. Today Jay is active in both Washington and Seoul, where he works tirelessly to develop relations and business opportunities between the two nations. He is the founder and president of the Jay Kim Future U.S.-Korea Foundation in Seoul, and serves President Park as an appointee to the National Economic Advisory Council.
When Jay first took on the local political establishment in California's new 41st Congressional district in 1992, most thought it was an impossible task. Betting against the odds, Jay entered the race and came away with a stunning victory, making him the only Korean-American ever elected to Congress.
He quickly caught the eye of the Republican Party Leadership and was tapped to address the Republican National Convention in 1992. Jay was unanimously voted a Subcommittee Chairman on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In addition, Kim served on the International Relations Committee (Subcommittees: Asia & Pacific and Western Hemisphere).
Jay's efforts to clean up government waste and reduce federal spending have won him national praise from the members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Spirit of Enterprise Award), Citizens Against Government Waste (Taxpayer Hero), Watchdogs of the Treasury (Golden Bulldog Award) and the Free Congress Foundation (Sound Dollar Award). He has also been honored as a "Guardian of Small Business" by the National Federation of Independent Business; a "Champion of Property Rights" by the League of Private Property Voters; a "Guardian of Seniors' Rights" by the 60/Plus Association; the Thomas Jefferson Award from the National Wholesale Grocers and International Food Service Distributors Association; and the National Security Leadership Award from the National Security Caucus. In addition, during the 103rd Congress, Jay was bestowed with the 'Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award' by his freshman class colleagues and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, presented to immigrants who have made an outstanding contribution to the United States.
Jay earned both bachelors and masters degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Southern California. He later earned a doctorate in political science from HanYang University. In 1976, Jay started JAYKIM Engineers, a firm that specializes in designing highways and water reclamation projects. Jay built the business into a firm of 130 employees, with offices in three Western states. Jay, himself, is an award winning engineer, registered in five Western states, and JAYKIM Engineers has been recognized as one of the top 500 design firms in the country. Prior to his election to the U.S. House Representatives, Jay held public office as a member of the Diamond Bar City Council. Jay made an immediate impact and was rewarded with his election as mayor of Diamond Bar in 1991.