Korean-American Inspired By Obama Runs for a Seat on New York’s City Council

If he wins in the upcoming elections, Ronnie Cho would be among the first Korean-Americans to gain a seat on New York’s City Council.

In an interview with NBC News, the 34-year-old revealed that his decision to run for office was partly inspired by former U.S. President Barack Obama, whose message in his farewell speech was too pressing to ignore.

Invited to the Chicago address, Cho recalled Obama as saying, “If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.”

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It felt like the former president spoke directly to him, Cho said. This, with a burning desire to serve, led to his announcement of his candidacy on March 10.

Cho helped Obama during the Iowa Democratic caucus in 2008. He then ran the former president’s field program in Maine.

His efforts were rewarded when Obama secured the presidency. Later, he served at the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Legislative Affairs.

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Cho, the son of South Korean immigrants, originally hails from Phoenix, Arizona. He did, however, fall in love with New York City on his first visit. He now hopes to give his all for District 2:

“I just want to be the best council member in this district.”

He is currently the vice president of public affairs at MTV Networks. However, he’s ready to leave soon to focus on his campaign. His team now consists of consultants, a manager and a pollster.

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Cho first entered politics in 1996 as a junior high school student trying to win signatures for former President Bill Clinton. He then campaigned for former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and former Secretary of State John Kerry when he ran for the White House in 2004.

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