By Assunta Ng
Earlier this year, Sam Chung received bad news that he didn’t get Gov. Jay Inslee’s appointment for King County Superior Judge. But his friend John Chun did. He then assumed he would have to wait for his next opportunity.
He also found out that there were actually two other fellow Korean Americans that applied for the same position. There was Chun, and the other was Steve Kim, King County Deputy Prosecutor.
The Korean community is close-knit. It’s interesting that none of the three candidates, who are actually friends, had any knowledge that they were competing for the same job. Imagine the scenario, requesting letters of recommendation and then discovering your friend has also requested one!
There was an assumption that it would be politically incorrect if Inslee appointed two Korean Americans within a year. There was a belief that other ethnic groups and the mainstream community would like Inslee to spread the appointments around to make everyone happy. Fortunately, that was not Inslee’s thinking. He appointed the most qualified candidates, who happened to be Korean Americans. On May 27, he announced the appointment of Sam Chung to King County Superior Court. Chung is filling the seat of Judge Mary Yu, who Inslee appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court on May 1.
Since Inslee became governor in 2013, he has appointed 75 Asian Americans in leadership positions, including staff, cabinet, board and commissions, and judicial positions. That’s quite a record. (end)