Georgia swears in its first-ever Asian American mayor
By Bryan Ke
January 9, 2024
John Park, a South Korean immigrant, became Georgia’s first Asian American mayor after being sworn in at the Brookhaven City Hall on Monday.
About the event: More than 100 people attended Park’s oath-taking ceremony, including Rep. Esther Panitch (GA-51), State Sen. Sally Harrell and DeKalb County Commissioner Michelle Long Spears, according to Rough Draft Atlanta. The event also ushered in a new batch of councilmembers, including Michael Diaz (District 1), Jennifer Owens (District 2) and Madeleine Simmons (District 3). District 4 Councilmember John Funny was appointed vice mayor.
Election result: Park, a former councilmember, defeated Lauren Kiefer for Brookhaven mayor by winning 59% of the votes last month. He succeeds former Mayor John Ernst.
About Park: Park migrated to the U.S. from South Korea at age 6. In his campaign website, he briefly recalls his family’s experience in fighting for democracy.
“My family came to this country in the 1970s from South Korea when I was just a small child. My parents fought a military crackdown on a democratic movement, and we had to flee to America for our safety. My parents taught me to fight for what is right and never back down. It’s in my family’s blood,” he notes.
Park, a business administration graduate, has worked in technology consulting and public health. He most recently served as a technical consultant for surveillance of nationally notifiable diseases with the Centers for Disease Control and state health agencies and laboratories.
What’s next: During his campaign, Park promised continued efficiency in the city’s services, modernization of the stormwater infrastructure and increasing greenspaces. He shared some of his plans to Rough Draft, including hiring a citizen advocate that would help boost Brookhaven’s customer service.
“The theme of my administration for the next several years is going to be a return to normalcy,” he was quoted saying.
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