Rom Kim Throws Hat In Ring For Public Advocate Race

Assemblymember Ron Kim/Facebook

New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D) today announced his candidacy for New York City Public Advocate.

Kim is currently serving his fourth term as the New York State Assemblyman from the 40th district representing parts of Flushing, Whitestone, College Point, Murray Hill.

As a State Assemblyman, Kim is one of New York’s leading advocates against taxpayer subsidies to corporations, including vocalizing concerns over Amazon’s deal to transform Long Island City into a second headquarters.

Assembly Member Ron Kim

“And while mega-corporations get billions in handouts, and predatory financial companies continue to turn profits on the backs of working- and middle-class New Yorkers, politicians never address the core problem: our system prioritizes corporations over people. That why I’m running to transform the Office of the Public Advocate and put people over corporations,” said Kim.

Additionally, Kim is a vocal proponent of eliminating all student debt and paying for it by discontinuing taxpayer subsidies to large corporations like Amazon. In October, the Queens native authored a white paper called “Disrupting Student Debt” which showed how student debt and corporate giveaways prevent families and individuals from climbing the economic ladder and perpetuate economic disparity.

Kim most recently introduced legislation to create the first-in-the-nation Office of Financial Resilience which would work to reverse the cycle of debt under which so many New York families are living.

“When New Yorkers have nearly $35 billion in student debt, but tens of thousands of them won’t ever be able to pay it back, it’s time to put people over corporations,” added Kim.

Raised in Queens to immigrant parents, Kim is the first and only Korean-American ever elected to the New York State Legislature.

He often cites his own experience watching his parents’ challenges as mom-and-pop store owners as inspirations for his career in public service and for his people-focused policy agenda including introducing legislation to create an entity within the New York State Department of Financial Services called the “State Office of Financial Services for Immigrants.”

“New York used to be bold. If you were trying to make something better for yourself and the next generation, New York was the place for you. But like most Americans, New Yorkers today find themselves in the middle of a crushing debt crisis. It’s keeping people from getting ahead—no matter what they look like, or how hard they work,” added Kim.

The purpose of the office would be to foster financial literacy among immigrant communities; help recent immigrants navigate mainstream financial institutions as they seek to borrow, lend or invest; and help recent immigrants build credit.

Kim is a graduate from the Riverdale Country Day School, where he was captain of the football and track teams from the class of 1997. He earned a B.A. from Hamilton College, and a Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College.

In 2004, he was accepted as a National Urban Fellow where he advised the Chief Education Office of the Chicago Public Schools. Ron has devoted his career to public service, working in various capacities on the City, State and Federal levels of government. He was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 2012 and has been re-elected three times since.

Kim lives in Flushing, Queens with his wife, Alison, and his three daughters, Olive, Hazel and Autumn.

Ron entrance into the race to replace State Attorney-elect Letitia James will now broaden the field of candidates for the highly political seat that also includes City Council members Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood), and Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick, East New York, Crown Heights, Brownsville, Cypress Hills, Bedford-Stuyvesant), Assembly Members Latrice Walker (D-Brownsville) and Michael Blake (D-Bronx) as well as former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. 

The special election for the open seat is expected to be held in February.