President Trump lost California by a margin of nearly 30 percentage points to Joe Biden last fall. But four Republicans not only won their congressional districts in California but also flipped their districts red. Among them, Representative Young Kim, one of the first Korean American women elected to the House. She’s a Korean immigrant, a mother of 4 and one of Yahoo Finance’s The Next: 21 to watch in 2021.
“I believe I'm the future of the Republican Party,” she told Yahoo Finance. “I want to be able to use my common sense background and be able to stand up for what I believe is the right thing to do.”
Kim still says she thinks Trump was "a great president" and credits him with "helping our economy," but she has also shown her willingness to break ranks with Republicans, including in her vote to remove Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments.
“I am my own person. And I've always run on my own record,” she said. “President Trump is very unique, to say the least; he's very opinionated. I supported his policies, but not necessarily his rhetoric, or his attitude or the way that he delivers his remarks.”
Kim is particularly forceful in rebuking Trump for his inflammatory language about COVID-19 and Asians. "When he called it 'Kung Flu,' I said enough is enough. Leaders' words have consequences. And the leader has to be very sensitive about what they say. That comment was very insensitive and I called him out on that. And I wanted to make sure that, you know, we love immigrants, we love diversity. And this pandemic was not caused by any one ethnicity or any group of people. I wanted to make sure that my community knows that I'm with them; I understand. And that message had to be sent," she said.
While Trump continues to try to assert his grip on the GOP, Kim is striking a more moderate, common-sense approach that helped her win her seat, gaining fans on both sides of the political spectrum. She’s one of the more moderate Republican members of this freshmen class and one of the few to join The Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group in the United States House of Representatives that includes 50 members, equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.
“I am very focused on finding common ground,” Kim said. “When I was first running in 2018, I had learned about Problem Solvers Caucus. And so I had known about the work they did, how the Problem Solvers Caucus was able to negotiate a bipartisan relief efforts in December of last year. This is exactly what I went to Washington, D.C., to do. I came to Washington to get things done in a bipartisan way. So I kept my promise by hitting the ground running with my like-minded members on both sides of the aisle.”
Kim is looking for areas of agreement in Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. She sees consensus for proposals on $160 billion for vaccine development and vaccine distribution.
“We're not going to agree on everything, 100% of the time. ... Remember what President Ronald Reagan said — You don't have to agree on everything. But if you agree with someone at least 80% of the time, that is a damn good thing. We can get a lot of things done. — And I learned early on, if you don't care who takes the credit, you can get a lot of things done.”
Check out more of Yahoo Finance's THE NEXT 21: 21 to watch in 2021.
Jen Rogers is an anchor for Yahoo Finance Live. Follow her on Twitter @JenSaidIt.
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